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How to clean Corning Ware?

I've been on a Corning Ware kick as of late. When visiting my local thrift stores, I've picked up a few of the old pyroceram pieces that are microwave/ range/ freezer/ stove safe.

Unfortunately, since they're so old, I'm having a hard time cleaning the baked on food or stains that their previous owners have left and were also unable to clean.

I've tried scrubbing with baking soda, and using a ceramic top cleaner. For the most part, I've been able to get rid of the metal marks, brown baked on stains, and other spots. Almost all of the pieces are back to their shiny state.

But there are some stains that are so stubborn I'm not sure how to clean. Do any of you have any tips that I could try to clean it?

I'm attaching a picture of the lasagna pan I picked up for $10! (So excited!) and its underside. The underside has a very stubborn black line along the crack that I can't get out. It looks like it's baked on sugar that's been baked and baked again.

Thanks so much

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  1. Have you tried using those oven cleaners like Easy-Off? If you have one, then give it a try. Good luck.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

      Oops. Didn't read before posting. Ah well, great minds think alike...

      1. re: Nyleve

        I have the ability to read your mind before you even know it.

    2. Try oven cleaner. I find, when all else fails, it does the trick.

      1. Thanks Chemicalkinetics and Nyleve. I did indeed try the ceramic top cleaner. Maybe I should give the oven cleaner (like Easyoff that you spray inside an oven) a shot?

        Since my post, I've tried soaking it in very hot water, using baking soda and vinegar together - all didn't work. Not sure what else to try.

        1 Reply
        1. re: daeira

          Vinegar is unlikely to help in this specific case. Baking soda can help for mild cases, but you have already remove the easy part. Whatever you have left is tough.

          Oven cleaners are very aggressive, so hopefully it will help. Yes, Easy-off is good if you already have one. It is meant for removing burned-on greases and goods inside the oven, which is very similar to what you have now.

          Also try to use a plastic scarper if you have one. Metal scarpers are too aggressive and will scratch and possibility chip the corning ware.

        2. My husband, who is a cleanliness fanatic, uses Soft Scrub with bleach to remove stains from our French White Corning Ware.

          1. A scraper! Why did I not think of that. I've just tried the scraper on a small section of the black line and it comes off! I'll be scraping for a bit, but at least it'll hopefully come off.

            I'll report once more when I start getting going on the black line.

            Thank you so much

            1 Reply
            1. re: daeira

              An old credit card works too if you cannot find a good plastic scarper. I would still try the oven cleaner to loosen up the burned mark. Then, you can use the plastic scarper. Good luck.

            2. I thought I'd provide an update on Corning Ware Wash 2013. The scraper worked wonderfully. I haven't managed to get some small specks of burnt sugar/food off, but have for the most part cleaned it fairly well.

              It was a lot of work. First using 0000 fine grade steel wool to lightly get rid of the burn marks on the bottom, using baking soda paste to scrub other marks, using ceramic top cleaner to remove the metal scrape marks and other brown spots, and finally the scraper to get rid of the burned food line.

              Here's the before and after.

              Thank you to all who provided advice.

              2 Replies
              1. re: daeira

                Wow. Nice. I guess you did opt for a metal scraper, which is very effective. I was just worry that some people may try too hard to break something. I am glad that all worked out for you. Thanks for the update.

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  Chemicalkinetics - The extra fine steel wool didn't scratch the Corning Ware at all. My dad said he used it to sand wood furniture. I was very gentle with it nonetheless, and wouldn't hesitate to use it again. Mind you, I only used it to remove the really large patches of visible baked on food/burns that I knew were layered on the outside of the Corning.

                  I was pretty aggressive with the plastic scraper to remove the food line. I would say it's almost 100% restored. There are some stains that I can't get rid of, but overall am really happy with the results.

                  Thanks again.

              2. I use Earthstone kitchen stone it is a solid block somthing like pumice. I bought it at Canadain Tire and it works great.

                2 Replies
                1. re: catface1

                  Thanks catface. Does the pumice just remove crusted on/baked on food? Or, does it also remove stains?

                  1. re: daeira

                    it removed everthing and you used very little of the stone, I bought a pack of 2 and never used much of one.

                2. My grandma swear by Brillo---she's had the same Corning Ware for over 30 years and uses Brillo on it regularly. Except for some stubborn light stains on the very bottom, it is still in great shape.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: iluvcookies

                    iluvcookies - thanks for this. I wonder if Brillo is like the very fine mesh steel wool I used to get rid of the initial crusted on food. I think it is, except the Brillo has soap with it.

                    1. re: daeira

                      Brillo is steel wool with soap in it--pink soap, specifically.
                      SOS is another brand, but that has blue soap.

