Cleaning Pots, Pans, Bakeware & Cookware
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Normally cleaning pots, pans, baking sheets and cookware is routine, but when there's baked on grease or burnt stuff you need more help.

Tips, home remedies and product recommendations for cleaning pots, pans, bakeware and cookware, including for burnt pots, baked on grease on pans, and more {on Stain Removal 101}use this Pin it button to save to Pinterest

Here's tips to help you get everything clean again, not matter what part of your cookware has gotten dirty, and whatever material your pots and pans are made of.

You'd think that cleaning bakeware and cookware would be simple, and overall it is. Normally you just cook in something, wash it by hand, and you're done.

Tips, home remedies and product recommendations for cleaning pots, pans, bakeware and cookware, including for burnt pots, baked on grease on pans, and more {on Stain Removal 101}use this Pin it button to save to Pinterest

However, did you know that the type of material your pots and pans are made of impacts how you should clean them? In addition, there are differences between routine care and deep cleaning tasks related to these objects, plus whether you have a mildly dirty pot, you've accidentally burned something inside it, and if, with time, the outside of the pans and cookware are starting to look bad.

It's all these variables that make this topic a bit more complex than it would at first appear. But never fear, here's a lot of resources to help you keep your pots, pans, and bakeware looking their best from now on, and in many different circumstances.

Take Precautions Before Using Your Cookware To Make Clean Up Easier

Before we get into the nitty gritty of cleaning your cookware, I want to point out that doing simple things, like adding aluminum foil to the bottom of the roasting pan, or parchment paper on the cookie sheet, can make clean up so much easier later.

Obviously, this doesn't work for every type of cookware and for every recipe, but always be on the lookout for times you can take simple steps like this and do them when possible. You'll appreciate it later when doing kitchen clean up.

Hand Washing Versus Placing These Items In The Dishwasher

Practical answers to the question of whether you can wash your pots and pans in the dishwasher, giving pros and cons {on Stain Removal 101}use this Pin it button to save to Pinterest

The general consensus among "cleaning experts" is that you should hand wash all your pots and pans, and not place them in the dishwasher, with the exception of stainless steel pots and pans.

But the reason that I put "cleaning experts" into quotes is because you are not bound by what anyone else says, but you should know the pros and cons of washing pots and pans in the dishwasher before you do it.

So here's my thoughts on the matter. First, the pros of placing these items in the dishwasher. You can place pots and pans in the dishwasher, and just like with the rest of your dishes, turn it on and walk away and let the machine clean for you. Ahhhh, after the work that goes into cooking a meal the convenience of using the dishwasher can feel great.

Now, the cons. When you fill your dishwasher with these large items you have to run the machine more frequently, or potentially don't have room for all the small dishes and utensils. In addition, depending on how you position the pots and pans you may either block the sprayer from spraying other dishes above or surrounding the large pans, or the sprayer may not ever actually hit the inside of the pot, meaning it doesn't get clean.

And finally, dishwashers are awesome but there's a reason some things aren't dishwasher safe, and that's because these machines can be rough on their contents. You probably paid quite a bit for your nice set of pots and pans, and a dishwasher will hasten the aging of them significantly, but in contrast there is a lot less wear and tear when you hand wash.

So this is where I come down on the washing pots in the dishwasher debate. I don't typically do it, but instead hand wash. I've found it really doesn't take too much additional time to wash it, after you clear out all the excess food anyway so you don't clog up your dishwasher drain, plus I don't have a lot of extra room in my dishwasher after my family of five eats a meal anyway, so I don't want to waste precious space on a big pot.

Every once in a while, if you're really exhausted, sure, throw them in there if they say they're dishwasher safe generally. Just don't make it a habit.

General Tips For Washing Dirty Pots & Bakeware

We've all had a really dirty pot or piece of bakeware to wash, where the contents are burnt in there, but it is really dried and crusty. Presoaking is your best friend in these situations. Time and hot water will do wonders to loosen up this dried crusty food to allow you to clean your pots and pans easily.

