Sometimes I find boiling water in the pan/pot helps to loosen up the burn, you may have to do it a couple times. Also, I have this plastic scraper device, honestly I got it from some Pampered Chef something or another I was forced to partake in, it's just a square piece of plastic with a hard edge and a rounded edge. It does a fabulous job of scraping out pots and pans without damaging the surface. I would assume an old credit card might do the same trick.
Get a bottle of Hydrogen Peroxide. It reacts with sugars and carbon to lift out bonded crusty bits. Put in about 1/2 inch in the pan. Heat it to start the catalytic reaction.
A bit of baking soda in there is recommended for this method.
But it does need a heat to start the bubbling reaction.
It won't remove stains or dislocations, but it will remove crust and high carbon gunk on a pan. If it's stained with a thin film of burned oil, it won't work as well. Basically it releases big crust bits that have bonded to the pan.
There was a Foodpickle a few months ago with a similar problem. I tried to find it, unsuccessfully. Since I thought the answers were so good I took notes. Some other solutions: Dawn Power Dissolver; dishwasher detergent with enzymes; Mr. Clean Magic Eraser; Barkeeper's Friend; white vinegar (+ baking soda). The peroxide solution sounded good, and included 1 - 2 tsp baking soda, heat 10 min, brush with green (?) scrub brush, use exhaust fan. Maybe someone can find the original?
I need to explain the peroxide method again.
What it does is remove bonded carbon crusts from pans. Lifts the crust from the surface of the pan. It needs heat to activate---then it's just a 20 min job.
It's great for removing crust on high sugar, carbon crust that's just won't let go, like a burned sugar, or carbon crusts.
The fan might be needed as it reacts as the peroxide out gasses. harmless but stinky.
What it does not do is remove that film of burned on oil on a pan..or the discolorations. For that you really have to use mechanical scrubbing method...or harsh chemical assault like a oven cleaner. But for crusty bits it's great.
In fact I just cleaned a smooth stove burner with that after some sugar spilled on stove eye and crusted up. It took it off very quickly. Just poured on a puddle and heated it a bit.Then used a scrub pad and cerama bright to polish.
The "Green Brush" is those little green colored 3-M company pads not a brush really, but a non abrasive scrubbing pad.
pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.
Basic and primative but just boiling up white vinegar usually works pretty well. Scrape with a wooden spoon.
Thanks for the helpful suggestions. Sorry Sam1148, I used the boiling vinegar/wooden spoon technique and finished with a "heavy" wash in the dishwasher. 99.99% clean!
"....harmless, but stinky." kinda put me off the hydrogen peroxide method. My kitchen exhaust fan isn't the most powerful. Hot vinegar smells "clean" to me. When I was in the Navy, we called those 3M pads "greenies", useful for all sorts of scrubbing, but I could use the wooden spoon to scrape while the hot pot was still on the stove.
Thanks again all!
Know this question has been answered - but in the spirit of Billy Mays, I've got to say: "OXICLEAN". The stuff is truly magic.
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