How to clean a very greasy pan?

I have a non-stick pan that seems to have accrued a large amount of grease over the year or so that I have had it. It's not a huge problem, but it smokes far more easily than I would wish, and flames a little too often. Does anyone have a good tip for cleaning it? Can I just soak it in soapy water for a few hours, or will that damage it? I normally just scrub it, but it's clear that there's a build-up there that I haven't been able to get rid of.

I know the best solution is to buy a new and better pan (this is an Ikea one), but unfortunately that's not doable right now.

I would appreciate any and all tips and advice! Thanks, everyone!

Brady Klopfer


Stephanie July 23, 2014
I learned here, and have used many time with ease, the trick of heating up peroxide with baking soda. No real elbow grease needed.. I love it.
For this pan I would place inside a larger pan to heat up and leave it simmering for 10/20 minutes. All my pans now shine!
Kristen W. July 23, 2014
I second the Barkeeper's Friend suggestion. I don't know what's in that stuff, but it works like a charm. It works so well I always expect it to have some off-putting chemical smell like other powerful cleaners and degreasers often do, but there's none (an added plus).
amysarah July 21, 2014
There's a product called Dawn Power Scrubber that does a good job on built up grease on the bottom of pans and the like. NOT regular Dawn dish detergent - this comes in a blue spray bottle, and for some reason, it's only available at my hardware store, not at my supermarket (no idea if that's generally the case.)
Susan W. July 23, 2014
I have heard of and have been looking for this product. I never thought to look at the hardware store.
Greenstuff July 23, 2014
I buy it on line, and it does do a great job.
Madeline P. July 21, 2014
i'd use a stainless steel soap pad like Brillo or, even better, Bar Keeper Friend a very inexpensive Cookware cleanser & polish (since 1882). I think the grease is trapped in the deposits on the cookware. You need to remove the deposits: food, water stains, tarnish and then you'll remove the trapped grease. Directions for use are on back of Bar Keepers Friend.
Brady K. July 21, 2014
Wow, this is great, thank you so much Madeline!
Susan W. July 20, 2014
Sorry Diana. No snark intended. I misunderstood your post.
Dona July 20, 2014
I buy TFal skillets at Home Goods or atJ Maxx, I bought a 10" for $17
Brady K. July 21, 2014
Thank you, Dona! If I can't get this one to behave properly I'll go check those out.
Diana B. July 20, 2014
America's Test Kitchen likes the T-Fal skillet for a well performing inexpensive non-stick skillet, if you're looking to replace yours.
Susan W. July 20, 2014
Have you read this thread?

Voted the Best Reply!

Diana B. July 20, 2014
Yes, Brady said he was keeping the pan alive until he could afford a good non-stick pan; you suggested WalMart, and I thought I'd mention the T-Fal as another inexpensive good choice. I don't understand the snark.
Brady K. July 21, 2014
Thank you, Diana!
Susan W. July 20, 2014
You'll keep it alive. :0) Just one more tip...expensive nonstick is not all that important. A good's so important. Just a thought. :)
Brady K. July 20, 2014
I've got the good knife, thankfully :) An expensive nonstick is nowhere near the top of my dream kitchen list . . . .but it is on the list ;)

Thanks for all the help and advice, Susan!
Susan W. July 20, 2014
I had to go look at my pans to see if I had any build up on the handle area, but there must be different methods of attaching them. I think a good scrub with some grease cutting detergent (like dawn) and one of those scrub brushes to get into the crevices will work. Good luck Brady and let us know how it goes. By the way, consumer reports just graded cheap nonstick pans and Wal-Mart case it comes to that.
Brady K. July 20, 2014
Thank you, Susan!

Mine is from Ikea, and I'm certainly hoping I can keep it alive until I can afford a nice non-stick, but it's good to know there are good, cheap options!
Susan W. July 20, 2014
I just had a thought. Do you use a nonstick spray like Pam? They are not good for any pans. They quickly will cause a sticky build up.
Brady K. July 20, 2014
Ooh, good problem solving, but sadly, no, I only use oil and butter. That is good to know, though!
Melusine July 20, 2014
Try a paste of baking soda and water. Coat the pan liberally with the paste, and let it sit for a while. Chemically, baking soda and grease = soap.
Brady K. July 20, 2014
Thank you! I will try this.
Susan W. July 20, 2014
This confuses me. I have never met a nonstick pan that doesn't come clean. You are using hot soapy water to clean it correct? You can't cook with non stick with high heat as you can other surfaces. Is your nonstick surface intact?
Brady K. July 20, 2014
Sorry, I should have worded more clearly. The surface of the pan has no problem getting clean. There appears to be a strong grease build up both on the bottom of the pan, and where the handle meets the pan, which is making it conduct heat more intensely (for instance, the handle used to always remain a normal temperature, but now it becomes too hot to touch within a minute or two).
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