How to clean and save a burnt pot, pan or skillet

Did you leave a pan, pot or skillet on the stove to the point it's badly burnt? Does it look like it's ready for retirement? Don't worry! We've all been there, and the good news is it's an easy fix. So don't go shopping for replacement cookware just yet; follow our easy step-by-step guide to learn the best way to clean a cast iron skillet, a burnt stainless steel pot, or a ceramic pan. Soon it'll be as bright and shiny as the day it first graced your kitchen!

How to clean and save a burnt pot, pan or skillet with water and white vinegar

You'll need: water, white distilled vinegar, regular dish soap, non-scratch scrub sponge.

STEP 1. Put an equal parts (50/50) solution of water and vinegar in your pan or pot. Make sure there is enough solution to cover about 1/3 of your distressed (not for long) cookware.

STEP 2. Put your burnt pot, pan or skillet on the stove on medium or medium high to make your water-vinegar solution boil. After a few minutes, you'll begin to see the burnt residue detaching from your pot by itself. Let this process last until most burnt parts have detached.

STEP 3. Empty the solution content from your pan and use a wet sponge with hot water to scrub the bottom of your pan. You should be able to easily remove most residue by now. If you can still see a lot of gunk in your pan, safely redo step 1 to 3.

STEP 4. Use regular dish soap, hot water, and a sponge to scrub away any remaining residue that needs a little more attention.

Tip: if this didn't help, you probably didn't allow the water-vinegar solution to boil long enough. Repeat the process, but dedicate a little more time to step 2. Just make sure to not let the solution evaporate completely.