Simple Steps for Cleaning Your Cookware

Posted by

Home Improvement

After enjoying a scrumptious meal with your loved ones, it’s time to tackle the dreaded task of cleaning up. No one likes to clean dirty pots and pans, but with these helpful tips, the process can be much easier and faster.

Unfortunately, we can’t provide a personal cleaner, but we can provide some useful guidelines to make your cookware cleanup less of a hassle.

Before discussing the cleaning methods for each particular surface, here are some useful suggestions for cleaning cookware in general.

The first step in caring for all cookware is to read the manufacturer’s care instructions. After using, wash all pots and pans thoroughly inside and out. If there is baked-on food, clean with soapsuds and dry over a warm burner. To prevent heat stains on the outside of pans, keep gas flames low. Allow cookware to cool before washing or soaking to avoid sudden temperature changes. Aluminum cookware is prone to discoloration, so avoid washing it in a dishwasher or letting it soak in soapy water for too long. Use cream of tartar or lemon juice to remove interior discoloration, and steel-wool soap pads for burned-on food. Cast-iron cookware should be seasoned before use and washed in hot sudsy water, never in a dishwasher. Clay and enamel cookware require extra-special care.

Here are some tips for taking care of your clay and enamel cookware:

For new clay cookware, soak it in water for about half an hour before using it for the first time. Be sure to soak both the top and the bottom, then scrub them well with a stiff brush to remove any clay dust. To prevent the porous surface from absorbing food stains and strong flavors, line the cooker with parchment paper. If your clay pot becomes stained or takes on pungent odors, fill the cooker with water, add 1 to 4 tablespoons baking soda, and let it stand. Never put hot clay cookware on a cold surface, as it might crack. Also, never wash clay cookware in the dishwasher or scrub it with a steel-wool soap pad. Carefully dry the cooker before storing it to prevent mold, and store clay cookware with its lid off. If mold spots appear on a clay cooker, brush the surface with a paste made of equal parts baking soda and water. Let stand 30 minutes, preferably in strong sunlight, then brush the paste away, rinse well in clear water, and dry. If necessary, soak a dirty pot to loosen cooked-on foods.

For enamel cookware, always let it cool before washing, as rapid changes in temperature can crack the enamel coating. Enamelware can be washed safely in the dishwasher. Use a synthetic scouring pad, never abrasive cleansers or steel wool, to scrub stubborn soil.

Copper cookware changes color without proper cleaning and polishing. To clean a discolored copper pot, use a paste of 1 tablespoon salt, 1 tablespoon white vinegar, and 1 tablespoon flour. Caution: wear rubber gloves. Because the vinegar is acid, wash the pot in hot soapy water and rinse it before vigorously buffing for shiny results. You’ll have the same success with a paste made of 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 1 tablespoon salt. Copper darkens with use and exposure to air. If you prefer shiny copper, you can clean and polish it easily with commercial copper cleaner. Copper cookware is lined with some other metal, usually tin or steel, to prevent harmful chemical reactions with food. Use only wood, nylon, or nonstick-coated spoons for stirring to prevent scratches. Some copper cookware comes with a protective lacquer coating that must be removed before the utensil is heated. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions or place in a solution of 1 cup baking soda and 2 gallons boiling water. Let it stand until the water is cool, peel off the coating, wash, rinse, and dry. Protect copper pans from scorching by making sure there is always liquid or fat in the pan before it is placed on the heat. When melting butter, swirl it around in the bottom of the pan and up the sides. Lower the heat as soon as the contents of the pot reach the boiling point.

Just because a cookware has a nonstick finish does not necessarily mean that it’s easy to clean. To ensure your nonstick cookware survives daily wear and tear, consider the following suggestions. Firstly, use wood, nylon, or specially coated spoons and spatulas to prevent surface damage. Secondly, most nonstick cookware can be safely washed in the dishwasher. However, wash new pans before using them, and lightly coat the inside with vegetable oil. After treating for stains, apply vegetable oil again after each washing in the dishwasher. Avoid soaking pans in soapy water, as the coating can retain a soap flavor. To remove stains from nonstick cookware, mix 2 tablespoons baking soda with 1 cup water and 1/2 cup liquid bleach. Boil the solution in the pan for several minutes until the stains disappear, then wash as usual.

