Baking soda or Barkeeper’s Friend are both safe on almost every surface and can be used to clean a whole lot more than pots and pans. I use this method on everything that has something that just doesn’t seem to want to come off— it even helps with stickers that just won’t come off of something!
The baking soda bath is also GREAT for nonstick cookware, when you think it’s “not nonstick” anymore, it generally means the pores are all clogged with filth. Leaving the baking soda concoction on it helps draw everything up out of those pores!
I used a grill pan as my example so I can show you how well this method truly works. And it’s cheap! You don’t need the specific cleaning tools I use, aside from the baking soda, but I prefer what I use and feel they hold up to rough cleanings like this and keep on keepin’ on! (So it’s what I most highly recommend!)
|Dirty grill pan!
I usually save my ickiest pans for the end of a load of dishes, that way if I need to let them soak, I don’t have to waste any more water. I will generally take one pass at something before resorting to the soak, just to loosen up anything I can to start it off on the right foot.
I didn’t soak this pan before going for the baking soda bath, but a lot of times I do, especially because I’m hoping I don’t have to resort to this method and that the soak will do the trick! This particular pan actually had several uses of buildup on it before I tried getting it clean. It’s a grill pan—meant to be ugly! But it proves my method swimmingly.
|The first layer of baking soda is applied…
I washed this pan in mostly greasy leftover dishpan water. Rinsed it off and immediately applied a layer of baking soda. Move it around with your fingers, drizzle more water on it, etc. as needed. Try not to just pour more water on it because you will end up dumping most of your concoction down the drain! You want it paste-like. Let it sit—the longer the better, so go ahead and start wiping down the counters and sweeping the floor.
|Not looking too bad after the first scrub-a-dub!
|Implements of war!
Take the scrubby side of a sponge, a dish brush, or in my case, a Spaghetti Scrub, mix with elbow grease, and scrub that baby! Rinse your sponge throughout to get maximum scrubbing in. Depending on how dirty the pan is, you might have to repeat this step a few times. This grill pan in my example seemed like a lost cause after one round, but was almost totally clean after a second bout. I left a tad bit of a stain to ensure to you that it wasn’t a second pan or anything sneaky like that! When you’ve finished it up, I recommend washing the pan thoroughly in warm, soapy water to get rid of any residue from the baking soda or Barkeeper’s Friend.
|Finished product! Like new!
|Norpro pan scraper
I also like to break out a nylon pan scraper when doing something heavy-duty like this. This particular pan has ridges, so I didn’t really use it much this time around, but generally I will use this before even grabbing the sponge or dish brush. You can find flimsier, cheaper ones, but this one by Norpro is only a dollar and is extremely sturdy!
Read more details about my favorite cleaning gadgets here!