How to clean pots and pans

Quick Fix: Pot and Pan Care

Most of us have all different types of pots and pans. From cast iron to aluminum and stainless-steel, enameled cast iron and copper. Here’s how to keep them all clean and in top working condition:

  • Cast iron’s ability to hold the heat has made it our favorite cooking pan for hundreds if not thousands of years. The old ones are best because they have years of cooking fats built up in the bottom making them the original non-stick pan. But too much soap can clean away that magical surface so to clean a cast iron skillet just rinse with water, sprinkle liberally with salt and rub with a paper towel. The friction of the salt will remove any stubborn food but it won’t take away that hard earned non-stick surface.

how to season cast iron

  • Aluminum pans conduct heat efficiently and are the work horse pans in restaurant kitchens. So, if you have aluminum pots, your probably love them. Scrub them with a scrubby sponge and a paste of Bar Keeper’s Friend. This powdered cleaner is not as abrasive as some cleaners but it still gets the job done.

Cleaning aluminum skillet

  • Because stainless steel pans don’t conduct heat well, they are usually lined with aluminum and may only be stainless on the inside lining. Cleaning with Bar Keepers Friend inside and out will keep them sparkling.

Cleaning stainless steel pots and pans

  • Enameled cast iron (Le Crueset) becomes stained over time. Keep it colorful in a good way by not heating over high heat or by using metallic utensils which will scratch the surface. If the inside becomes stained, rub with a paste of baking soda and vinegar. Let sit a few minutes then rinse and dry completely before putting it away. Wash the outside with a paste of Bar Keeper’s Friend.

Cleaning enameled cast iron pot

  • Copper cookware conducts heat well and is also beautiful to look at. However, cleaning copper can be time consuming. A paste of Bar Keeper’s Friend will do the trick getting off the tough tarnish. Avoid abrasive cleaning sponges as they will scratch the surface. If you have a lemon around after dinner, dip the cut side in a little salt, rub it on the pot and rinse. It will clean it up slightly and if you do it every time, you may not have to polish as often.

Copper Pots and Pans

Carla Snyder
Posted by: Carla Snyder
Carla has spent the past 30 years in the food world as a caterer, artisan baker, cooking school teacher, food writer and author of 6 cook books including the James Beard nominated Big Book of Appetizers. Her passion is sharing fresh, cooked-from-scratch weeknight meals that cut prep time and practically eliminate that nightly sink full of dishes. Look for Carla on Facebook, Twitter (carlacooks), Pinterest and at where she blogs about everything from cooking for two to easy weekend entertaining for a crowd.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *