Sometimes you know when you've scorched a pot while you're in the middle of cooking, and other times you aren't graced with the realization until you've served up dinner and it's time to do the dishes. Is there anything that can ruin a great meal quicker than the sight of a pot or pan that's burned beyond recognition?

Scrubbing a burned pot is pretty much the last thing you want to do at the end of the day, and it's seems like it's always a futile effort, anyway — but we promise you it's not. Even the most scorched pot is usually salvageable. We've got a few tried-and-true methods you can use to make a burned or boiled-over pot look as good as new again.

Supplies:

  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • Double-sided sponge

Directions:

Step 1

Fill the pot or pan with a layer of water. The amount of water you use will vary based on the depth of the pot and the area of the stain. You want the water level to be at or near the height of the stain while still providing enough room for the addition of vinegar and baking soda.

More: How to Save Overcooked Meat So Your Dinner Isn't Ruined

Add about a cup of vinegar to the pot, again adjusting the amount of vinegar based on the depth of the pot and the area of the stain. For very large burns, add more vinegar. For smaller burns or shallower pans, add less.

Next up: Step 2

Originally published December 2011. Updated June 2017.

Step 2

Place the pot or pan on the stove, and bring the mixture to a boil. It shouldn't take long before you start to notice a difference in the stain's appearance.

Step 3

Take the pot or pan off the burner, and turn off the stove. Add 2 – 3 tablespoons of baking soda to the mix. Allow the baking soda to fizz and do its work for a few minutes before emptying the mixture from the pot.

More: How to Open a Bottle of Wine — Even If You Don't Have a Corkscrew

Step 4

Scrub the pot with the abrasive side of your sponge. You may need to scrub for 30 – 45 seconds, but the burnt spots should come up fairly easily. If the spots are especially stubborn, sprinkle a little dry baking soda on top of them to help abrade the burn marks away. When you're satisfied that the pot is clean, rinse it thoroughly — it should look as good as new.

Image: Terese Condella/SheKnows