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I got to clean this pan!

I picked this pan up at a flea market. It's a very heavy good quality one. I need help in finding some product/tip that will actually remove the baked on food off. I have tried just about everything I can think of in the past to remove baked on foods. Including multiple applications of oven cleaner for instance. Nothing really works so far.
Any help is gratefully appreciated.

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  1. Try Bon Ami. I've used that on pans that I still couldn't clean after soaking them. Took a little elbow grease but it cleaned the pan! An oldie but still a goodie! In case you're not familiar with it, it comes in a shaker container like Comet cleanser does.

    4 Replies
      1. re: valerie

        Bar Keepers Friend works wonders. I've cleaned pans that look much worse almost effortlessly with BKF.

        1. re: valerie

          Barkeeper's Friend and Mr. Clean sponge.

      2. Looking at the pan and realizing this is the outside, you are NOT lookig at baked on food. You are looking at BURN from the stove, cooktop, outdoor fire, etc.

        BTW>>>a tip learned in Boy Scouts 50 years ago. If you are going to put a pan or pot on a grate over an open fire, coat the outside with liquid dishwashing soap to make cleaning easier and avoid the burn.

        I have dealt with this in the past, and nothing but a long seesion with steel wool and elbow grease will get the burn off.

        This looks like a 18 count box of Brillo job.

        Years ago, I experimented with a polishing disc on a Dremel tool, but it thinned out areas of the pot and made it unsuitable for even cooking. Steel Wool will not do this.

        The pan looks like sheet pans after my kids have used them repeatedly for cookie baking and not cleaned them after each use. The pan will clean...................

        1. A combination of baking soda and white vinegar are my go-tos for tough cleaning jobs.

          1. First thing I would try is....spray it with Easy Off oven cleaner...coat it well. If possible put it in a gallon zip lock or small trash bag. Let it set for a few hours. ~~ Do this outside!!

            1 Reply
            1. re: Uncle Bob

              I've tried that exact product and the bag idea. It didn't touch the 'burn'.

              1. re: Alan408

                I guess so but I'd rather not scratch it that much.
                There MUST be some chemical that will dissolve 'burn'.

                1. re: Puffin3

                  I saw a plastic wheel brush today at the hardware store, add some BKF and water

                  1. re: Alan408

                    Can be hard to find, but search out "Zud." It's a powder, like BKF, but I've found it to be a tad better at really gunky stuff.

              2. Looks positively clean compared to some of my camp fire pans.

                A really hot fire can etch the material into the metal. Try soaking and letting it dry to see if it will start to peel. Also, since this is the outside, try brush cleaner or paste paint remover. Test first to see if they react adversely with the metal.

                Would only use them as a last resort on the inside, and then clean like crazy. Think carcinogenic.

                1. I have purchased a few SS pans that looked like that. I used BKF and a lot of elbow grease. I also once bought a pan that looked like AND it had latex paint splotches on it. I had to use a Dremel to get the paint off.

                  1. If it's just marked up on the outside, don't worry about it. It doesn't affect it's cookworthiness, it's just a sign of much love and use. But if you REALLY want to get the stuff off, try baking soda and water. Make a paste and rub it on and let it sit awhile, then scrub off. Or you could try a cooktop cleaner - NOT oven cleaner. We have a glass cooktop cleaner that will remove almost anything with enough elbow grease, without leaving a mark.

                    1. When we find old cast iron pans/pots at garage sales that are really dirty, we throw them in the woodstove overnight and they come out bare metal ready to season. ( that might work if you heat with wood...)

                      1. If it's just on the outside and does not affect the performance of the pan, I wouldn't bother.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: ricepad

                          Me either. When watching shows filmed in actual restaurant kitchens, you won't see Martha Stewart-looking equipment. They barely scour out the interior of their cookware, much less the outside. Paying attention to the early French Chef shows, especially the black/white ones wherein Julia toted in her own pots and pans from home, you'll see lots of staining.
                          All of that is purely cosmetic. We see so many cooking demos that we subconsciously and erroneously equate brand new equipment with the quality of the food.

                          1. re: greygarious

                            My thought exactly. Unless it's to be a gift, why bother?

                        2. I would put it in a heavy trash bag with about a cup of ammonia. Tie up the neck of the bag securely. Slosh the ammonia around to wet as much of the interior and exterior surface as you can.

                          Put it outside for a couple days. If you go by it, slosh it again and rub the exterior surface with your hand through the bag. Wipe the inside too if it's also badly stained.

                          After a couple days, untie the neck of the bag. If it's loosened up some of the burned on crap but not all of it you can tie it up again. If it isn't doing the job move onto the elbow grease and fine gauge abrasive route.

