How To...Make 'em
Shine Like New!

We’ve all done it -- left a pot on the stove too long or let a sauce boil over. The result is a badly burned pot that seems impossible to clean. You don’t have to give it a single worry as long as you follow these quick steps to clean a burned pot or pan.

Woman cleaning pot

Step 1: Gather up the goods

It doesn't take much to clean a burned pot. Grab a cup of white vinegar, a couple tablespoons of baking soda and make sure you have access to water. The only other thing you'll need is a double-sided sponge to help you wipe down the surface. Also, in an ironic twist, you'll need to use the same culprit that helped create the stain to remove the burn from the pot's surface -- make sure your stove is ready to go.

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Step 2: Get the cleaning started

Fill the pot or pan with a layer of water. The amount of water you use will vary based on the deepness 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.

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

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

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Step 3: Create some chemistry

Take the pot or pan off the burner and turn off the stove. Add two to three tablespoons of baking soda to the mix and watch the bubbles form! Allow the fizz to do its work for a few minutes before emptying the mixture from the pot.

Step 4: Rub it down

Scrub the pot with the abrasive side of your sponge. You may need to scrub for 30 to 45 seconds, but the burned 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!

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Watch: How to clean burned-on food off a pot

Getting caked-on food off your pots is possible. All you need is a little time and elbow grease.

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For more info on this topic...For more household tips, check out:

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Comments on "How to clean a burned pot"

Darryl April 02, 2014 | 4:06 PM

I made the mistake of using baking powder as well, as down-under, we call baking soda 'bi-carb'. Anyway it fizzed up and the scorch easily came of with soapy steel wool...the pot looks like new. Just brilliant. Thanks a million.

Jetty March 12, 2014 | 5:24 AM

I found that just adding water to cover the burned places and letting it boil on the stove for about 15 minutes works for me.

Jean February 06, 2014 | 8:26 AM

My right arm is tired from the scrubbing, but my new cuisinart sauce pan looks like new - brilliant and thank you!

Pat January 21, 2014 | 9:18 AM

I noticed one person used baking POWDER and was dissatisfied. You should use baking SODA.

Kaz January 13, 2014 | 1:37 PM

Brilliant! Just tried this after the housemate burnt mulled wine to the bottom of my brand new pan I got for Xmas ... It was amazing watching the burn lift off ... I've just left him to wash up now ... Pan is good as new and housemates head doesn't need my pan wrapped round it (joking)!!

Jamie December 27, 2013 | 10:32 AM

Just used the vinegar trick on my burned-on turkey roaster. Worked great, though in lieu of baking soda (used it up in a bath for rashes on my kids) I used Barkeeper's Friend JUST to polish it up.

Sheila December 16, 2013 | 10:36 AM

Brilliant! I had a thick black crust of burnt vegetable soup on the bottome of my pot. Thoughtt I'd have to throw the pot out. After the first attempt with the vinegar and bicarb almost the entire thing lifted loose. A second dose removed the rest except for a few black marks which came off with a sponge scourer. Pot as good as new! Thanks!!!

Jon December 02, 2013 | 5:16 PM

I had to do it twice to get the last little bit of burned stuff removed, but it worked like a charm and saved my good Cuisinart stock pot. I really appreciate it!

Burndett October 24, 2013 | 4:10 AM

I just used the baking soda and white vinegar trick and it worked like magic! I had burned some grape jam and scrubbed and scrubbed my stainless steel pot last night then left it to soak overnight with a little dish soap in water. No noticeable improvement this morning. This morning I put an inch of water in the pan, dumped in a generous amount of baking soda and a good dollop of white vinegar, survived the fizz ;-) and set it on the stove to heat it up. It was barely warm before the ENTIRE burned spot just lifted off the bottom of the pan. NO further scrubbing required. I don't usually burn stuff on, but it's good to know this for when it does happen. Thanks.

Mae Haynes August 20, 2013 | 8:33 AM

When I saw the first black glob rise to the surface I knew it worked. But patience, not my strong suit, may be required. I was able to remove about half of the seriously burned beans, but ran it through again ... bringing the vinegar and baking soda to a boil. Now I'm letting it sit. This was the worst mess I've ever seen. It may take a bit longer. But I'm convinced ... with patience and time ... that it will work!

Nancy August 11, 2013 | 3:13 PM

Skip the fabric softener. They are toxic and you sure don't want that on a pan that you will be cooking in!

Nancy August 11, 2013 | 2:20 PM

Skip the fabric softener. They are toxic and you sure don't want that on a pan that you will be cooking in!

Buzz July 29, 2013 | 3:15 AM

Burnt the missus's pot, she went balistic. Tried this method and the pot came up better then brand new. Thanks for saving my life !!!!!!!!!

Bree July 18, 2013 | 9:59 PM

Thank you so much. This recipe has just about saved my life. Mum would have killed me!! Cooking pasta and forgot, whoops came back to all the water gone and black noodles and bottom of the pan. I was scrubbing for ages until i decided to use google as my friend :) Thanks again :)

Joanne July 14, 2013 | 11:11 AM

Tried Baking powder and white vinegar and put on the stove, has not woprked for me!! I give up!!

Ruth July 07, 2013 | 10:28 PM

Worked like a charm,basically just sponged it out,no scrubbing pan was pitch black!!

Michelle June 12, 2013 | 6:22 PM

Wow! Worked for me, and I was skeptical. I used steel wool after soaking with the baking soda. Pan looks better, actually, than it has in years.

Shalese June 08, 2013 | 8:23 AM

This worked great for me! If you tried this with no result, let the vinegar and water boil a bit longer and it should help. But if there is loose bits of food that you can scrape off, get rid of those first (use a wooden spoon or something soft to scrape to avoid damaging the pan.) Basically this is for burnt on food that will not soften or come off with a 3 day soak (the black charred rim on stainless steel pans and pots). Hope this helps some of you! Thanks for the post.

Melani May 28, 2013 | 8:44 AM

I had heard somewhere, to use either baking soda, or white vinegar, to soak and remove scorch marks - but not to use both together, as the "fizzing" does absolutely nothing to loosen the scorching. Singly, though, either one item is supposed to work..

Gene March 27, 2013 | 12:29 PM

Worked for me. Does take a little extra baking soda and some elbow grease though.

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