The Refinish Artist

How To Clean a Burnt Pot

Are you wondering how to clean a burnt pot? It’s an age-old question, and it can be one of the more frustrating household cleaning tasks. The good news is that with diligence, almost any burned-on food in pots or pans will come off without too much trouble.

To clean a burnt pot, you must first understand the material your pot is made of. Most pots and pans are either stainless steel or aluminum, each with its own cleaning characteristics.

For this article, we will focus on cleaning stainless steel pots. Aluminum is often found in pots with an aluminum core, which will make cleaning slightly different. However, if you are using aluminum cookware, many of the same principles apply.

Materials Needed:

  • Baking Soda
  • White Vinegar
  • Spatula
  • Pan Scraper
  • Scrubber Sponge

Process of Cleaning a Burnt Pot:

Step 1: Fill the pot with water and bring to a boil. This will soften the food inside making it easier for you to scrape out later. Don’t scrape too hard, as this may damage your pan.

Step 2: Use white vinegar to loosen the charred food residue. Fill the pot with vinegar and bring it to a boil. The vinegar will help break up any carbonized food stuck on the bottom of your pan without harming its nonstick surface. If there are any burnt or brown patches that remain after boiling, scrub them away with baking soda using a nylon net scouring sponge.

Note: Only use white vinegar if step 1 does not work. Moreover, never use the white vinegar step on aluminum cookware. White vinegar can corrode aluminum over time, so it is recommended to use only on stainless steel pots.

Step 3: Scrape away the loosened carbonized food and any remaining white vinegar with a pan scraper. Be careful to not scratch the pan’s surface during this process.

Step 4: Rinse the pot with warm water and dry thoroughly with a soft dish towel.

Step 5: If you are dealing with burnt food that has turned sticky, sprinkle on some baking soda while the pan is still wet from rinsing. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes to allow the baking soda to absorb any remaining liquids, then use your scraper to remove any remnants.

Note: If you are dealing with a small amount of sticky residue, you can simply wipe it away with paper towels while the pan is still wet. However, if there is an extensive amount of food that has burned onto your pot, you will need to complete this step in order for the pan to be clean.

Step 6: If after using these methods your pot is still not clean, repeat the process outlined above until it is. Once the burnt food has been removed from your pot, be sure to dry it thoroughly before putting it away because moisture promotes rust.

The Dos and Don’ts of Cleaning a Burnt Pot


  • Clean as soon as possible after use — The longer you let the food linger on your pan, the harder it will be to remove. If at all possible, clean burnt pots within an hour of cooking.
  • Let boiling water and vinegar penetrate the food — If you’re dealing with a large amount of food that is difficult to scrape off, fill the pot with water and vinegar and bring it to a boil. This will loosen any stuck-on carbonized food for easier removal.
  • Allow the pan to air dry — Drying your stainless steel pots with towels reduces their resistance to rust and stains, which means you’ll need to clean it again faster. If possible, air-dry your stainless steel pots and pans before putting them away. This will help slow the build-up of bacteria and mold by reducing moisture in the pot.
  • Keep the nonstick coating intact — Using harsh scouring materials or abrasive cleaners can damage your pan’s nonstick surface. This will reduce the shine of your pan and make it harder to clean in the future.


  • Do not use steel wool or coarse scouring pads — Using these abrasive materials can scratch your stainless steel pots, reducing their integrity and making them more susceptible to rust.
  • Do not use dishwashing soap or other harsh cleaners — These can damage the nonstick surface of your pot, making it harder to clean in the future.


Cleaning a burnt pot is among one of the essential kitchen cleaning tips that every homemaker needs to know. Burnt food is one of the most difficult types of residue to remove, but if you take the necessary precautions, you should never have an issue cleaning your pots again.

Call Now Button