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i usually give dishes a good, long soak in hot water with a little dish soap. if i burn the bottom of a pan (not non-stick or cast iron) i use a metal scrubber and find that a paste of baking soda and water really helps get it clean.
When I have extra dirty or greasy dishes I break out the Dawn and soak them in that. I generally try to use natural products for the home but Dawn really does cut the grease and a good soak in hot water with Dawn breaks up those stuck on greasy bits. Don't mean to sound like a commercial for the product but it does work.
Hot after for a good soak! My grandmother uses cream cleaner for burnt on pans and it works a charm.
What is cream cleaner
Hot water sorry
I always use Dawn for tough greasy jobs. After all, if it worked to clean up the muck following the Exxon Valdez, there is nothing in my kitchen it can't handle. For stuck on stuff, I always soak in boiling water with Dawn in it, then start prying the stuff off after about half an hour, usually with a stiff plastic spatula first, and graduating to various other tools and materials, as necessary (including "Barkeeper's Helper" or Bon Ami, or baking soda, with a plastic Tuffy first, and then, for stainless only, a Chore Boy or similar metal "wool" cleaner. Hot water and time/patience, though, usually work for gunk that's stubborn but not burned on. ;o)
Barkeeper's Friend is one of my best friends. Hot water and a good dose of BF works wonders. And I'm never afraid to let something soak overnight.
Sorry, it's a textural thing. I can't touch "wool" cleaners. But a good soak overnight followed by a solid scrub with a stainless scrubber the next day most often does the trick. For the truly "fused" stuff, way beyond tht simple stuck on, it may take a few days of soaking, rinsing, soaking, etc. for the fused part to part company with the pot along with the help of a good flat scraper.
I do the soak in scalding water with Dawn route (or, if it's REALLY gnarly, I'll put water in the pan and set it on a low burner to simmer while I'm eating). But the end-all-be-all for me is to let grungy stuff "surf the outfall" of my portable dishwasher. I don't have enough cabinet space I can sacrifice to build-in a dishwasher, so I have one on wheels, that scoots up to the sink, and attaches to the faucet with a hose coupling. The same hose is also the drain. So it drains superheated (if I use that option), dishwasher detergent laced water into the sink. Or into the scuzzy casseroles. Just be sure you don't block your drain (don't ask how I know) and make sure that your cookware is dishwasher safe. I never do this to my Calphalon or any non-stick. The Le Crueset and Pyrex however, and any stainless, are fair game. Usually one good surf gets them spotless.
Spray easy off on a roasting pan or any other pan that may need a lot of scrubbing. Let the pan sit a few minutes before washing. Just make sure to wash thoroughly afterwards. I know the smell of easyoff is terrible, but it works well and allows you to use less elbow grease. A workout is for the gym, if you ask me.