                      What's the difference? No idea. Probably none at all. Grandma prefers the pink soap.

                  2. I've had good luck with Bon Ami on Corning Ware. Denture cleaner fizzy tablets work well to for many stains.

                    1. I know I'm a little late to the party, but I am an avid user of "Barkeeper's Friend" for cleaning my Corningware. When pieces have that ridge on the underside, I usually go over it with barkeeper's and a o-celo sponge which will loosen it a little, then I just run a toothpick around the edge to scrape off the remaining black goo.

                      9 Replies
                      1. re: CulinaryAlchemy

                        Hi Culinary Alchemy (of the Corningware411 blog fame?),

                        Since my initial post, I've refined my corning ware cleaning method to involve the ceramic top cleaner, the o-celo sponges, baking soda, dishwashing liquid, and my new best friend, a bamboo skewer for those tough to clean baked on food crevice/ridge lines. I've found the wet bamboo skewer to be the most effective, more than the scraper (even on the little dots).

                        I've never tried barkeeper's friend, but think I might give it a whirl. Does the Barkeeper's Friend turn the baked on black grease gooey and soften it?

                        I recently rescued an old corning ware (with the words "PYROCERAM" on the bottom) with handle at a local rummage sale for $3! It took an impressive amount of time to clean, including simmering it shortly in a very dilute bleach solution to restore it back to its pristine white condition.

                        My latest find was a pyroceram lid for a P-10-B(?) corning ware casserole. I was so excited.

                        1. re: daeira

                          Congratulations on an excellent find...on both counts! The pieces marked "Pyroceram" on the bottom are the oldest. They even pre-date Corning's use of model numbers and are the ones that utilized the "fin" handled lids.

                          That Pyroceram lid you found (P-10-C, in Pyroceram) will fit a 10 inch skillet, but not the P-10-B. You will have to find one of the older skillets that have either '10 IN" Pyroceram' in blue ink printed on the bottom, or simply "Pyroceram" embossed on the bottom (the 9 inch skillet actually has a 9" embossed on the bottom). The p-10-B is actually 10 inches, while the older skillet, before model numbers, is only 9 7/8 inch in diameter, even though they are marked as being 10 inches.

                          i have one, but its not the oldest, being the embossed, mine has the blue print on the bottom. (see picture)

                          1. re: CulinaryAlchemy

                            Thanks for the tips CulinaryAlchemy.

                            I reside in Canada and wonder if the Corning Ware classification system is the same as the US. I ask because I recently purchased a casserole to fit the pyroceram lid. The casserole came with its own pyrex lid. On the bottom, it's marked as "10 inch", but also marked "P 10". For the most part, the lid fits, though there is a very small gap near the corner (see picture).

                            I might be on the prowl again for another bottom if this isn't the right one.

                            I'm still looking for a brownie 9x9 (or 8x8?) pan and a loaf pan. I've yet to ever see one in person. I recently stumbled across a baking sheet, a few pie plates, and a F(orP)270-B large double handled grab-it with lid. Where I live, there is an abundance of French White oval casseroles, so I managed to complete my set, including the large double handled turkey roaster (F14B).

                            1. re: daeira

                              Yep, my pyroceram lid did that too. I did some research on bluecornflower.com. The way I am understanding it, the pyroceramic lids were only available for the first 3 years (1959-1962) of production. Then, when they started using "P" model numbers, the clear fin handle lids and the pyroceram lid were discontinued in favor of Pyrex lids. I am not sure when they started producing Corningware in the Canadian plant. I do know that some of the "Quart" measurements used in the U.S. were converted into "Cups" instead, but this may only be true for the larger pieces, and they usually had numbers that didn't necessarily correspond to the size (like the P-34-B 4 quart dutch oven being 16 cups)

                              I love the baking sheets/broiler tray for cookies, they always come out so nice, as long as I remember to give then a very light coating of oil. Parchment doesn't seem to work as well on them as it does on conventional metal sheets.

                              Your F/P-270-B is an excellent find. Love that 'Grab-It" model piece for Crisps, Crumbles and Cobblers.

                              Funny your should mention the French White F-14-B (4 quart).... I just picked one up myself at the Salvation Army thrift store. That is the piece that started me on Corningware hunting and eventually the Corningware 411 blog. I bought it at Walmart to bake a huge casserole for work and was really annoyed when I got home and found out it was stoneware. That made me question whether or not they made a large 4 quart French White piece... Now, here it is 6 years later, and I finally found one.

