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How to Clean Pots and Pans

How to Clean Pots and Pans? Most would probably just stick it in the dish washer. However, typically for high end cookware, it is recommended that you always wash it by hand. The main reason for this recommendation is due to oxidation and rust. Certain metal like Cast Iron, Copper and Carbon Steel need special care. Even Stainless steel can get watermarks on it. Below you will find instructions on some of the ways to care and improve the longevity of your cookware.

How to Clean Pots and Pans Quick Summary

CategoriesCleaning Method
Cast Iron and Stainless Steel
Use Salt and Paper Towel
Rust Eraser
Non Stick Cookware
Soft Side of Sponge
Copper Cookware
Wright Copper Cleaner
Stainless Steel
Barkeeper Friend
Enamel Cookware
Baking Soda
Lime Build Up
Citric Acid Cleaner

How to Clean Cast Iron and Carbon Steel Pans

Cast Iron and Carbon Steel is probably the most high maintenance out there. If you manage to scrub or wash it too thoroughly, you can rip the seasoning right off. So how are you suppose to wash the pan? One of my favorite technique is to use Salt and Paper.

Salt and Paper Towel

To clean cast iron pan with Salt and Paper towel, sprinkle a liberal amount of salt onto the pan. Then grab a paper towel to rub all the stuck on bits. The salt will act as an abrasive much like sand paper would. After the bits are removed, rinse with water and dry. To maintain the seasoning, I recommend that you get wipe oil onto the dry pan then heat it on the stove. You can turn off the heat once you start seeing smoke.


These metal are very prone to rust. They can form if the pan is not seasoned properly or water was left to soak in the pan. On Amazon, you can read a lot of review blaming the manufacturer about their shoddy product, but in reality, they were just misinformed about proper care.

Removing Rust

What if you have rust? You can use a rust eraser. A rust eraser is basically what it sounds like. All you need to do is grab the eraser and erase it. They are fairly cheap to buy and you can find them on amazon for around 10 dollars. Another method of removing rust is to use sand paper until its gone. I highly recommend that you season it afterward, it will just rust again if you don’t.

How to Clean Non Stick Pans

Non Stick pans are very delicate, the life of these pans are tied to their coating. Once it goes, you basically have to toss out the pan. The good thing is that they are very easy to clean. To clean the pan, all you need is traditional soap and water. There are also a lot of Non Stick pan which are dishwasher safe. But if you do wash it by hand, do not use the nylon scrubber, always use the soft side of the sponge. If the food is stuck on, I recommend that you let it sit in water for a while. It should become soft and come off with ease.

Increase Non Stick Pan Longevity

Here are some ways you can keep it lasting longer.
1) Never Use Metal Utensils
2) Use Wooden, Plastic or Silicone Utensils.
3) Do not overheat the pan.
4) Wash with the soft side of the sponge.

How to Clean Copper Pots and Pans

Copper pots are another high maitnance item. They look beautiful when new and polished. However, once patina has form, people complain. Here are some ways you can bring back its luster.

Copper Polish

The best way to polish copper is with a rotary buffer. Since most people dont have this, you can buy a copper polish. I personally use right copper polish. The instruction to use it is as follows.
1) Wash off the pot in hot water.
2) Run the Polish on the pan.
3) Let it sit for a few minute.
4) Rinse then buff with a towel.
After you do this, the shine should be brought back.

Home Made Method

There are some home made polishing method. One popular one is ketchup. Another would be salt and vinegar or lime juice. The steps are the same as above. I will say this, none of these method will never bring back the mirror polish. The only way to do that is via a rotary buffer.

How to Clean Stainless Steel Cookware

Stainless Steel isnt that stainless as you might think. If you over heat it, it will develop a rainbow light affect. Or it can develop water mark from harsh water. Luckily, there is a product that can remove those issue with ease. It is called Barkeeper friend and it is recommended by a lot of the manufacturer of the cookware.

Removing and Cleaning Stains from SS Cookware

1) Wash the pan Clean.
2) Put a pair of glove on.
3) Sprinkle a liberal amount of barkeeper friend onto the pan.
3) Add some water and form a paste.
4) Use a Paper Towel or Towel and rub it in.
5) Rinse and wash with Soap and Water.
After you do this, the stains should be removed from the pan. Barkeeper friend uses the active ingredient oxalic acid to remove all those impurities. Similar to a sandpaper but a lot less harsh.

How to Clean Enamel Cookware

Enamel Cookware tend to hold its beauty no matter what you do. However, you will get the occasional stains. To clean them, all you need is some baking powder.
1) Form the baking powder into a paste with some water.
2) Rub it in and rinse.
3) You can also use a wooden spoon or nylon sponge to scrub it.

That’s it. For more stubborn stains, you can try to boil the water with the baking powder.

Lime Build Up

Lime build up is a little more tedious to clean. You can try to use vinegar and let it soak. Heat up white vinegar until it boils and let it soak overnight. Another way to do this is to use citric acid cleaner. You can run this through your coffee maker or pot.

I hope you find my article on How to Clean Pots and Pans to be helpful, please visit the Article page for more!

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