Cleaning pots & pans: Effective tips for clean cookware

Töpfe und Pfannen

Everyone knows the problem: you're cooking, something distracts you, and the food burns. Not only do you often have to call a delivery service afterwards because your dinner is no longer edible, but cleaning up burnt food residue can also drive you to the brink of despair.

But don't worry. The following information will help you to get even stubborn dirt under control quickly and easily. The upcoming guide also covers the care of cast iron and coated pots and pans and how to avoid common mistakes when cleaning pots and the like. So stay tuned. Because the following tips are guaranteed to be useful to you.

Cleaning stainless steel and aluminum pots: here's how

Every kitchen has pots made of stainless steel or aluminum, prized for their durability and versatility. But even the best pots aren't immune to the occasional burning of food . Unfortunately, thick crusts on the bottom of the pot aren't just a nuisance. They can also affect the quality of cooking. Fortunately, this can be prevented with a few simple cleaning methods.

For everyday care of your pots, you only need a sponge, a brush or a cloth and some washing-up liquid. Normal dirt can be removed easily with this simple method. However, you should avoid cleaning them in the dishwasher . Although most cookware is suitable for this purpose, it is not always the optimal solution.

While it is true that aluminum or stainless steel pots and pans will not necessarily break if they are washed in the dishwasher, this convenient method of cleaning will affect the quality of cooking in the long run . To maximize the lifespan of your aluminum and stainless steel pots and pans, you should consider the following:

  • Use mild cleaning agents: Aggressive chemicals can damage the surface of stainless steel and aluminum. A mild detergent or a natural cleaning concentrate is sufficient for normal dirt.
  • Avoid using scouring pads on delicate surfaces: For stainless steel pans, you can use soft sponges or brushes. You should be especially careful with aluminum pans, as their surface is more susceptible to scratches.
  • Do not soak: Long soaking times can cause discoloration in aluminum pans. This is less critical for stainless steel pans, but a quick rinse after use prevents food residue from burning on.

Dirty cookware in the sink

  • Avoid high temperatures when drying: Avoid drying stainless steel and aluminum pans on high heat as this can cause deformation and damage. This is exactly why they do not belong in the dishwasher!
  • Treating stains and burnt-on food: If there is stubborn dirt or burnt food in stainless steel pans, a paste made of baking soda and water can help. Be careful with aluminum pans, as abrasive substances can damage the surface.
  • Polish for extra shine: After cleaning, you can polish stainless steel pans with a soft cloth to prevent water spots and maintain the shine.
  • Proper storage: Make sure your cookware is completely dry before storing it in the cupboard. To prevent scratches, avoid stacking heavy items on top of your pans.

But it's not just aluminum and stainless steel cookware that requires special treatment. There are also a few things to consider when cleaning cast iron pans and pots. Did you know that cast iron is allergic to conventional soap?

Cleaning cast iron pans and pots: How do you do it properly?

Cleaning cast iron pans and pots requires special attention to preserve their longevity and cooking quality. Here are some tips on how to do it right:

  1. Don't use conventional cleaners: Cast iron is porous and soap can remove the layer of oil that builds up over time and forms a natural non-stick coating . So only use hot water to clean.
  1. Clean the cookware while it is still warm: It is easier to remove food residue when the pan has not yet cooled down. Use a wooden spatula or a soft brush to loosen burnt food.

Wok pan in use

  1. Avoid soaking cast iron: Long soaking can cause rust. If you need to remove burnt food, we recommend filling the pan with a little water and then heating it. This will loosen the residue and make it easy to remove.
  1. Dry the frying pans etc. immediately after cleaning: To avoid rusting , you should dry the pan thoroughly immediately after washing. It is best to heat it briefly on the stove to ensure that it is completely dry.
  1. Oil the pan after each use: After the pan is dry, apply a thin layer of neutral-tasting vegetable oil to the inside. This will prevent rust from forming.
  1. Avoid using metal utensils: Metal can scratch the surface of cast iron. Use wooden or silicone utensils instead.
  1. Store cast iron properly: Store your cast iron pans and pots in a dry place. To avoid moisture, you can put a piece of kitchen paper in the pan.

By following these steps, you can ensure that your cast iron pans and pots retain their quality and serve you well for years to come. But what home remedies can get burnt-on encrustations under control again?

Cleaning burnt pots and pans: effective household remedies

Anyone who enjoys cooking knows the problem of burnt pots and pans. Often it seems as if scrubbing for hours is the only solution. Wrong! Because there are a number of household remedies that are both effective and gentle and allow burnt-on food to be removed in no time .

The following tips will help you restore your cookware to its original condition without using harmful chemicals or excessive force.