If it is really bad you can boil water in the pan to help. In addition, adding either baking soda or powdered dishwasher detergent to the pot will also help make it easier to clean.

General Tips For Washing Burned Pans & Cookware

Sometimes though you actually burn the contents of the pot or pan, and this is even harder to clean. Here's my tips for cleaning burned pots and pans naturally.

Cleaning Outside Of Pots & Pans

Most of the time, and rightfully so, we are focused mainly on cleaning the inside of the pots and pans, since that is where the food cooks and things get messy. However, with time and use the outside of your pots can begin to look bad, with baked on splatters, scorch marks, and more.

How to clean the outside of these pots and pans is very dependent on what the cookware is made of, so look below in my brief tips, as well as in the round up of tips from readers further down the page, to find the best way to clean the outside of your pans and pots.

Specific Instructions For Cleaning The Various Types Of Cookware

As mentioned above, while there are some general cleaning tips that apply to all or most bakeware and cookware, some of the things you need to know for proper cleaning and care are based on what type of cookware you own.

Here's a list of the most common types of pots and pans, and resources on the site that can help you clean them properly. Also, make sure to scroll down to look at the round up of tips on the site from other readers which can also give you good tips for your specific cookware type.


Aluminum pots tend to darken with hard water or alkaline foods. Here are tips for how to clean discolored aluminum items in the kitchen.

Cast Iron

When cleaning cast iron you want to make sure not to remove the seasoning, plus care must be taken to not let the cookware stay damp which can cause rust. Here's tips for clenaing cast iron.


Many people love the beauty of copper cookware, and the way it cooks. Here's tips for cleaning copper pots.

Enameled Cast Iron Or Enameled Steel

Enameled steel and enamaled cast iron should be washed with a light duty nylon pad, and then dried thoroughly afterward to prevent rust around the rim.


Nonstick pans are supposed to make cleaning easier, but the nonstick coating itself is quite delicate. You cannot use any type of abrasive brushes or pads with these types of pots, nor abrasive cleansing powders. In addition, if you signs of scratchs or flaking of the non-stick coating it's time to throw the pot or pan out.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel pots and pans are tough. You can even wash them in the dishwasher, typically. However, they can easily get dirty on the outside. One of the best ways to clean these types of pots up is to use Bar Keepers Friend. Click the link to scroll down and see before and after photos when cleaning your stainless steel pots with this product.

Tips From Other Readers {Plus Share Your Own}

Do you spend a lot of time cooking? If so, I bet you've gotten some cookware that's shown some evidence of all that heat, grease, cooking accidents, and more. But there are ways to get these items clean in your home again.

You just need some good tips to help you get these chores done, so you can have some fun! Here are tips I've collected from readers like you, and from around the web to help you with these tasks.

Here are the best tips submitted so far:

share your cleaning tips here
Share Your Tip Here
cleaning cast iron skillet with salt
Cleaning Cast Iron Skillet {Home Remedies}
copper pot
Copper Pots {Home Remedies}
burned pot
Baking Soda For Burned Pots

cream of tartar
Cream Of Tartar To Lighten Discolored Aluminum
baking soda
Use Baking Soda As Scouring Powder For Non-Stick Items
dryer sheets
Loosen Dried Or Burnt Food With Dryer Sheets {Several Tips}
dirty stainless steel pot
Cleaning Stained Stainless Steel Pot With BKF {Before & After Pics}

metal pot
Removed Rainbow Heat Marks With BKF
metal tea kettle
Clean Kettle With Burnt On Splatters & Grime With BKF
Scotch Brite Greener Clean Non Scratch Scour Pad
Scotch Brite Greener Clean Products {Mixed Opinions}
mrs meyers surface scrub
Mrs. Meyer's Surface Scrub For Copper Pots

