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The Ultimate Cookware Cleaning & Care Guide

AssortedCopper: Sprinkle tarnished area with salt then drizzle fresh lemon juice to cover. Gently rub clean, rinse then towel dry. You can also try mixing equal parts flour, salt and vinegar to make a thick scouring paste (Source [1]).

Cast Iron: To remove rust, slice a fresh potato in half and cover the cut end in liquid dish detergent. Rub the rust spots away with the potato, rinse, dry, then apply a light layer of oil to the surface (you’ll find more tips for cast iron items below).

Roasting Pans: Sprinkle the bottom with powdered laundry detergent (about a cup), or one or two dryer sheets (like Bounce). Add hot water to fully cover. Allow to soak for a few hours or overnight, then scrub (more tips found below).

Grungy Baking Sheets & Muffin Pans: Same method as roasting pans above. If there are no edges to your cookie sheets, try applying a laundry detergent & water paste. Allow to soak for a few hours then scrub.

Aluminum: Boil 3 TBS cream of tartar per 1 quart of water in the cookware for 15 minutes. Allow to cool before scrubbing.

Enamel: Mix 3 TBS baking soda per quart of water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool before cleaning (more tips found below).

Getting Rid Of White Residue: Caused from mineral deposits…boil 1/3 to 1/2 mix of vinegar and water for 10 minutes (liquid must be higher than the stain line). Allow to cool then scrub.

Crusty Spots: Fill with warm water near to the top then drop in one or two denture tablets. Allow to fizz and soak for at least an hour before cleaning.

Casserole Dishes: Use 50/50 vinegar and cream of tartar, this miracle paste also takes care of old splatters and caked on gunk that casserole dishes and lids sometimes accumulate over time. Leave sit on the stain for an hour or two if the marks don’t come off easily the first application.

Another tip: Fill dish with warm water high enough to cover burned crust line. Add a generous teaspoon of bicarb and let sit. After awhile burned crust should loosen easily.

Cake & Pie Pan Edges: Dip a raw potato into scouring powder to work on the rusted corners and edges of cake and pie pans. You could also try using baking soda with a few drops of lemon juice.

Cast Iron

*First published August, 2007 and moved to this page for better organization

Keep your eyes open for neglected pieces of cast iron offered at garage sales and auctions. With a little elbow grease you can bring them back to gleaming shape and they will last a lifetime with proper care, the tips below will help clean, season and prepare these pieces.

Removing Rust:

After rust is gone, wash and season pan before storing away (seasoning tips below).

More Suggestions:

How To Season

Here’s how to keep that favorite iron skillet in perfect condition.

More Tips:

If you invested in new cookware, your best bet is to follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer.

Credit: Some of the information above was collected from Woman’s Home Companion Household Book (1948)


*First published August 1, 2007 and moved to this page for better organization

After completing one of the steps below, dump and wash as you normally would.

Method #1






Roasting Pans

*First published March 21, 2007 and moved to this page for better organization

Here are a few different methods for tackling roasting pans with seriously cooked on crud that won’t budge. These aren’t recommended for non-stick pans, try just soaking those overnight (use a bit of dish soap too).

Method #1