Cleaning cookware should be simple, but from time to time, it can be very frustrating. Especially when you have burnt some food, have too much grease to get rid of, or a particular type of material that does not seem to ever get completely clean.
Sometimes, despite your unrelenting efforts you may have found some of your cookware getting scratches, losing their luster, starting to look bad on the outside, or simply ruined.
The type of material that your cookware is made of determines a number of things: how you should clean them, how frequently you should clean them and how thoroughly you should clean them.
Let’s look at how to clean the more common cookware materials. For every material, we will also look at some tips to make your cleaning easier or to help your cookware last longer.
Table of Contents
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How to clean Ceramic Cookware
Discoloration and sticky spots can make it so frustrating to use ceramic cookware. Fat residues, hot spots, and impurities are something you will frequently deal with when using ceramic cookware, if not daily.
Removing food debris
Use wood, silicone, plastic scraper and bamboo to remove the stocked food. If there are still food debris left, moisten the areas using warm water, wait for a while before you scrape again.
Washing the pan
Wash the ceramic using warm water, a mild dish detergent, and a sponge or nylon brush. If your pan does not have an unglazed portion at the bottom, soak it for a few minutes. Rinse and dry the pan.
To do this, make a baking soda and warm water paste (equal parts). Coat the discolored, sticky areas. Scrub the paste into the pan using a nylon brush. Rinse. Repeat as needed.
Ceramic cleaning don’ts
- Do not scrape food off the ceramic surface. This removes the nonstick layer.
- Avoid abrasive cleaning detergents, scrubbers or scourers.
- Always wash ceramic cookware by hand, not in your dishwasher. This way, your ceramics can last longer. It also keeps your warranty.
How to clean Stainless Steel
Stainless steel easily gets water spots. To prevent these, dry the pot or pan immediately after you wash it. If your stainless steel pot already has water spots, dampen its surface and rub it with a moist sponge sprinkled with baking soda. Rinse.
These could result from calcium build up in the water. To get rid of them, build a vinegar and water solution. The ratio should be 1:3 (vinegar: water). Bring it to a boil in the pan. Wait for it to cool. Wash and dry it normally.
Discolored pots and pans
This is caused by overheating. Wash your pan with vinegar. You can also use the pan to cook a high-acid food, for instance, tomato sauce.
Stuck food bits
These can be caused by adding cold food to a hot pan or pot. Scrub your aluminum pot with a non-abrasive sponge. Fill the pot with soapy water, covering the sticky foods. Bring to the boil. Then wash the pan or pot normally.
How to clean Cast Iron
Let’s begin by a process called seasoning, which is not necessarily a cleaning process, but is necessary for maintaining your cast iron. When your cast iron pan or pot is new, rub oil to the pan and heat it. This layer of oil becomes a coating which protects the pan from rusting. As you use your cast iron pot or pan, the coating gets more layers, increasingly protecting your cast iron from rusting, and making it “non-stick”.
Cleaning using soap and a sponge
While soap is said to remove the seasoning from cast iron, it is not possible, as the seasoning layer is quite tough, thanks to a process known as polymerization. The best way to clean your cast iron pan or pot is washing it with warm, soapy water after cooking and then wiping it with a kitchen sponge. The synthetic scrubber on the back of your sponge is enough to get rid of stubborn burnt bits. Rinse and dry well. A kitchen towel is best. You can also place the pan over heat to ensure it dries completely.
Prepare it for the next use
Add a little oil (preferably canola, corn, vegetable or unsaturated fat) to the pan. Rub the oil very lightly. It should not look like you have oiled it.
As you can see, the material that your cookware is made of matters. It determines the cleaning method that you can use, the detergents, cleaning materials and even whether you can use a washing machine or not. So make sure to properly clean your cookware and it will last a lot longer.
Happy Cleaning 🙂
Owner and Food blogger on The Cookware Geek. She loves cooking, baking, traveling, playing with the cats, and knitting. She believes that eating delicious meals doesn’t require a culinary degree or a Michelin-star chef in your kitchen.