How To Magically Clean The Bottom of ANY Pan

A dirty pan bottom
Source: Canva

It’s easy to forget to clean the exterior bottom of your pan, but with continued use, you’ll notice that the pan’s appearance is ruined by burnt-on grease, rust, and scorch marks. Here’s how you can clean the bottom of a pan.

The 4 steps process of cleaning the bottom of a pan

Cleaning the stained bottom of a pan is hardly a quick and easy task, especially if burnt, dried-on food scraps are stuck to the surface. Here are some basic guidelines on the cleaning process:

1. Degreasing

The first step of the cleaning process involves removing excess grease from the bottom of the pan. Degreasing requires the use of dishwashing liquid or white vinegar. If the pan is extremely greasy, you might need to use a cream degreaser which you can purchase online or in your local shop.

2. Removing stuck-on debris

After removing the grease layer, the next step is to strip off any leftovers of burnt-on food and grime. One of the best options for removing this stain layer is to apply a thick paste made of baking soda and water directly to the affected area. Remember that the baking soda paste should be fairly thick but still easily spreadable.

3. Scrubbing and rinsing

Use a brush or scrubbing pad to remove any lingering food scraps from the bottom of your pan and buff the cleaning agent of your choice into the surface of your cookware until all the stains have been lifted. Do this carefully to prevent any possible scratching during the cleaning process. Once you’re done, rinse the pan with warm water.

4. Drying the pan

Finish by drying the pan thoroughly and storing it appropriately until the next time you use it.

Cleaning the bottom of ceramic non-stick pans in 6 easy steps

ceramic non-stick pan
Source: Canva

Many ceramic non-stick pans don’t have a stainless steel plate welded on the bottom. The exterior of these ceramic pans is also coated, and any abrasive material to scrub or rub during cleaning can damage the coating. These non-stick pans often have light pastel colors, and any blackened flame marks are pretty visible. 

One of the best ways to clean the bottom of non-stick ceramic pans is by using baking soda and dishwashing liquid. Here are some guidelines to follow when using these ingredients:

  1. Start by sprinkling baking soda generously over the stained pan. Baking soda is one of the most effective 
  2. Squirt a bit of dishwashing liquid on it. 
  3. Gently work in the baking soda and dishwashing liquid with either a long-handled nylon bristle brush or your fingers.
  4. Don’t apply too much pressure when scrubbing, or you’ll damage the coating. Do this for about ten minutes or until the stain disappears.
  5. If you’re working on old, tough stains, consider spraying some vinegar on the bottom of the pan in addition to the baking soda and dishwashing liquid.
  6. Allow the pan to sit for a further 30 minutes, then rinse it under warm tap water.

Cleaning the bottom of non-stick pans in 5 easy steps

non-stick pan
Source: Canva

Non-stick pans with aluminum and stainless steel plates welded to the bottom of the pan can be cleaned using any method suitable for cleaning aluminum or stainless steel pans. One of the methods you can try involves baking soda, lemon, and vinegar. Keep the following guidelines in mind:

  1. Sprinkle baking soda on the encapsulated disc of your non-stick pan
  2. Pour a tablespoon of vinegar on this surface, and then squirt half a lemon on it. 
  3. Spread this mixture evenly all over the pan surface using the lemon peel. Let it sit for about 10-15 minutes.
  4. Use a sponge or scrubber to clean the gunk off the bottom of the pan.
  5. Rinse with warm water and dry the pan

7 Ways to clean the bottom of stainless steel pans

stainless steel pan
Source: Canva

1. White vinegar to get rid of mineral build-up and degrease the pan

Distilled white vinegar can remove grease from the bottom of a stainless steel pan. It also helps to remove water spots and helps to retain the shine of the pan. For this method, you’ll need to mix vinegar and water in the 1:Coca-cola2 ratio, then boil it and carefully apply it with a cloth. Alternatively, immerse your stainless steel pan in the vinegar solution. 

After half an hour, remove the pan from the solution and use a sponge to scrub the exterior before rinsing the pan with warm water. Use this method frequently to prevent mineral and grease build-up.

2. Bar Keeper’s Friend

This commercial cleaning agent does a phenomenal job when it comes to cleaning grease, grime, and scorch marks that are often found on the bottom of pans. It works by breaking the molecules in grease to make scrubbing off grime easier. To use it, you’ll first need to make a mixture of 3 parts Bar Keeper’s Friend powder and 1 part water. Apply the resulting paste generously on the pan’s bottom, and then let it sit for 10-15 minutes. Use a non-abrasive sponge to rub the pan bottom in circular motions before rinsing it with warm water.

3. Cream of tartar

Don’t let the name mislead you; cream of tartar is not at all creamy. It’s a dry, powdery byproduct of fermenting grapes into wine. While it’s typically used in baking, this ingredient can also be used to restore the shine of a stainless steel pan. 

Here’s how to use cream of tartar to cleanse the grease and burnt marks from your pan: make a paste by mixing three parts cream of tartar and one part water. Apply it evenly over the wet stained, or burnt surface of the pan and allow it to sit for at least 10 minutes. Grab a damp, non-abrasive sponge and start scrubbing. Make sure to rub the paste in the direction of the stainless steel grain to pick grease marks and restore shine to the pan’s bottom.

4. Coca Cola

Coca-Cola is commonly used for removing grease stains from cookware, which means you can rely on it to clean the bottom of your pan efficiently. Try pouring cola over the stained surface and let it sit for about an hour before scrubbing off the burnt leftovers.

When dealing with stubborn stains, fill a bigger pot with cola and immerse your pan inside. Let it sit in the soft drink for a few hours until the debris starts to loosen. Alternatively, you can bring the cola to boil for half an hour before attempting to scrub the scorch marks away. 