                              There are square French White pieces out there. I did find an actual 13x9 lasagne pan and a loaf pan. They look just like the stoneware ones they still make so the pyroceram pieces tend to be harder to find than the stoneware ones (I don't think they were made for very long before the switch was made by World Kitchen)

                            2. re: CulinaryAlchemy

                              I just glanced at the bottom of my Corning Ware. My Spice 'o Life patterns have the measurements in cups, whereas some of my Cornflower casseroles are in oz. All of the ones I've looked at were manufactured in Canada. Some are stamped in black, others have a very faint marking that's barely visible.

                              My Dutch Oven (P-34-B) has no measurement on it at all, except for the "Made in Canada" designation. My 4 cup measuring cup is in cups and oz.

                              I'm a newbie to Corning Ware collecting. I had a few Spice o' Life pieces that my mother had passed to me when I first moved into my own place. I used those through and through for custards and baking chicken, and one day decided to expand my collection. I've been avidly looking since the beginning of this year and am surprised at how quickly my collection has grown to include harder to find pieces.

                              Strangely, I now always seem to encounter the F-14-Bs in thrift shops, usually with lid. Since some of the thrift stores I frequent are chains, I wonder if they simply send off their inventory to other stores to sell off.

                              My one big regret is that my sister sold off a few boxes of brand new never opened Snack Sandwich Plates from the grab-it collection (P-185-B) in a garage sale for $2 a box! I hadn't realized she had done it as they were part of what mom had purchased.

                              One of my biggest problems now is storage space. Since I reside in a tiny apartment, I have very little storage space and am finding that my ever-growing collection of Corning Ware is being stacked and restacked in strange ways. Any tips on how best to maximize storage capacity? My French White ovals and round casseroles are nested in each other. But my square casseroles have inverted lids and are simply stacked one on top of another. It's not the most efficient use of space.

                              1. re: daeira

                                I love those little sandwich/snack plates (P-185-B). I see them occasionally at the Good Will here. They are really handy for sandwiches (along with a grab it bowl full of soup)

                                The pieces (spice o' life) with the faint markings on the bottom are probably "A" series from post-1971/72 when they changed the handle width (they are wider than the P series). They also take the lids with the large knob on top.

                                I am in the same boat as you when it comes to finding space for everything. French White was my original pattern simply because I was buying it new in the early 90's and Cornflower had already been discontinued by then. Then I received ALL my mom's original Cornflower, and got some pieces from my grandmother as well. On top of that, I discovered the Wheat pattern in the original square shape... I started collecting that as well (They are usually W numbers instead of P, A or F and were discontinued in 1972)

                                At this point I think I have enough to open a museum. I finally had to just put some of it in storage... Which was rough, but I had to choose the pieces I used the most and put the other stuff away. Though I will admit, that I broke up my dish set and use the grab it bowls instead of the ones that actually match... I also do the stacking thing, cause I have more vertical space and it leaves a smaller footprint. (I have only a couple actual upper cupboards and a lot of empty wall space, so I hung some shelves from the wall studs) I also found a small bookcase, that could sit against my stove (it's free standing) and have pieces on the bookshelf

                              2. re: CulinaryAlchemy

                                I too love those sandwich/snack plates, but I often don't see them in the thrift stores. I've started using them for everything. Grab-its seem to be more scarce in my neck of the woods. But I've found they're really handy for just about everything.

                                You're right about the A-series on the Spice o' Life casseroles. They do have the larger handles, and I think the more square-ish shape. I even still have the original blue Corning Ware box that they came in.

                                Unfortunately, space is such a premium in my apartment. I've already struggled with creating a pantry out of a rolling rack to free up a bit of space. Some of my Corning Ware has made it onto the free standing unit already. I'm not quite ready to open a museum like you, but my shelves and cupboards are bursting. At some point, I'm going to have to cull some of them and select my favourite pieces before storing or selling the remainder. I've slowed down considerably in my purchasing if only because I know that I'll inherit some other pieces when my father passes away. Luckily, my sibling has absolutely no interest in cooking or even Corning Ware. The funny thing is that my father encouraged me to take the Corning Ware and when I took a few pieces, he started buying replacements from the thrift shop. So I just took them back to his house.

                                I've had an aunt who was fairly disgusted that the food I cooked on was cooked on thrifted Corning Ware. I told her that given the amount of cleaning, scouring, and yet more cleaning, that the Corning Ware was probably cleaner than anything she ate off in her own home.

