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How Do You Clean a Scorched Pan?

How Do You Clean a Scorched Pan?

Nothing is as annoying as planning a whole recipe and ending up with burnt scraps. To make the situation worse, you have to deal with a burnt pan. We’ve all burnt a pan so badly and felt like throwing it away because scrubbing it just feels like a futile job. The good news is there are a few kitchen hacks that can help you have your shiny pan back.

All you need to get burn marks off a pan is a few common household items- white vinegar, bicarbonate soda, lemons, table salt, aluminum foil, dishwasher tablets- and some elbow grease.

Keep in mind that your pan’s material is essential in the method you choose. Most cookware in the market is stainless steel, aluminum, or enameled cast iron (like those fancy cast iron kettles). You can damage the pan if you scrape it too hard or use a very abrasive cleaner. It is best to start with the most gentle method then work your way up to something strong if necessary.

No matter which method you choose for your burnt pan, you must run cold water in the pan to stop the food from cooking and burning the pan more. We have researched and listed our top five ways to get burn marks off a burnt pan successfully.

How to clean a burnt pan with salt

Using salt is best on a pan with light burn marks on the pan’s bottom and sides. You may ski this method if you are dealing with a burnt non-stick pan. The salt may be too coarse and may scratch off the non-stick layer hence damaging your saucepan. There are also two ways you can clean a burnt saucepan using salt, depending on the severity of the scorching.


  • Salt
  • Hot or cold water
  • Dishwashing soap
  • Scouring pad

Method 1.

  • Pour a generous amount of salt and some dishwashing soap on the bottom of the pan.
  • Wet the scouring pad and scrub off the burnt residue from all the affected parts.
  • You may also use a slice of lemon instead of a scouring pad. The citric acid from the lemon will help speed up the process.
  • Repeat this process until you’re satisfied with the results.

Method 2.

  • Mix your salt, dishwashing soap, and some water in the saucepan and let it soak for about an hour.
  • Boil the mixture until it simmers, and then remove it from the heat.
  • Remove any grime left with a scouring pad. Keep in mind that this mixture is hot; you can use a spatula instead or a scouring pad with a handle.
  • Then rinse your pan with warm water.

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How to clean a burnt pan with bicarbonate of soda

Bicarbonate soda, also known as baking soda, is effective in cleaning a badly burnt saucepan. It is a more gentle abrasive on a burnt ceramic pan compared to salt. White vinegar is a powerful cleaning agent. It is also a disinfectant.


  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Water
  • Scouring pad


  • Put water in the burnt pan with water until the bottom of the pan is covered.
  • Add one cup of white vinegar.
  • Bring the pan to a boil, then remove it from the heat. You will start seeing some of the stains liftings already.
  • Place the pan in the sink; this is essential because it will fizz and cause a mess when you put the baking soda.
  • Pour in about two tablespoons of the bicarbonate soda until it fizzes down.
  • Wash out the mixture and scrub the burnt parts with a scouring pad.
  • For the more stubborn marks, make a thick paste of baking soda and some drops of water. Leave the marks to soak in the solution for a few minutes. Then massage the paste into the burnt stains and then rinse.

How to clean a burnt pan with lemon

The citric acid in lemons has particular properties that help in breaking down burnt grime.


  • Two or three lemons
  • Dishwashing soap
  • Scouring pad


  • Fill your scorched pot with water.
  • Cut the lemons in quarters and put them in the water.
  • Boil the water for about 5-10 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat and the mixture cool, then pour it out.
  • Use a scouring pad to scour the burnt food residue on the pan’s bottom and side.
  • Wash your pan with dishwashing soap as you normally would.

Cleaning a burnt pan with a dishwasher tablet

Dishwashing tablets are great for removing tough stains when cleaning burnt frying pans. It works as a detergent and a scourer. For the best results, you should use a quality dishwasher tablet brand.


  • Dishwasher tablet
  • Water


  • Pour a little water into the burnt pan and drop it in the dishwasher tablet.
  • Warm the water on low heat for about 10 minutes.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and rub the tablet on the remaining stains stuck on the pan. The food scraps will lift off immediately.
  • Rinse and wash with regular liquid dishwashing soap.

How to clean a burnt pan with aluminum foil

The aluminum foil efficiently cleans a badly burnt pan. However, this method may not be suitable for a ceramic or non-stick pan; but it does wonders for your stainless steel and aluminum pans.


  • Aluminum foil
  • Baking soda
  • Water


  • Spread 2-3 tablespoons of baking soda over the bottom of the pan.
  • Add a few drops of water to make a paste.
  • Crumple a sheet of aluminum foil and use it to scrub the paste all around the surface of the pan.
  • Rinse and repeat the process until you remove all the burnt gunk from the pan.
  • Clean the pan with dishwashing soap and warm water as you usually would.

Keep in mind that you may have to repeat these cleaning steps if necessary to remove all the stubborn burnt stains from your cookware.

Can you save a burnt non-stick pan?

Non-stick pans get damaged when the cooking surfaces get burned, but you can always restore it if it is not excessively scorched. Non-stick pans have a coating called polytetrafluoroethylene, commonly known as Teflon, which prevents food from sticking to the pan and making cleaning much more manageable.

If not used correctly, non-stick cookware could end up with burnt food stuck to the surface, usually when cooking in high heat or if there are scratches on the coating.

Check this too: Can I Use Cast Iron on a Glass Top Stove?

Use household commodities like white vinegar, bicarbonate soda, and salt to soak off the grime. But instead of a rough scourer, it is best to use a nylon scrubber, sponge, or microfibre cloth to scrape off the remaining stains. The idea is to avoid scratching off the surface. Soak the burnt non-stick pan overnight in any of the above solutions if you must. If the burn is too much, you may have to throw it away.


Now you know some of the best ways to clean a burnt saucepan. However, it is best to avoid cooking at very high temperatures to prevent burning your cookware. Materials like ceramic and Teflon wear out too quickly with frequent burnouts. But with a little help from your pantry, you can restore your burnt pans to new.