Getting Burned-On Gunk Off A Non-Stick Pan

Burned-on gunk Have you ever had this issue — getting burned-on gunk off a non-stick pan?  I have to admit that even though I am a good cook (my mom taught me well),  I really don’t LIKE to cook. AT ALL. And, when I do, I would rather be doing something else, and usually do. Because of this I often don’t watch my pan on the stove because my “squirrel reflexes” kick in. (Remember the movie “UP”?)

Well, this was the result of a my last preparation of Auntie Verna’s Famous Lasagna (recipe coming soon!) and it was a bad one.  The WORST burned-on food episode yet.  Well, actually the lasagna turned out fantastic thanks to my favorite non-stick pan, and the fact that even if stuff gets burned on it doesn’t taste like it’s burnt.  Because I burned this on something awful.  (And, please, no lectures about keeping the heat down low, etc. — I know, I know…)

My first attempt in trying to get off the gunk, was to  just do what I always do — soak the pan in Dawn and hot water and let it sit overnight.  Unfortunately, this let me down this time.  It wouldn’t even budge. baking soda and vinegar trick

So, I decided to take a look online and found several forums which suggested that I try the old “baking soda and vinegar trick.”  I did what They said — just sprinkle the bad spots with the soda and pour vinegar over it and it would take up the gunk.  Well, I tried it and I worked!  Well, sort of…  Some of the gunk lifted up right away.  So, I let it set there a bit longer (actually a lot longer), and a bit more came up, but not much to speak of — even after scraping with the appropriate and required non-stick scraper.  So, I did it again (some of Them said you might need to do this), but I got no better results – at least on the really tough spots.

burned on gunk on pan

pan with dryer sheets to remove burned-on gunk Then, I decided to try another option.  This one was weirder.  The trick was to take a dryer fabric softener dryer sheet, place it on the bad spots and poor hot water over it and let it sit for a while.  I thought, why not — it’s worth a try (I REALLY didn’t want to give up on my favorite pan.) But, there was a problem:  I had two different kinds of fabric softener dryer sheets, so which one would I use?  The more expensive name-brand-brand, or the more reasonable grocery-store-non-name-brand-brand?  Decisions, decisions.  I opted for both. I then did just as They suggested, and waited for a bit.  To my amazement, it was actually working!  I noticed that the non-name-brand-brand actually worked better than the name- cleaned up pan brand-brand, so just for good measure, I poured off the water and added another of those sheets, poured on more hot water and let it sit for just a few minutes more.  Once I was done waiting, I took the appropriate and required non-stick scraper and easily removed the burned on gunk.  I was enlightened! Next time, this will be my first trick: watch the pan and don’t let gunk burn on it.  But, if for some reason my squirrel reflexes kick in and I fail to do so, at least I have a seemingly “non-fail” trick to remove the gunk. And that makes me a happy(er) cook!



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