Read these 6 Cleaning Cookware Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Cookware tips and hundreds of other topics.
Non-stick cookware is by far the easiest to clean up, but it's the hardest to maintain and has the least amount of durability due to the fact that it's coated. Only use plastic or wooden utensils when cooking on a non-stick surface. Every once in awhile, though, you may experience the occasional burned food item if you let the sauce boil over or another similar kitchen catastrophe happens.
Here are the do's and don'ts of caring for your non-stick cookware:
• DO soak burnt-on messes in a solution of equal parts baking soda and water. The water will turn brown as the soda dissolves the stickiness and that's how you'll know its working. The burnt food should just lift right off the pan or griddle after about 20 minutes.
• DON'T use aerosol cooking sprays on non-stick pans as they are slightly porous and the tiny oil droplets can get stuck in the finish resulting in a nasty build-up that tastes bad and reduces cooking and non-stock efficiency.
• DON'T place non-stick cookware in the dishwasher. It will corrode and dry out the non-stick surface.
• DON'T use a non-stick pan in the broiler. The heat is too high and the pan will be ruined.
• DO wash and dry your non-stick cookware in warm, sudsy water immediately after cooking.
• DO dry right away to avoid water spots and discolorations.
• DO clean discolorations from bottoms of your non-stick pots, pans and griddles. Use a cookware cleaner formulated for the type of metal base used in your collection of nonstick cookware. Mix with water to form a paste and rub in a circular motion until stains are gone.
Although shiny aluminum is some of the most beautiful cookware with its super reflective, brilliant surface, you should be careful when cleaning it.
One thing all aluminum cookware shares in common is they are not dishwasher safe: Extremely hot water temperatures combined with harsh chemicals and bleach may discolor aluminum and anodized finishes. Also, never use steel wool, alcohol, abrasive cleaners, bleach oven cleaners or metal implements to scrape any aluminum cookware. Here are some other tips for keeping your pots and pans shiny:
• Use non-abrasive cleansers and a soft brush or nylon scrubbing pads on brushed or shiny aluminum surfaces. Always scrub, brush or polish with the grain of the metal.
• Use hot soapy water immediately after cooking to deter foods from sticking.
• Soak in baking soda or boil to clean burnt pans.
• Dry all cookware right away to avoid hard water stains.
• Watch your cooking temperatures. While these types of pots and pans have excellent heat conduction, they have no non-stick properties.
As careful as we try to be when cooking, burnt-on food and scorched cookware can happen to the best of us! Mostly this happens when the heat or flame is set too high for the amount of ingredients in the pan. Other times, it happens because we have too many things going on at once or we walk away while food is cooking -- both cooking no-no's!
Here's how to clean your burned pots and pans:
• Plunge the pan bottom into cold water to lessen the burnt taste and reduce the temperature immediately.
• If there is a burnt-on, caked-on coating or film of food, try to boil it off buy adding 1 teaspoon baking soda or washing soda or even cream of tartar for each cup of water. The food should float free after about 20 minutes. Then wash as usual.
• If it's not a stainless steel pan, cover the burnt inner bottom with baking or washing soda, and then add just enough water to cover the soda. The soda dissolves the “stick” and usually the burnt food will release in an even layer. Sometimes this can be an overnight process.
• DO wash cookware immediately after cooking.
• DON'T put most pots and pans in the dishwasher unless the manufacturer's directions specifically allow.
• NEVER use bleach, steel wool, oven cleaners, abrasive cleansers or scrape with metal implements to remove burnt on food.
Copper cookware is a classic, both for its superior heat qualities and its beauty. But it does require special care to keep it looking its best. Most copper pots and pans feature a copper exterior with a stainless steel interior surface for ease of cleaning and durability.
Although the heat qualities of copper are safe for cooking, these pots and pans are not non-stick so you'll want to keep your cooking temperatures lower to avoid discoloring the exterior.
Rinse and wash with warm sudsy water to prevent foods from sticking. Then wash with a brass/copper cleaner available at local grocery stores or online.
Dry immediately to avoid hard water stains and discolorations.
Some copper brands are dishwasher-safe; however certain parts may tarnish or discolor and need to be polished. Hand-washing and following manufacturer's instructions carefully can prevent tarnishing and discoloration.
A homemade mixture of flour, salt, lemon juice and ammonia mixed into a paste may be applied with a soft scrubbing brush to keep copper looking its best.
Always polish to a clean, dry luster.
Never use steel wool, alcohol, abrasive cleaners, bleach, oven cleaners or metal implements to scrape copper cookware
Stainless steel cookware is by far the easiest-to-care-for cookware, however it has no non-stick properties whatsoever, so be prepared should the occasional scorching happen.
Sometimes stainless steel can be susceptible to discolorations from cooking highly acidic foods or heat marks on the exterior can show up from cooking with a scalding temperature. Here's how to keep your stainless steel cookware “stainless” for years to come:
• Always wash stainless steel pots and pans immediately in hot, sudsy water using a nylon scrubber or soft brush.
• Never use steel wool, alcohol, abrasive cleaners, bleach, oven cleaners or metal implements to scrape stainless steel.
• Stainless steel pans may be washed in the dishwasher. Always, follow your manufacturer's instructions however.
• No matter how you wash, always dry immediately to avoid water spots and stains.
• To remove heat marks or discolorations, make a paste of non-abrasive stainless steel cookware cleaner mixed with water on a soft cloth. Rub with a circular motion to remove.
Hard-anodized aluminum cookware is hardened aluminum that resists abrasion and corrosion. It is one of the most durable types of cookware you can buy with some non-stick properties.
One thing all aluminum cookware shares in common is they are not dishwasher safe: Extremely hot water temperatures in combination with harsh chemicals and bleach can discolor anodized finishes.
Don't use steel wool, alcohol, abrasive cleaners, bleach, oven cleaners or metal implements to scrape any hard-anodized cookware.
Hard-anodized aluminum surfaces are virtually non-porous, so food sticking is less of a problem.
Be sure you have thoroughly scrubbed your pots and pans using warm soapy water.
Use a non-abrasive cleanser mixed with water to form a paste for stubborn scorched foods. With a soft cloth, rub in a circular motion to lift burnt on foods.
Dry wet pots, pans, griddles and utensils to avoid hard water droplets and stains.
Citric acid, bleach and vinegar should not be left on stainless steel as they may cause permanent discoloration.