How to Clean Burnt Non-Stick Pan

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Non-stick pans are a blessing in the kitchen because they make cooking using less oil and butter a breeze. While the non-stick coating typically makes cleaning the pan after use easy to do, there can still be times when you can’t get rid of burnt pieces of food.

You might be wondering, how do I clean a burnt non-stick pan? In this article, we’re going to show you different ways to clean a burnt non-stick pan without damaging the non-stick coating.

Most non-stick pans are coated in polytetrafluoroethylene or Teflon. Teflon coating keeps food from sticking to your pan, which makes cleanup easy. If not used correctly, your Teflon pan can end up with nasty, burnt food stuck to it. If you want a non-stick pan without Teflon, check out our article about the best non-stick pan without Teflon.

There are a few reasons why non-stick pans might have food sticks and burn to their surfaces. The main reason is that you’re cooking your food at too high of a temperature. Another reason is that you have scratches on the bottom of your pan that allow food to get stuck in the scratches.

How to Clean Burnt Non Stick Pan

Knowing how to care for and clean your non-stick pan properly is crucial if you want it to last for years. Below we go over some of the best cleaning recipes for how to clean burnt non-stick pans.

How to Clean Food Residue from Your Non-Stick Pan

To stop food from sticking to the bottom of your non-stick pan, take these steps to remove any build-up of leftover cooking oil and food. The method below uses hot water and vinegar to clean your non-stick pan to eliminate all food residue that might be leftover.

What You’ll Need:

  • ½ cup of white vinegar
  • Dish soap
  • Water
  • Nylon Scrubber

How to Do it:

  1. Fill your pan with warm water, put it on your stovetop, and turn the burner on to high heat.
  2. Add your white vinegar and allow the liquid to come to a steady boil. After a few minutes, you should notice dirty residue starts to float to the surface of the boiling water.
  3. Remove your pan from heat and dump the liquid out of the pan.
  4. Using a little bit of dish soap and a nylon scrubber, clean the pan. Rinse using cold water.

Cleaning Your Non-Stick Pan with Water and Soap

This is the simplest method for cleaning your non-stick pan: using water and soap. While this trick for cleaning a burnt non-stick pan can be time-consuming, it requires little scrubbing and effort to remove the burnt mess.

What You’ll Need:

  • Degreasing dishwashing liquid (i.e., Dawn dish soap)
  • Nylon scrubber
  • Hot water
  • Paper towel

How to Do It:

  1. Put your non-stick pan in your sink and fill it with hot water and a couple of drops of dish soap.
  2. Let the pan sit for about an hour to let the hot soapy water loosen the burnt food grime from the pan.
  3. Dump out the dirty water after an hour and use your nylon scrubber to wipe the softened burnt food.
  4. Thoroughly rinse the non-stick pan with cold water and dry it using a paper towel.
  5. If stains remain after scrubbing, try the following recipe using baking soda.

How to Clean Burnt Non-Stick Pan with Baking Soda

This cleaning technique works great on non-stick pans, but you should avoid using it on aluminum pans because it will leave a mark.

Baking soda is a great cleaning agent, especially when cleaning stubborn stains on the bottom and sides of appliances. Apply a paste made from water and baking soda to a stain, let it sit, and wipe it clean. Viola! No stains!

What You’ll Need:

  • Water
  • Baking soda
  • Nylon Scrubber

How to Do It:

  1. Place your burnt non-stick pan in the sink.
  2. Sprinkle baking soda on the burnt surface of your non-stick pan.
  3. Pour a couple of tablespoons of water onto the baking soda-covered pan surface and let the pan soak overnight. The baking soda should soften overnight and absorb the gunk and grime on your pan.
  4. Using a nylon scrubber, gently scrub the pan clean.
  5. Rinse the pan with cold water.

Cleaning Pans with a Vinegar Soak

While being an acidic liquid that’s excellent at removing grime build-up, white vinegar is also gentle enough to clean burnt-on food from non-stick pans.

What You’ll Need:

How to Do It:

  1. Soak your washcloth in white vinegar and place the washcloth over the burnt areas of the pan.
  2. Let the wet cloth sit on the pan for an hour to let the vinegar work on breaking up the burnt-on food.
  3. Use the wet cloth to wipe away the dissolved burnt bits of food.
  4. Wash away the residue using the washcloth, water, and soap.

How to Remove Stubborn Burnt Residue

This method also uses baking soda, an alkaline powder that’s great for scouring and cleaning a multitude of objects in your home.

You won’t be scouring your non-stick pan with baking soda, but it does remove the stubborn burnt food by absorbing most of the residue. This is an excellent cleaning method for steel pans and those made from cast iron.

What You’ll Need:

  • Soft sponge
  • Small bowl
  • Hot water
  • Baking soda

How to Do It:

  1. Mix equal parts baking soda and water together in a small bowl to make a sticky paste.
  2. Using a soft sponge, spread the paste on the burnt areas of your non-stick pan.
  3. Allow the baking soda paste to sit on your pan for about 15 minutes – during this time, don’t scrub it.
  4. Rinse the pan with cold water to remove the paste and burnt food residue.

How to Clean Burnt Non-Stick Pan with Olive Oil and Salt

This recipe should work if none of these other recipes have worked to clean your burnt non-stick pan because the burnt mess is too tough. There’s no soaking involved, so it takes very little time to do this recipe.

What You’ll Need:

  • Three tablespoons of sea salt
  • Two tablespoons of olive oil

How to Do It:

  1. Put your pan on your stove and put the burner on medium heat.
  2. Pour your olive oil and sea salt into the bottom of the pan.
  3. Give the pan a nice shake to distribute the salt and oil evenly across the bottom of the pan.
  4. Turn off the burner and let the pan cool.
  5. Wash the pan as you would normally do to clean away the salt and dirty oil.

How to Prevent Food from Sticking to Your Non-Stick Pan

You shouldn’t do things if you want to prevent food from sticking to the bottom of your non-stick pan. These things include:

  • Putting your non-stick pan in the dishwasher
  • Scrubbing it with steel wool or some other abrasive sponge
  • Using metal utensils
dirty non stick frying pan with grease splatter and food residue
Source: Shutterstock

How to Maintain a Non-Stick Pan

There’s something you can do to keep your non-stick pan new and clear of burnt-on messes.

What You’ll Need:

  • Cooking oil or spray

How to Do It:

  1. Rub half a teaspoon of oil or cooking spray along the sides and bottom of your non-stick pan before and after every use. It’s that simple!

You don’t have to season your non-stick pan as you would a cast-iron skillet, but by following the one step above, you can prevent foods from sticking and burning onto your non-stick pan.

Final Thoughts

Don’t throw away your burnt non-stick pans! While it might seem like it’s an impossible task to clean a burnt non-stick pan, it can be done with the right knowledge and some elbow grease.

With our tips on cleaning burnt non-stick pans, you won’t even need to purchase cleaning supplies! Cleaning a burnt non-stick pan can be easy when you know how to do it properly. Hopefully, this article has shown you how to do just that.

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