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Clean Burnt Pans with Baking Soda and Vinegar

April 13, 2024

Clean Burnt Pans with Baking Soda and Vinegar


Burnt pans can be a frustrating and seemingly impossible task to clean. The charred, stuck-on food residue can be stubborn and resistant to traditional cleaning methods. However, there’s a simple, effective, and inexpensive solution that can tackle even the toughest burnt-on messes: baking soda and vinegar. In this article, I’ll guide you through the process of cleaning burnt pans using this powerful combination, sharing tips and tricks to ensure a successful and hassle-free cleaning experience.

The Power of Baking Soda and Vinegar

Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and vinegar (acetic acid) are natural cleaning agents that work in harmony to break down and lift stubborn grime, grease, and burnt-on food. When combined, they create a fizzing reaction that helps to loosen and dislodge even the most stubborn messes.

The Baking Soda

Baking soda is a mild abrasive that can gently scrub away stuck-on food and grime without scratching or damaging the pan’s surface. It’s also a natural deodorizer, which can help eliminate any lingering odors from burnt food.

The Vinegar

Vinegar is an acidic liquid that can cut through grease and stuck-on food with ease. It’s also a natural disinfectant, making it an ideal choice for cleaning kitchen surfaces and utensils.

The Fizzing Action

When baking soda and vinegar are combined, they create a chemical reaction that produces carbon dioxide gas. This fizzing action helps to lift and loosen the burnt-on gunk, making it easier to scrub away.

Step-by-Step Guide: Cleaning Burnt Pans with Baking Soda and Vinegar

Materials Needed

  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • A non-abrasive scouring pad or soft-bristled brush
  • Water
  • Optional: A spray bottle for the vinegar

Step 1: Prepare the Pan

Remove any loose debris or large food chunks from the pan. If the pan is heavily burnt, you may need to soak it in hot water for a few hours or overnight to soften the stuck-on mess.

Step 2: Apply Baking Soda

Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda over the burnt areas of the pan, covering the entire surface evenly.

Step 3: Add Vinegar

Slowly pour vinegar over the baking soda. If using a spray bottle, spray the vinegar evenly over the baking soda. The baking soda and vinegar will start to fizz and bubble, indicating that the chemical reaction is taking place.

Step 4: Let the Mixture Work Its Magic

Allow the baking soda and vinegar mixture to sit on the pan for at least 15-20 minutes. This gives the solution time to penetrate and loosen the burnt-on food. For stubborn messes, you can let it sit for up to an hour.

Step 5: Scrub and Rinse

After the designated time has passed, use a non-abrasive scouring pad or soft-bristled brush to scrub the pan in a circular motion. Apply gentle pressure and focus on the areas with the most stubborn burnt-on food. Once you’ve scrubbed the entire pan, rinse it thoroughly with hot water to remove any remaining residue.

Step 6: Repeat if Necessary

If some burnt-on food remains, repeat the process by reapplying baking soda and vinegar to the affected areas. The combination of the fizzing action and gentle scrubbing should eventually remove even the most stubborn burnt-on messes.

Step 7: Dry and Season the Pan (Optional)

Once the pan is clean, dry it thoroughly with a clean cloth or paper towel. If it’s a seasoned cast iron or carbon steel pan, you may want to lightly re-season it with a thin layer of cooking oil to protect the surface and prevent future sticking and burning.

Tips and Tricks

  • For heavily burnt pans, you can make a thicker paste by mixing baking soda and vinegar together before applying it to the pan. This can help the mixture cling better to the surfaces.
  • If you have a particularly stubborn burnt-on mess, you can try heating the pan before applying the baking soda and vinegar mixture. The heat can help to soften and loosen the burnt-on food, making it easier to remove.
  • For tough, baked-on messes, you can let the baking soda and vinegar mixture sit on the pan overnight. This extended soaking time can help to break down even the most stubborn burnt-on food.
  • If you’re dealing with a large pan or multiple pans, consider using a larger container or the sink to soak the pans in the baking soda and vinegar solution.
  • Always use caution when handling hot pans and allow them to cool completely before attempting to clean them.

Benefits of Using Baking Soda and Vinegar

  • Inexpensive and readily available ingredients
  • Natural and non-toxic cleaning solution
  • Effective at removing burnt-on food and grease
  • Gentle on surfaces, including non-stick and seasoned cookware
  • No harsh chemicals or strong odors


Cleaning burnt pans can be a daunting task, but with the power of baking soda and vinegar, it doesn’t have to be a dreaded chore. This simple, natural, and effective cleaning solution can tackle even the toughest burnt-on messes, leaving your pans sparkling clean and ready for their next culinary adventure. Give it a try, and you’ll be amazed at the transformative results. For professional cleaning services, visit

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