How to Clean the Dirtiest Enameled Pan Once & For All

Our co-founder Amanda Hesser shares her five-step method.

March 15, 2019
Photo by Amanda Hesser

For The Big Spring Spruce-Up, we’re throwing our windows wide open and letting in all that fresh air. Follow along for handy tips and game-changing tricks—cleaning and organizing to-dos, home decorating projects, and more.

Want to see a magic trick?

Good, same here—always. (Unless it involves disappearing snacks.) Lucky for us, our co-founder, CEO, and resident pan-scrubbing expert Amanda Hesser agreed to share her top tips for making enameled pans look good-as-new with just one ingredient, plus some water and elbow grease.

Check it out:

Do try this trick at home.

What you'll need:

Amanda's five-step method:

  1. Identify which pan is in dire need of TLC.
  2. Rinse the pan under water (this helps the Bar Keepers Friend from falling off the pan).
  3. Sprinkle about a tablespoon of Bar Keepers Friend on a small portion of the pan bottom.
  4. Using a damp sponge, get your elbow grease on and get scrubbing! I like to work on an area, make some progress, then move on until the pan bottom is mostly clean. Then I'll rinse it so I can give myself a brief pat on the back. Then, I reload the Bar Keepers Friend and get off the last stuck bits.
  5. After getting the pan bottom clean, I'll move to the sides and then to the handle. The most important part is to make sure you're using pressure—stuck bits don't come off without serious friction, no matter how caustic the scrubbing powder is—and remind yourself regularly that this counts as your workout for the day.

What's your top tip for tough build-ups on pots and pans? Let us know in the comments!


MalliG March 18, 2019
What about inside the pan? Have tried bleach but it doesn’t work on the very browned bottom. Any ideas?
Smaug March 18, 2019
I think this is all about the inside- try the boiling with baking soda method, it's always worked for me, doesn't involve toxics or any great amount of work.
Smaug March 18, 2019
Hm- you're right, I was thinking about insides all along (confusing enamel with ceramic). Boiling a strong baking soda solution is usually the best bet inside. If it's just outsides, oven cleaner, no question.
MalliG March 18, 2019
what are the proportions?
Noel D. March 15, 2019
soak the pan in a clorox solution overnight. works wonders.
Amanda H. March 16, 2019
Interesting -- do you have to scrub in the next day or do the cooked on bits all dissolve off?
Author Comment
Ella Q. March 17, 2019
Also curious if you dilute the Clorox! If so, how much water do you add?
Gary Q. March 15, 2019
I don't agree with using Bar Keeper's Friend. I do love the stuff but when I used it to clean the inside of my enamel covered dutch oven, it was the beginning of the end. The enamel began to wear away and even though I never made the same mistake with BKF, each cleaning seemed to clear off more enamel.
Smaug March 15, 2019
There are at least two formulations of BKF, the traditional cleanser version, which is very abrasive, and a "gentle" version (don't remember what it's called)that depends on the oxalic acid- haven't used it myself, but what comments I've read on it have been pretty positive.
Gammy March 16, 2019
The less abrasive BKF is called multipurpose "Cooktop Cleaner" and is a thick white liquid, similar to other cooktop cleaners. It comes in a silver plastic bottle. I recommend it highly for cooktops as well as enameled pans. It may be a little hard to find, but Amazon carries it.
Amanda H. March 17, 2019
Thanks so much for letting us know.
Smaug March 15, 2019
My favorite for burned on gunk (other than avoiding it) is to boil a strong baking soda solution in the pan- not sure what goes on chemically, but it seems to bubble up from under the edge of the gunk, peeling it off neatly. In desperate situations oven cleaner will do the job; you'll want to rinse it off thoroughly. Most of my experience of this stuff is on stainless steel, but I'm sure it would work well on ceramic.