This Viral TikTok Hack for Cleaning Burnt Cookware is Surprisingly Effective
When I bought my gorgeous Caraway Home cookware set, I made myself a promise: I’d take care of these pots and pans really well. After all, I thought, it was my first real investment in high-quality cookware. Up until that point, my husband and I had only owned cheap frying pans, which we’d often replace when they got beat up or scorched beyond repair. This time, I wanted my new expensive set to last. Fast forward to now: I’ve had the set for two years, and while the pieces are still in amazing condition, the bottoms have gotten a bit scorched and I haven’t really done much to reverse that. So much for that promise to myself!
Recently, though, I was browsing TikTok when I found a super-popular cleaning method for burnt pans. I decided to give it a try. It requires just a few easy-to-find household ingredients — salt, baking soda, dishwashing liquid, a steel wool scrubber, paper towel, and white vinegar — and a couple of steps.
As a cleaning writer, I knew that these common pantry ingredients had the potential to pack a punch. Why? Salt is magical; it’s pretty terrific at tackling grime and stains because it’s abrasive, so it makes a good natural scrub. Likewise, baking soda, a well-known household cleaner, is also a super-effective (but gentle) abrasive. Also, Dawn is a proven dish soap winner, and acidic vinegar is known to dissolve dirt, grease, and grime. The method seemed promising! And I had everything, so I was ready to begin.
The Cleaning Process in Four Steps
First, I flipped the pan upside-down on a towel and added a sprinkling of salt and baking soda to the pan’s burnt surface. Then, step two, I drizzled Dawn dish soap all over and scrubbed the surface with a steel wool scrubber. I scrubbed extra hard because I didn’t want to phone it in! Next, I moved on to step four and added a layer of paper towels and poured on the white vinegar, exactly as shown in the video.
The idea is that, when you pull off the soaked paper towels, you can easily wipe away the burnt-on gunk along with it. The pan wasn’t fresh-out-of-the-box perfect, but it was a whole lot better than when I started. Just look at these results! It wasn’t effortless and I suspect that my scrubbing did play a fairly large part in the results, but it was definitely more effective than my usual soap-and-water cleaning.
This post originally ran on Kitchn. See it there: I Tried a Viral TikTok Hack to Clean the Burnt Bottoms of My Cookware — Here’s How It Went