When it comes to cleaning plastic and rubber cookware, avoid exposing them to high heat, as some plastics will melt and warp, and heat and sunlight can cause rubber products to crack. Check the manufacturer’s instructions to see if an item is dishwasher-safe. Do not use solvents, harsh abrasives, or scouring pads to remove stains from plastic or rubber. A paste made of baking soda and water is very effective for removing stubborn soils and stains from plastic and rubber utensils. Apply the paste to plastic with a sponge or soft cloth; a synthetic scouring pad can be used on rubber. Additionally, to remove odor from a plastic container, crumple a piece of newspaper into the container. Secure the lid tightly, and leave it overnight. The paper will absorb the odor.

Cleaning stainless steel cookware requires little special care, but it still needs some attention. Stainless steel is dishwasher-safe, but if you wash it by hand, dry it promptly to prevent water spots. Letting a pot boil over high heat for a long period of time will discolor stainless steel. Also, storing the cookware stacked with other pots and pans may cause surface scratches. To polish stainless steel, sprinkle baking soda on the wet surface of a pan, and scrub the metal with a synthetic scouring pad. Caution: Wear rubber gloves. After rinsing and drying, the pan will be bright as new.

From cutting boards to spoons, wood is an important part of your cookware arsenal. When cleaning wooden utensils, avoid leaving them in water for an extended period, as this will cause the wood to swell and potentially crack. Instead, wash them in warm, soapy water and dry them immediately. To disinfect wooden surfaces, use a solution of 1 tablespoon bleach to 1 quart of water. Rinse and dry the surface thoroughly after using the solution.

Tips for Cleaning Wooden Cookware

It’s important to take special care when cleaning wooden cookware such as bowls, trays, rolling pins, spoons, salad utensils, and cutting boards to prevent warping and cracking. Wood is porous and absorbs moisture, which can cause roughness when the water raises the grain. Here are some things to keep in mind when cleaning wood cookware:

  • Restore the smooth surface of cutting boards and protect them from moisture by periodically cleaning and oiling them.
  • Some salad bowls have a waterproof varnish, while others are untreated to absorb seasonings and enhance the flavor of salad.
  • After use, wipe wood immediately with a sponge or paper towel moistened with cold water.
  • If washing is necessary, avoid letting the wood soak in water and never put it in the dishwasher.
  • Stains can be removed with a solution of 1/4 cup chlorine bleach and 1 quart warm water. Rinse and dry, then coat with vegetable oil.
  • To eliminate odors, rub the surface with a slice of lemon.

    ©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
    Use lemon slices to remove odors from wooden surfaces.
  • Baking soda can clean and deodorize wood. Mix 1/2 cup baking soda with 1 quart warm water and rub it on the wood surface, but be sure to wear rubber gloves.
  • Use a synthetic scouring pad to clean a cutting board, especially the gummy residue on the edges. Rinse with clear water, blot with a towel, and air-dry.
  • Give woodenware a coat of boiled linseed oil or vegetable oil to bring back the natural finish. Rub it in with a synthetic scouring pad and apply two thin coats 24 hours apart, wiping off the excess 1/2 hour after each application.

For tips on cleaning glass and ceramic cookware, see the next section.

Tips for Cleaning Glass and Ceramic Cookware

Glass and ceramic cookware requires gentle care. Follow these guidelines to keep your cookware in good condition:

  • Most heat-resistant glass and ceramic-glass cookware is intended for oven use only, but some can be used on stovetops. Read the instructions before using.
  • All glass and ceramic-glass cookware is dishwasher-safe.
  • Glass cookware may shatter if allowed to boil dry. If this happens, turn off the heat and let the pot cool.
  • To remove mineral deposits from glass coffeepots and teapots, boil full-strength cider vinegar in the container for 15 minutes.

