Even the best cooks in the world occasionally find themselves with a pan that has a caked-on mess to deal with. If you're an avoider, you may decide to let it soak. "What's the deal with the pan in the sink?" your partner will ask. "It's soaking," you'll say. "For five days?" Busted.
Sure, soaking a pan will loosen up the burnt-on vestiges of last night's dinner to a degree, but letting a pan sit in the sink for days on end really does nothing but cause marital strife. "But I can't use steel wool on the pan, it'll ruin the finish!" you protest.
There's another way. These Scotch-Brite Scrub Dots Sponges have special little scrubby dots (it's not just a clever name!) that are designed to handle tough, caked-on messes without scratching your pots and pans.
Scotch-Brite Scrub Dots Sponges, $4 for three
Things like eggs and cheese, which are notoriously difficult, wipe right off with minimal effort. And at around $1 per sponge, they're not too expensive to replace every week or so.