This Brilliant Hack Is the Easiest Way to Remove Baked-on Food

Zero elbow grease required!

Removing baked-on food from pots and pans can be a frustrating and time-consuming task. In our house, we are split between which is the best method. I'm in the scrubbing camp while my husband swears by soaking. So I did a little testing to see who has the best method, and the results were nothing short of surprising! It turns out the best way to get burnt-on food off of dishes has been hiding under my sink the whole time.

Soaking vs. Scrubbing

Scrubbing with a sponge or steel wool does work, but it often takes a lot of time and elbow grease. Even with all the scrubbing, it can still be difficult to remove all of the stubborn, burnt-on bits of food. However, much to my chagrin, I found soaking to not only be a more effective method for removing baked-on food, but also one that's easier and requires much less effort.

Soaking is a simple and effective way to loosen baked-on food, making it easy to wipe away without any deep scrubbing. The key to successful soaking is using the right product. Many people swear by the combination of water and a natural soaking agent, such as vinegar or baking soda. Others claim specialty products are the way to go. These agents do help to break down the food, making it easier to remove. However, I found an even better product: dishwasher detergent.

The Best Way to Clean Baked-On Food

Yes, the same cleaning agent you use in your dishwasher is what you should be using to soak. I assure you it works even better than regular dish soap, and is more cost-efficient than specialty soaking products. Simply fill the pot or pan with enough water to completely cover the burnt-on food and add a good squirt of liquid detergent or sprinkle of powdered detergent; You're aiming for about 1 tablespoon total of dishwasher detergent. Let the pot or pan soak for at least an hour, or overnight for particularly stubborn food.

After soaking, the baked-on food should easily wipe away with a sponge or cleaning cloth. For any remaining bits of food, a gentle scrub with a sponge or soft brush will do the trick. If the pan is non-stick, it's important to avoid using abrasive sponges or steel wool, as these can scratch the non-stick coating of the pot or pan, rendering them less effective.

The Bottom Line

Next time you're faced with a pot or pan covered in baked-on food, don't immediately reach for the scrub brush. Instead, try soaking with dishwasher detergent for an easy and effective way to remove the food without any elbow grease. Not only will it save you time and effort, but it will also leave your pots and pans sparkling clean.

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