Following these tips and guidelines will make cleaning your cookware a breeze and keep it looking great for many meals to come.

©Publications International, Ltd.

FAQ

1. What is the best way to clean stainless steel cookware?

The best way to clean stainless steel cookware is to use warm water, mild dish soap, and a soft sponge or cloth. Avoid using abrasive cleaners or scouring pads as they can scratch the surface of the cookware. If there are any stubborn stains or burnt-on food, try soaking the cookware in warm water and dish soap for a few hours before scrubbing gently with a non-abrasive sponge or cloth.

2. How do I clean cast iron cookware?

To clean cast iron cookware, first rinse it with hot water and wipe it down with a soft sponge or cloth. If there are any stubborn food particles, use a small amount of salt as a scrubbing agent. Avoid using soap or harsh chemicals as they can damage the seasoning on the cast iron. After cleaning, be sure to dry the cookware thoroughly and apply a thin layer of oil to protect it from rust.

3. Can I put non-stick cookware in the dishwasher?

It is not recommended to put non-stick cookware in the dishwasher as the high heat and harsh detergents can damage the non-stick coating. Instead, clean non-stick cookware by hand using warm water, mild dish soap, and a soft sponge or cloth. Avoid using abrasive cleaners or scouring pads.

4. How do I clean burnt-on food from my cookware?

If there is burnt-on food on your cookware, try soaking it in warm water and dish soap for a few hours before scrubbing gently with a non-abrasive sponge or cloth. For more stubborn stains, try using a mixture of baking soda and water as a paste and let it sit on the stain for a few hours before scrubbing gently. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners.

5. How do I clean copper cookware?

To clean copper cookware, use a mixture of equal parts vinegar and salt and rub it onto the surface of the cookware with a soft sponge or cloth. Rinse with warm water and dry thoroughly. For more stubborn stains, try using a mixture of lemon juice and salt or a copper cleaner specifically designed for copper cookware.

6. Can I use steel wool to clean my cookware?

No, it is not recommended to use steel wool to clean cookware as it can scratch the surface and cause damage. Instead, use a non-abrasive sponge or cloth and mild dish soap to clean your cookware.

7. How do I clean my oven-safe cookware?

To clean oven-safe cookware, first remove any excess food or debris. Then, fill the cookware with warm water and dish soap and let it soak for a few hours. Scrub gently with a non-abrasive sponge or cloth and rinse thoroughly. If there are any stubborn stains, try using a mixture of baking soda and water as a paste and let it sit on the stain for a few hours before scrubbing gently.

8. How often should I clean my cookware?

You should clean your cookware after every use to prevent buildup of food and bacteria. For harder to clean stains or burnt-on food, you may need to clean your cookware more thoroughly.

9. Can I use bleach to clean my cookware?

No, it is not recommended to use bleach to clean cookware as it can damage the surface and cause discoloration. Instead, use mild dish soap and warm water to clean your cookware.

10. How do I clean my glass cookware?

To clean glass cookware, first remove any excess food or debris. Then, soak the cookware in warm water and dish soap for a few hours. Scrub gently with a non-abrasive sponge or cloth and rinse thoroughly. For more stubborn stains, try using a mixture of baking soda and water as a paste and let it sit on the stain for a few hours before scrubbing gently.

11. How do I clean my enamel cookware?

To clean enamel cookware, use warm water and mild dish soap. Avoid using abrasive cleaners or scouring pads as they can scratch the surface of the enamel. For more stubborn stains, try using a mixture of baking soda and water as a paste and let it sit on the stain for a few hours before scrubbing gently.

12. How do I clean my ceramic cookware?

To clean ceramic cookware, use warm water and a non-abrasive sponge or cloth. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners as they can damage the surface of the cookware. For more stubborn stains, try using a mixture of baking soda and water as a paste and let it sit on the stain for a few hours before scrubbing gently.

Leave a Reply

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