copper glo powder
Copper Glo Review {Discontinued Product}
Brasso polish
Brasso Metal Polish For Copper Bottomed Pots & Pans
Twinkle copper cleaner and polish
Twinkle Cleaner & Polish For Copper Bottom Pots
EZ Brite Penny Brite paste, copper cookware cleaner
EZ Brite Penny Brite Paste, Cookware Cleaner

hope's stainless steel polish
Hope's Stainless Steel Polish {Removed Stains}
bar keepers friend liquid cleaner
Bar Keepers Friend Liquid {For Stainless Steel Works Mostly}
Dawn Power Dissolver
Dawn Power Dissolver {Mixed Opinions On How It Works}
oxo good grips soap squirting dish brush
Oxo Dish Brush: Good Grips Soap Dispensing Brush

sos pads
SOS Pads {Multiple Reviews}
scotch brite no scratch sponges
Scotch Brite No Scratch Sponges
stained pan, before and after
Stained Pan Cleaned With BarKeepers Friend Cookware Cleanser
stained pot
BKF Cookware Cleanser Removed Burned Grease

copper bottomed pan, before and after
Cleaning Copper Bottoms With BKF Cookware Cleanser
Brillo pads
Brillo Pads
Dr. Bronner's Sal Suds
Dr. Bronner's Sal Suds For Burned On Cheese
dishwashing soap
Dishwashing Soap Reviews

pot scrubbers
Pot Scrubbers & Scouring Pads Reviews
Kitchen & Cleaning Sponges Reviews

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Tips, home remedies and product recommendations for cleaning pots, pans, bakeware and cookware, including for burnt pots, baked on grease on pans, and more {on Stain Removal 101}use this Pin it button to save to Pinterest

Whether you've got a dishwasher or not I bet you've got to wash your pots and pans, and other bakeware and cookware by hand pretty often.

That's because most cookware can't be put in the dishwasher, and even if it says its dishwasher safe it won't last as long with the rougher treatment it receives in the appliance. Plus, practically, these large bulky items take so much room I can't fit anything else in there when I try to wash things this way.

But overtime, and with use, grease splatters and bakes on, plus you may burn something, or hard water deposits build up. Your nice metal baking sheets and cooking implements can also begin to gather stains and discolorations.

What do you do then to restore everything back to the way it looked (or close to it) when it was new? I'd love to hear your tips and tricks below.

Do You Have A Tip For Cleaning Cookware Or Bakeware?

Have you discovered a great way to clean your pots, pans, cooking sheets, etc. quickly or easily?

If so I would love to hear your cleaning tips below.

Just tell me what it is you cleaned, and how you did it, giving enough details that someone else could follow your instructions themselves.

If you can say what type of cookware or bakeware you cleaned that will be really helpful too, such as aluminum, copper, stainless steel, cast iron, enamel, glass, ceramic, nonstick, teflon, etc.

You can also tell us what homemade or commercial cleaning products you used to get the item clean.

Submitted Tips For Cleaning Pots, Pans, Bakeware & Cookware

Click the links below to see tips already submitted by other readers.

Feel free to tell me in the comments if the tips worked for you too.

Cleaning Burned Pots With Baking Soda 
Below is a video showing you techniques for cleaning burned pots with baking soda. Everyone has been there -- let a pot get too hot, or stepped away …

BarKeepers Friend Cookware Cleanser & Polish Reviews & Pics Of Results 
BarKeepers Friend Cookware Cleanser & Polish is a product designed to clean up cookware stains, such as on stainless steel or copper, that occur because …

Click here to write your own.

Third photo courtesy of Kevin K

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Hi, I'm Taylor, a busy mom with 3 kids, so I have lots of hands on experience with house cleaning, laundry and my fair share of spots, spills and other messy catastrophes. Thanks for visiting my site.

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CAUTION: This website is provided for informational purposes only. It is provided as is, without warranties or guarantees. Some stains and messes just won't come out, and are permanent. Further, some cleaning methods can harm your item, so if what you want to clean or launder is sentimental or expensive call a professional. See disclaimer of liability for more information.