                                1. re: daeira

                                  My mom did the same thing.... She tossed all of her cornflower, from her wedding, at me back in 2007, and then proceeded to purchase a bunch of Shadow Iris in the thrift stores... I think because of her arthritis, she may have been moving to the "A" series because of the bigger handles and larger knobs on the lids. They might have been easier for her to grasp. Then again, maybe she just wanted to change her pattern after all these years (they were married in '66)

                                  I have a friend who freaks out over the thrifted Corningware... I have tried to explain that ALL of my Corningware, except certain pieces of French White I had already bought, is second hand whether it came from the thrift store, my mom, or my grandmother... But he doesn't care about the family stuff so much since, as he put it, "I know" what was cooked in it before... Which cracks me up, As if I have stood over my mom's and grandmother's shoulders every single day over all these years, so I can see what they were cooking and whether they are cleaning it properly... Though I do have a piece from my grandmother that has seen the inside of a dishwasher too many times, cause the cornflower is really faded.

                                  Dishwasher detergent is TERRIBLE on Corningware's enameled designs, it's highly "basic" (to kill germs and eat through food stains) but it also etches crystal, eats enamel and chews through aluminum baking sheets like crazy.

                                  I usually think of my purchases as "Corningware Rescue", they always look so sad, and need such a thorough scrubbing, but I provide a loving home for them where they won't have to suffer any more abuse. ;)

                                2. re: CulinaryAlchemy

                                  I saw some Shadow Iris the other day when I stopped by a Corning Ware/Revelle store. They were the pyroceram pieces, but the prices they were asking were astronomical. I see quite a bit of discarded Shadow Iris and plain white (not the French white) in the thrift stores. Nobody seems to want those patterns.

                                  Nowadays, I don't tell my aunt that what she's eating was cooked in Corning Ware. I just let her think I'm using my mom's Corning Ware. I'm not sure where the discomfort stems from since eating in a restaurant guarantees that the patron is eating off dishes that have been used by hundreds if not thousands of other patrons before. How is that better than cooking in a thoroughly cleaned Corning Ware that probably has been in one household, maybe two, before I too rescued it?

                                  On your blog, you should do a before and after of a terribly dirty, stained, beyond rescue Corning to demonstrate what it can become. I know you've done the percolator, and the French white demo, but I'm sure people might enjoy seeing what could be. The piece that I picked up at the rummage sale that had "Pyroceram" on the bottom took me over 2 hours to clean. It was a tedious process, particularly under the handles. That was just good old fashioned elbow grease, rubbing away at 40+ year old stains. My thumbs still hurt and that was 4 weeks ago.

                                  I suppose one of my remaining questions is, is it safe to use a pyrex Corning Ware lid in the oven when it has a noticeable chip on it? I've picked up a few thrifted pieces where the lid hasn't been in the best condition. So far, I've replaced using the glass lid with just aluminum in the oven, and used the lid in the fridge for storage. After reading about exploding pyrex, and how mini-fractures can start, I'm scared that the chip will cause the entire thing to shatter. It's a shame that not more lids were made in the pyroceram material.

                            3. I typically don't buy anything that needs to be cleaned as I could probably find cleaning projects galore right at home if I started looking hard enough ;) But if this were mine, I would probably keep it right side up ... out of sight, out of mind.

                              I find that Corningware doesn't always come clean in the dishwasher, but is very easy to clean by hand. Someone must have really worked to create these stains.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: foiegras

                                I've never ever washed my corning by dishwasher if only because I'm my own dishwasher. I've read somewhere that you should always wash it by hand because something in the dishwashing cycle ruins the polish or finish of the Corning.

                                Those stains in my original post must have been years old, baked on over and over again every time it was used in the oven. Now I'm extra careful when I wash my own corning after using them in the oven. I don't want to have to spend all that time again cleaning it.

                                I like the out of sight out of mind suggestion (for future pieces). Unfortunately, I'm of the personality type that continually gets bothered because I know it's there. I know, terrible.

                                1. re: daeira

                                  I use Seventh Generation dishwasher detergent, which I think is fairly gentle. Have noticed no damage ... I think Corningware is pretty tough. What I do is I give the dishwasher a shot at it, and if it doesn't do the job correctly, I finish it by hand. I have tons of vintage stuff that I wash by hand ... my Corningware I bought new myself though. CulinaryAlchemy mentioned Shadow Iris ... maybe that's the name of the pattern? I bought it in the early 90s I guess.

                                  1. re: daeira

                                    Foiegras - I do think Shadow Iris is the name of a pattern. I saw some of the Shadow Iris in the new Corning Ware stores the other day, and see it all the time in the thrift stores.

                                    Actually, the other day, I saw a few patterns that I didn't recognize at all and had never seen. Apparently, they were quite popular in Asia. These are still the pyroceram kinds but in patterns like Pretty Pink, Pink Daisy, Sakura, and Warm Pansies etc. It's pretty neat seeing all the different patterns.

                                2. I have had my corning ware in storage for about 16 years. I just moved into a new home and I am so excited to unpack and use my corning ware. ..and to see exactly what I have.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: ettebm

                                    How exciting! It will be just like Christmas!