                          1. If you really want to clean-it, clean-it, then I would use houseold ammonia cleaner, like this:


                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                              Yes, this is how I clean the racks from my oven, which get beyond disgusting from using the rotisserie. Put the pot in a tightly sealed bag with household ammonia and follow Rainey's instructions.

                            2. Hi, Puffin:

                              If you're into heroics, there's always a 50% muriatic acid soak.

                              Outside. Stand upwind. Gloves. Long sleeves. Eye Protection. Neutralize with NaOH, and rinse well.


                              1. Home Depot sells an industrial degreaser by Zep. Use the purple not the citrus. Let it sit a bit then scrub with a ChoreBoy, the metal scrubby.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                  Regarding a chemical method of removing the burn, I think concentrated base will remove the hydrocarbon residue better than acid, but I would try them in sequence (base bath, scrub with abrasive (steel wool and chemical resistant gloves), lengthy rinse, followed by acid bath, scrub with abrasive (steel wool and chemical resistant gloves) lengthy rinse, then repeat the process until it's clean).

                                  You can get pure NaOH locally at lowe's or home depot, but call ahead and ask if they have it in, as i've found not every store has it in stock all the time:


                                  Muriatic acid is easier to find, pretty much at every home depot in the pool supply section, usually outside with garden items. Both are relatively cheap ($10 each), but it depends how much you love that pan. You might be able to get a new one for less on ebay.

                                  However, if multiple applications of oven cleaner spray left on it overnight did not do the trick (and I would leave it on overnight in my backyard), then the above base and acid baths would also likely fail, since oven cleaner is concentrated NaOH.

                                  By the looks of the burned on grease, I would guess that the stains are really thin (almost imperceptible when you run your fingers across the bottom). It's as though the grease layer has polymerized with the metal directly. In my limited experience with such stains, I have not been able to remove them chemically, even with the caustic agents I mentioned above.

                                  I like the idea of buffing it out with a spinning power tool (e.g. drill, dremmel tool, angle grinder, buffer, bench grinder) outfitted with a muslin wheel and some mildly abrasive polishing/buffing compound. I prefer to let the motor do the work, as long as you have access to mild enough abrasives so as not to scratch it up too badly.

                                  My bench grinder has a wire wheel on one side, and a muslin buffing wheel on the other. I would gently use the former the get the black residue off, and I would buff the scratches out to a bright shine with some polishing compound with the latter.

                                  1. re: alarash

                                    I got a "C" in Chemstry in highschool. All I know is that my former boss, who should've worked for NASA-he was brilliant, used to use the purple Zep and it's fantastic. Be careful though, it takes paint off metal at full strength. I ruined my range hood with it.

                                2. I second the suggestions for barkeeper's friend and elbow grease. Here is an example of a pan I cleaned this way; it took a couple of hours. It might not seem to be working at first but if you scrub and let it sit and scrub some more eventually the stuck on spots will go away.

                                  6 Replies
                                    1. re: harryharry

                                      :) thanks!
                                      Unfortunately my services are not for sale ;)

                                    2. re: pdub314

                                      Out of curiosity, who manufactured that pan?

                                        1. re: pdub314

                                          That's the one I cleaned up in which I had to use a Dremel to get the latex paint off. Mine was three quarts, but yours appears that it may be 5 quarts.

                                          1. re: John E.

                                            Mine's also three actually. Good pan; actually wish I had the 5 quart instead though.

                                    3. If it is baked on food rather than discoloration, the answer, at least for cast iron, is a lye bath. My lye tank is a 5 gallon bucket, a can of drain cleaner, water, and a couple of weeks soaking. I use a coat hanger for a handle on the pot, and read the the directions. Lye is nasty stuff if used incorrectly.

                                      1. I don't know about what specific chemicals to use but restaurants use stainless steel scrubbing pads that are far more aggressive than steel wool and they are very cheap. I have used them on far worse messes than the bottom of your pan and they cut the crud off very quickly.

                                        I have a SS tray with 1/4 inch holes that I put on the grill to grill vegetables and sometimes it gets a coating of crud that is like cement. My wife has let it soak over night and spent a 1/2 hour with a green abrasive cleaning pad and still couldn't get it clean. Two minutes with the SS scrubbing pad and it was like new. They are now her favorite cleaning tool.

                                        1. Any time I have baked on, burned on gunk, a soak with a strong Oxiclean solution softens or removes it easily after varying amounts of time, depending on severity.

                                          Have never had it fail. Even if I have to scrub, everything comes off so easily after the soak.

                                          It's great for the stainless thermal carafe from my coffee maker, too.