1. Baking soda & vinegar: a powerful combination

A mixture of baking soda and vinegar has proven to be particularly effective against burnt-on food residue . Simply add a few tablespoons of baking soda to the affected pot or pan and fill it with a little water. Then add a little vinegar and heat the mixture briefly. The chemical reaction helps to dissolve the burnt-on residue.

2. Salt: simple and effective

Salt is not only a basic kitchen seasoning, but also an excellent cleaning agent . Sprinkle a generous amount of salt on the burnt area and add a little water to form a paste. Leave the mixture to sit for a few hours before washing it off.

3. Citric acid: freshness and shine

Citric acid is another effective way to clean pots and pans. The natural acid helps dissolve grease and burnt-on food . Simply add some citric acid to the pot, fill it with water and bring it to the boil. The dirt can then be easily removed and your cookware is ready for the next use.

4. Baking soda: all-rounder in the household

You can also use baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, to clean your cookware. A paste made from baking soda and water can work wonders. Simply apply to the affected areas and allow to work. Then rinse with clean water. Done!

Emma Grün Tip: If you have burnt something again, just try the home remedies presented. You will see how easy it is to clean burnt pots and pans again. And you can do this without having to resort to harsh chemicals or excessive force. On top of that, these methods are not only gentle on your cooking utensils, but also on the environment.

But can burnt coated pans be cleaned in the same way or are there certain things to consider?

What you should pay attention to when cleaning coated pots and pans

If you use coated pots and pans in your kitchen, it is important to take proper care of them. This is the only way to extend their lifespan and maintain their non-stick properties. Here are some tips to keep in mind when cleaning them:

  • Choose the right cleaning tools: Always use soft sponges or microfiber cloths to clean your coated pots and pans . Hard brushes or scouring pads can scratch the surface and damage the coating.
  • Use mild cleaning agents: Instead of using aggressive cleaners, you should use mild, pH-neutral detergents such as the cleaning concentrates from Emma Grün. These are gentler on the coating and protect your coated cookware from premature wear.

Pots and pans on the stove

  • Avoid overheating: Be careful not to overheat coated pans and pots, especially when they are empty. High temperatures can damage the coating .
  • Protect them when storing: If you stack several coated pots and pans, place soft cloths or pan protectors between them to prevent scratches.
  • Hand washing is better: Although some coated kitchen utensils are considered dishwasher safe, it is recommended to wash them by hand. The dishwasher can damage the coating due to the high temperatures and strong detergents .
  • Avoid metal utensils: When handling coated cookware, you should not use metal kitchen utensils as these can scratch the surface. Utensils made of wood, silicone or plastic are better.
  • Gentle approach to burnt food: If something does burn, soak the affected pot or pan in warm water and add a little dish soap or natural all-purpose cleaner . However, avoid scraping the residue from the bottom of the pan. This will damage the surface and shorten the life of your cookware.

By implementing these tips, you will ensure that your coated pots and pans remain in good condition for a long time and retain their non-stick properties.


Removing burnt-on food from pans and pots can be easier than you think. The key is to soak with warm water and dish soap to loosen the residue. Natural cleaning agents such as baking soda, vinegar, citric acid or sustainable cleaning concentrates are effective and gentle at the same time.

After soaking, gently scrubbing with a soft sponge will help remove the residue without damaging the surface. Regular care and avoiding excessively high temperatures when cooking can also prevent food from burning. With these simple and environmentally friendly methods, your cookware can be cleaned effectively and will stay in good condition for a long time.

FAQ: Questions & Answers

What is the best way to remove burnt food from pots and pans?

The most effective way to remove burnt food from pots and pans is to soak them in a mixture of warm water and dish soap. For more stubborn cases, a paste of baking soda and water or a mixture of diluted vinegar can be used.

Can I use abrasive cleaners to remove burnt food?

It is not recommended to use abrasive cleaners or hard brushes as these can damage the surface of pots and pans. Instead, you should use soft sponges or cloths.

Are natural cleaning products like baking soda or vinegar safe for all types of pots and pans?

Natural cleaners like baking soda and vinegar are generally safe and effective for most types of cookware, including nonstick pots and pans. They are a gentle alternative to chemical cleaners.

How long should I soak pots and pans to remove burnt food?

This depends on the severity of the encrustation. Often a soaking time of a few hours is sufficient, but in stubborn cases it can be helpful to leave the dishes to soak overnight. However, you should avoid this with cast iron pans. A long soaking time will cause the cookware to rust.

Can I clean burnt pots and pans in the dishwasher?

Although some pots and pans are considered dishwasher safe, it is generally better to wash them by hand, especially if they contain burnt food. Manual cleaning allows for more targeted and gentle treatment of the affected areas and prevents deformation.