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The Easiest Way to Clean a Burnt Pot or Pan

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I hate doing the dishes...like, REALLY hate it. But there's one thing that makes doing the dishes truly unbearable and that's when food gets burnt to the bottom of a pan. Instead of fighting and scraping the pan til it's spotless, here's my favorite method for cleaning stainless steel pots and pans. All it takes is a few cut up lemons and water. The acid in the lemon and the boiling water get off all the really tough gunk, plus the lemons get rid of any burnt smell and replace it with a sweet citrus scent.
Time: 10 Minutes Cost: $1 Difficulty: Easy
Here's a pot that has been burnt to heck. You don't even want to know what I was trying to cook! Let's just say that I needed a super powered cleaner, and a fresh scent would definitely help. Step 1: Chop Up Two Lemons
I cut my lemons into eights, but you can cut them into quarters or slices, as long as you end up with enough pieces to cover the bottom of the pan. Step 2: Add Water
I added enough water to cover the whole burnt bottom of the pan. It's no use trying to cover the lemons - they float! As long as the burnt area is covered, the lemons will do their job. Step 3: Bring to a Boil
I brought the water to a rolling boil. You can even see the burnt specks coming off the bottom of the pot as the lemons swam around. Step 4: Let Water Cool & Dump It Out
After I dumped out the lemons and dirty water, I was left with a thin brown layer on the bottom of the pot. All I had to do was scrub it lightly with a brush, and all the leftover grime fell away. Step 5: Rinse out Your Pot
A few rinses later, and my crud-caked pot was good as new! Now, wasn't that easier than scrubbing with steel wool til your fingers are raw?
It's hard to believe, but that really is the same pot! This is one magic trick I will definitely be doing again.
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  • Linda
    Linda United Kingdom
    on Jun 23, 2016

    This is great. Bicarb does the same thing.

    • Melinda Lockwood
      Melinda Lockwood Columbia, MO
      on Jan 4, 2018

      That is what I always use-works like a dream and less expensive than lemons.

  • Keith Umpleby
    Keith Umpleby United Kingdom
    on Jun 23, 2016

    Bio wash powder works as well

  • Maya Houmann Hansen
    Maya Houmann Hansen
    on Jun 23, 2016

    wow - thank you.

  • Bevers1948
    Bevers1948
    on Jun 23, 2016

    I fine that Baking soda sprinkled on the burned pot works as well if you are out of lemons. Just set it aside until morning.

  • Rita Botha
    Rita Botha South Africa
    on Jun 23, 2016

    Very tempted to burn a pot to try this LOL! I've been using bicarb/baking soda for a while now and also leave it overnight. In the morning, I add a bit of vinegar. This causes a bubbling chemical reaction which loosens any subborn bits. However .... it does nothing for the immediate burn smell and takes so long to work - I want to remove my "evidence" of such a faux pas as quickly as possible! This is stored in the memory banks as a definite "to-do" next time the occasion presents itself. Thank you for sharing!

    • Rita Botha
      Rita Botha South Africa
      on Jan 5, 2018

      I believe it would. The reason for using lemons was the fragrance of the lemons. I have used vinegar water before and it works. Maybe the lemon works better because of the oils released from the skin as well

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