5. Salt, baking soda, and toothpaste

Mixing salt, baking soda, and toothpaste makes an effective homemade abrasive. It contains just enough gritty materials to work on grease and burnt-on food without damaging the surface of the steel. 

To create your paste, start by pouring water into the baking soda to make a thick but spreadable paste, and then add a dollop of toothpaste and a pinch of salt. Stir these ingredients to mix, and then apply directly over the bottom of the pan. Use a sponge to scrub the cookware, and then rinse with warm water. Repeat the process until the stains fade.

6. Other combinations using baking soda

In addition to mixing it with salt and toothpaste, there are a variety of other baking soda combinations you can use to clean the bottom of a stainless steel pan:

  1. Baking soda and water
  2. Baking soda and vinegar
  3. Baking soda, vinegar, and lemon
  4. Baking soda, vinegar, and dishwashing detergent

The combination you go for will depend on the condition of your stainless steel pan’s bottom. The cleaning method is more or less the same: apply the paste, let it sit for a few minutes, and then rub it in with a sponge. Rinse the pan with warm water, and then let it dry completely to avoid spots. You may need to use some elbow grease, especially if the pan’s bottom is burnt and blackened. 

7. Borax 

Borax is typically used in the laundry, but you can also clean your stained pan bottom. For this cleaning method, make a solution of half a cup of borax and warm water. Dip the stainless steel pan into the solution for a couple of minutes. Finish off by scrubbing the stained area and rinsing with warm water. 

7 ways to clean the bottom of cast iron pans

cast iron pan
Source: Canva

A cast-iron pan requires special treatment, which involves regular cleaning and maintenance. The primary issue when dealing with this type of cookware is rust development. You can’t leave a cast iron pan to soak overnight or keep it in the dishwasher, and even moisture in the air can cause rust to develop. That’s why you should always keep your cast iron skillet completely dry to prevent this.

1. Salt for burnt-on bits

If there are burnt-on bits at the bottom of your cast iron skillet, try sprinkling salt on the affected area generously and use a scouring pad to scrub it all out before washing it with dishwashing liquid.

2. Bar Keeper’s Friend to get rid of dust

If there’s rust developing on your cast iron pan, use a cleaning product like Bar Keeper’s Friend to remove the rust from the pan. Prepare a mixture of the cleaning agent with water and carefully apply it to the pan before using a stainless steel scouring pad to remove all the grease and rust. Finish by rinsing the skillet and re-seasoning it.

3. Coca-cola

You can also try using cola to remove scorch marks or rust from your cast iron pan. You can either pour cola directly on the bottom of the pan or dip the cookware in a container that has cola in it for about 10-15 minutes. Scrub the remaining debris with a scouring pad before rinsing and drying the pan completely.

4. Vinegar solution

If the pan has a thick layer of burnt-on grease on the bottom, consider submerging it in a solution made from vinegar and water. If there’s rust on the pan, you might hear a faint fizzing sound indicating that the rust reacts with vinegar. Don’t leave your pan dipped in the solution for too long (no more than 10 minutes), as it can damage the iron skillet. Once you remove it from the solution, scrub the remaining grease and grease off the bottom with your stainless steel scrubber. Remember to re-season the pan afterward. 

5. A mixture of lemon and tartar

To remove grease and soot from the bottom of your cast iron pan, use a mixture of lemon and cream of tartar in the ratio of 1:1. Apply it with steel wool or a soft sponge, then scrub the stained area in circular motions. 

6. Baking soda with washing liquid

To deep clean an iron skillet that has no rust, mix baking soda and dishwashing liquid with water before applying it to the iron skillet bottom and scrubbing it with a scouring pad. It’s worth noting that an enameled cast iron pan should never be scrubbed with an abrasive stainless steel scrubber as this might damage it. Finish by drying and oiling the cast iron pan.

7. Oven cleaners

Oven cleaners are known to be harsh and sometimes even toxic. You should only resort to them if you’re dealing with years of burnt grease or rust that can’t be removed using the methods listed above. Always use oven cleaners in a well-ventilated space and wear rubber gloves, protective eyewear, and a face mask to protect your hands, eyes, and airways, respectively. 

Cleaning the bottom of copper pans

copper pan
Source: Canva

Copper is a highly reactive material. Here are some considerations to keep in mind when cleaning the bottom of a copper pan. 

1. Does the exterior have lacquered coating?

If the exterior of your copper cookware is coated with lacquer, you can clean it with dishwashing liquid to remove stains. Remember to do this regularly to retain their gloss and shine. 

2. Acidic solutions to clean the tarnish from copper pans

Acidic solutions can effectively clean the tarnish off the bottom of copper pans – boil the stained pan in distilled white vinegar or lemon, or mix white vinegar with cream of tartar to make a paste; apply it on the pan before cleaning it.

3. Ketchup and tomato paste

Tomato paste and ketchup are also acidic, which means that they can also be used to clean a copper pan. For this method, apply ketchup or tomato paste with salt to the bottom of the pan. Leave it to sit for half an hour, and then scrub the pan with a scouring pad before washing it with dishwashing liquid.

Final thoughts

Grease, scorch marks, stuck-on food, rush, and blackened burn marks tarnish the beauty of pans. It’s easy to overlook cleaning the exterior bottom of a pan because you only need the interior to cook. However, taking the time to clean the bottom of your pans after every use will save you from having to scrub the layers of stain marks off later on.

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Zoltan Szatmari

Zoltan is a test and industrial engineer from Europe who loves learning anything new and working on small projects. When he is not working, he is usually hiking or going to the cinema.

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