The Easiest Way to Clean a Burnt Pot or Pan - With Lemons!

Shawna Bailey
by Shawna Bailey
3 Materials
10 Minutes

I hate doing the I 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 to clean a burnt pot or pan. 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.

Here's a pot that has been burnt to heck. You don't even want to know what I was trying to cook!

Burnt pot

Let's just say that I needed a super-powered cleaner, and a fresh scent would definitely help.

Chopping up the lemons

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.

Adding water and lemons to the pot

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.

Boiling the lemons

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.

Scrubbing at the burnt food

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.

Clean pot

Step 5: Rinse out Your Pot

A few rinses later, my crud-caked pot was as good as new! Now, wasn't that easier than scrubbing with steel wool til your fingers were raw?

Burnt pot before and after

How to clean a burnt pot with lemons

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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Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
3 of 29 questions
  • Wilda Wilda on Feb 13, 2019

    Pan cleaned after burnt. Still discolored. Will this make the pot shine again? How do you get the sides to shine?

  • Sarah Lopez Sarah Lopez on Oct 17, 2019

    Can you use limes as a replacement for lemons?

  • Lin Kisslinger Lin Kisslinger on Feb 19, 2020

    what about using it on other surfaces of pots and pans?

Join the conversation
2 of 184 comments
  • Patty Patty on Dec 03, 2022

    Thanks for the tip. I can use it!

  • Mildred Sanchez Mildred Sanchez on Nov 29, 2023

    Yes I did it today. Was cooking on my Pressure cooker and left it too long and goat meat got burned. Took it out and put water and lemon juice about half a cup and put it to boil for about ten minutes. All the burnt came up and it was easy to clean pot. Thank you.