This Unexpected Way to Clean a Burned Pan Is Ridiculously Simple

This Unexpected Way to Clean a Burned Pan Is Ridiculously Simple

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Sometimes you read about these hacks on the internet, and while some part of you desperately wants to believe they're real, there's another part of you that is certain that it's all a fabrication and will never work. This hack rang both of those bells for me. Here's the premise: If you put a dryer sheet into the water while you're soaking a scorched pan, the burnt bits will magically lift from the pan, no scrubbing required.

Yeah, right, I thought.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

So the other night, when I made a burnt mess searing some pork tenderloin, I decided to give it a shot. I let the pot sit — not soak, just sit — overnight so it would be extra tough to clean. In the morning, here's what I did.

  1. Put a few drops of dish soap in the pan.
  2. Added a few inches of hot (not scalding but pretty hot) water.
  3. Added a dryer sheet to the water (I pushed it down so it was completely underneath the water).
  4. Set my timer for an hour.
(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

I checked it periodically during that hour and could see that nothing was happening. But I patiently waited for my timer to go off, then I rinsed the pan.

And you know what? All the burnt bits came right off!

Seriously, they flaked off — with minimal effort on my part. Just by running it under water, about 80 percent of the burnt pieces detached. I used the dryer sheet to scrub the extra bits, and they came off right away, too. Even the little bits of splattered burnt grease at the top of the pan came off.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Honestly, I was shocked and impressed. I texted my husband the photo (these are the things you get excited about after nine years of marriage) and he was impressed, too (his response had four exclamation points!!!!). I am definitely going to do this again. While I'd hesitate to use this for every burnt pot I generate (because dryer sheets aren't reusable and are more expensive than straight-up soap and scrubbing), it's a great fix for the really tough ones. Because I really do hate scrubbing those burnt bits off, and soaking them overnight in soapy water really only helps so much. Very cool.

(Image credit: The Kitchn)

Note: Once you're done cleaning with the dryer sheet, use soap and water to wash the pan as usual.

Forgive me, internet, for not believing you before!

Have you done this? What are your tricks for cleaning scorched pots?

Kitchn supports our readers with carefully chosen product recommendations to improve life at home. You support us through our independently chosen links, many of which earn us a commission.
moving--truck moving--dates moving--dolly moving--house moving--cal Created with Sketch. moving--apt