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Don't toss that burnt pan! Here's how to clean it

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I've burned a few pans in my life (who hasn't?), but my mom definitely takes the cake for "Biggest Mess." I got a text from her that said: "Lovely start to my day. Ruined my favorite pan and burned the porch." This was the photo that came along with it:

Apparently she walked away while making hummingbird food — which is essentially just sugar water — and somehow turned it into this volcanic rock-looking monstrosity. When she smelled the burning, she grabbed the pot off the stove and put it outside on the porch, not thinking that hot pan wooden flooring = more burning. Oops.

She was fairly distraught over the state of her stainless steel sauce pan (understandable so), but I assured her there was a way to salvage it. After several years as a writer, I've learned my fair share of pan-cleaning techniques, and it was time to put them to the test! Here are a few of the tactics I recommended to her.

Scrape And Soak

Whether you have a serious mess like my mom or just a mildly burnt pan, the first step is usually to scrape off whatever you can — you'll want to use a wooden spoon to avoid scratching the pan. Don't worry if there are still clumps of baked-on food; these will loosen up in the next step.

Next, fill the pan up with a generous squirt of dish soap and warm water. You can also try adding this laundry room staple to the soak. Let it sit overnight and then go back in with your trusty wooden spoon to scrape off or sponge it off. Repeat the soaking process, if needed, or try boiling water and dish soap to further loosen things up.

Scrubbing? No Thanks

If you're anything like me, you avoid scrubbing pans unless........

© Salon

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