How to Clean a Frying Pan

Figuring out how to clean a frying pan might not seem like a tough task until you realise you’re accidentally scraping off the non-stick coating with each wash.

Failing to clean your frying pan correctly could mean that you’re damaging the stainless steel, leaving the cast iron to run, or encouraging unwanted cracks in your ceramics. Unfortunately, it’s extremely easy to approach cookware cleaning incorrectly, particularly when you’re used to putting your pots and pans in the dishwasher.

If you’ve been struggling with finding a method for cleaning burned pans for a while now, or you can never seem to find the right oven and pan cleaner, here’s what you need to know.

How to Remove Grease From Pots and Pans the Right Way

The most effective and natural way to clean most pots and pans is baking soda and warm water. Baking soda is an excellent cleaning material, ideal for everything from the bottom of the pan, the middle of your cast iron pot, or your stainless-steel frying pans. Because this substance is non-abrasive, it doesn’t scrape away the non-stick coating in your pans like extremely hot water and steel wool might.

Step 1: Add Water and Baking Soda

To clean your pans with baking soda, cover the bottom of the pan with a layer of water, and sprinkle baking soda in to create a thin paste. You can also approach this the other way around if you prefer. Use warm water rather than anything too hot to avoid harming the non-stick surface. You should thoroughly cover the bottom part of the pan.

Step 2: Let It Sit Then Rinse

Let the pan sit for several hours, coated with the baking soda paste, rinse, and wash with warm water. The baking soda should lift away the unwanted stains and deodorise your pan, getting rid of unwanted smells.

Step 3: Remove Stains

If you still notice stubborn stains or burned grease on your pots and pans, you might need to take a different approach. Boil a solution of around four tablespoons of baking soda with half a cup of water in the pan. Be careful around the hot water. Allow the water in your pans to cool slightly before scrubbing carefully at the stain with a sponge or microfibre cloth.

The Best Natural Pan Cleaner Option

When you spend a fortune on high-quality pots and pans, you don’t want to destroy them with harsh chemicals and scrubbing. Though it’s tempting to expose your pans to high heat and bleach when you see burnt-on grease, don’t fall into this bad habit. Scrubbing burnt stains with chemicals will damage your cookware. Natural cleaning solutions can often deliver the same results safely.

Water and Dish Soap

Start by simply using hot water and dish soap. Place your pan in hot water while it’s still fresh off the heat. This will stop the burnt food that gathered while you were frying from sticking to the pan.

Don’t place a hot pan into some warm or cool water, as this can cause it to crack. Soak your pans for an hour or so and use a nylon sponge or soft fabric to buff the grease and burnt spots away with small circles.


An excellent acidic product for scrubbing cookware, vinegar will remove burnt stains and grease without causing damage to your pans. Simply pour enough white vinegar into your pan to cover the bottom and bring the liquid to a boil for around ten to fifteen minutes.

This method should prevent you from scouring your pans and cookware later. Pour the water away and use your sponge to scrub the surface with warm water.

Vinegar, Sea Salt, and Baking Powder

If you have a really tough oil stain, burnt grease, or something else on your pan, use a mixture of tough ingredients. Mix white vinegar, sea salt, and baking powder into a paste and use it to remove hard patches of burnt grease carefully.

Be careful with scrubbing stubborn stains on metal with salt as you risk scratching the surface while scouring. Use a soft sponge to be cautious.

Hot Water

To remove grease from pots and pans, you don’t necessarily need any soap. Fill your pan with water and bring it to a boil on your stove. The heat should cause the water to separate from the sides of the pans, even if it’s burnt on. Then you can simply pour the grease away and start washing as normal.


Ketchup contains vinegar and various other acidic ingredients, which make it great for cleaning cooked on stains from your favourite pot or frying pan. Spread a healthy layer of ketchup over the frying pan and leave the layer to soak overnight.

The next morning, wipe the ketchup away or remove it with a sponge. Use warm water and washing liquid to remove the left-over grime.

Clean the Bottom of Your Pan

Grease and burnt food can get stuck to various parts of your frying pans. These burnt pieces of food often create horrible smells when you’re cooking.

If the bottom of your pan needs a clean, turn them upside down and sprinkle baking soda over it. Next, pour some white vinegar on the bottom of the pan. Once the bottom of the pan is covered, use half a lemon as a scrub brush to scrub the paste all over the bottom of the pan.

Scrub along the sides with your lemon too. This method will refresh your pans, get them looking shiny, and ensure they smell great too. Rinse the pan thoroughly and dry it before your next use.

Tips for Cleaning Your Frying Pan

If you use your frying pans a lot, alongside other non-stick pans in your kitchen, you’ll want to keep them in great condition. No one wants to go shopping for new frying pans every time they burn a piece of food. Fortunately, with the tips above, you can make cleaning your frying pans a lot easier, no matter the burnt cooking and grease you have to deal with.

Here are some additional quick tips to help you clean your frying pans correctly.

Avoid Abrasives

The best solution for cleaning your frying pan might not be the first one you try. While some people get great results with baking soda immediately, others struggle with non-stick pans.

Try to avoid using abrasive products on non-stick frying pans, no matter how frustrated you get. This will damage your pan and could mean you need to replace it faster.

Avoid Chemicals

When in doubt, you might be able to use certain oven cleaners to clean your frying pan. Avoid products with too many harsh chemicals, as you will be cooking in this frying pan later. Make sure you wash the cleaner away from your frying pans carefully with hot water and soap before cooking too. While you’re going through this process, don’t forget to clean the outside of your pans.

Avoid the Dishwasher

A dishwasher is a fantastic product for convenience. You can save a lot of time by throwing your frying pans in the dishwasher (if they fit) and getting rid of grease that way. However, while the high temperatures of the dishwasher are great for removing grease and cooking, they also clean away the coating on your non-stick pans. This means you’re even more likely to end up with burnt cooking in the future.

Clean as Quickly as Possible

Though you might be keen to eat your food after you’re finished with your frying pans, get them into some water quick. If you clean your pans right away, the grease won’t have a chance to stick, and most of the burnt bits will slide straight off. Fill the sink with hot water and submerge your frying pans as soon as you’re done cooking. You can come back to apply baking soda paste and vinegar later.

Use the Right Accessories

Having the correct method for removing grease and burnt food from your frying pans is just the first step. You also need the right materials. Simple ingredients from around the house, like white vinegar, dish soap, and baking soda, are the most important ingredients. Make sure you have a soft sponge to clean with too. Avoid any abrasive metal pads or harsh oven cleaner.

Before The Next Time You Cook

When you’re done with the rub and scrub part of cleaning your frying pan (from top to bottom), you can protect your frying pan for next time. After cleaning burnt pans, reapplying the non-stick layer that excess scrubbing and scorched food can remove is crucial.

Season your pan before you cook by coating the bottom of the pan (where the food goes) with oil. You can use various oils to coat the bottom of your pan, including canola oil and vegetable oil. Place the pan in the oven so the oil can soak in, then clean off any remaining grease and oil when you take it out of the oven with some kitchen roll.

Just Like New

Although it seems like a simple job, knowing how to clean a frying pan requires a lot more than originally thought. To preserve your pans and use them well into the future, it is important you clean them properly.

Do you have any additional tips about cleaning frying pans? Tell us about it below.

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