Don’t Soak It Overnight: 5 Easy Pan Cleaning Hacks
There’s nothing more dreadful than taking your eye off the stove for five minutes and coming back to the kitchen to see tonight’s dinner blackened and burned to a crisp. The second most annoying thing is realising that you now have to clean the mess, which often takes a lot of elbow grease. While most home cooks would resort to using a scourer or steel wool to remedy the situation, this could result in damaging your cookware. Chances are you probably have some common household items in your kitchen pantry that could save you time and effort in cleaning your pans. With these five easy pan-cleaning hacks, your favourite reliable pan will be spick ‘n span again.
1. Baking Soda/Bicarbonate of Soda
Baking soda is not only good for making pancakes but also a useful ingredient for cleaning pans. Baking soda, also known as ‘bicarbonate of soda’, has an alkaline pH balance like many common household cleaning products, meaning it also has abrasive properties.
The alkaline baking soda neutralises acidic burnt food on the base of your pan. Try this easy pan-cleaning hack by first pouring a little water in your pan, enough to coat the base of the pan, then add two tablespoons of baking soda.
Make sure that your pan is on low-medium heat for 5 minutes. If the pan is severely burnt, try adding two tablespoons of lemon juice to the mix, there should still be water in the pan – this will create a fizz reaction which will help break down the grime.
Vinegar has acidic properties, which is good for removing mineral deposits from pans. This natural household ingredient is especially useful for disintegrating fatty build-up. Simply pour a little brown or white vinegar into your heated pan and heat for 5 minutes. For effective results, add two measures of baking soda – this will accelerate the breakdown process, leaving you to easily wipe the dirt off.
3. Coca Cola
From supposedly helping tummy aches to cleaning pots and pans, there’s nothing that a bottle of Coke can’t do. Coke is pretty acidic and contains food-grade acid – apparently to balance its sweetness. This also makes it effective as a pan-cleaning ingredient; it’s best to use fizzy and not flat Coke from which the gas has been removed. Pour half a can of Coca-Cola into your dirty pan and allow it to cook on low-medium heat for 15-20 minutes – be sure to watch your pan to avoid unwanted cleanups.
4. Lemon Juice & Dishwashing Liquid
A little lemon juice and dishwashing liquid goes a long way – much like those exaggerated Sunlight TV ads claimed all those years ago. Vinegar is a stronger astringent than lemon, but if you’re dealing with a moderately burnt pan that won’t require as much effort to clean, then lemon juice and a drop or two of dishwashing liquid will do the trick. What’s even better than lemon, is lime juice if you have any.
5. Cream of Tartar
Unless you’re an avid baker, you’ve probably never had much use for cream of tartar. This powdery white substance is actually a byproduct of winemaking. It can be used to stabilise egg whites when making meringues for Pavlova or most cakes. Interestingly, it’s also the active ingredient in baking powder which acts as a raising agent. Thanks to its acidic properties, it makes for a useful pan-cleaning hack. Add two tablespoons of this magic ingredient to a cup of water, and place it in your dirty pan. Allow to bubble for a couple of minutes over a low-medium heat, remove for the stove and voilà.
Now that you know how to make your pans good-as-new, here’s how you should load your dishwasher – the proper way.
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