This Viral TikTok Hack for Cleaning Burnt Cookware is Surprisingly Effective

published Dec 26, 2021
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two caraway pans on stovetop
Credit: Danielle Centoni

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.


Finally a hack that’s actually useful! 😍

♬ original sound – Dan Shaba

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.

Credit: Ashley Abramson
Would this cleaning concoction work?

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.

Credit: Ashley Abramson
Look at those results!!

The Results

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.