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How to Clean Old Baking Pans

Amrita Chuasiriporn

If elbow grease, steel wool and a long soak in soapy water isn’t getting your old baking pans clean, they need some extra-strength help. Luckily, that doesn’t mean you have to use harsh chemicals with fumes that make you cough. In fact, chances are good that you may already have just the thing in your kitchen.

If you bake, you almost certainly have what you need, but if not, you may just have the secret cleaning ingredient in your fridge.

  1. Pour a thin layer of baking soda directly on top of the baked-on "gunk" on your baking pans. Baking soda should be applied thickly enough that you cannot see the gunk through it, but not so high that it forms small mounds. Put on your dish gloves.

  2. Drizzle a little bit of water at a time onto the baking soda. Rub with your gloved fingers until the baking soda and water form a paste, with a consistency similar to toothpaste. Do not use too much water, or the paste will not form.

  3. Cover the entire area of baked-on debris with the baking soda paste. Allow it to sit for one hour.

  4. Scrub your old baking pans clean using steel wool, under warm running water.

  5. Repeat the process if necessary. Add a little white vinegar to the baking soda paste for stubborn, unresponsive debris.

  6. Tip

    Baking soda and white vinegar foam up strongly when placed in contact with one another. If the old baking pan in question is a flat cookie sheet, submerge it in a larger pan before attempting this cleaning method. This will help prevent a mess. Neither baking soda nor white vinegar is dangerous to your skin, but steel wool particles can be very uncomfortable if they embed themselves in your fingers. For your safety, always wear dish gloves when scrubbing with steel wool. Other disposable gloves are acceptable, but dish gloves tend to go further up your arm, and give you more protection. The baking soda paste method for caked-on grime works for all types of pan, regardless of material. Even if your baking pans have non-stick coating, baking soda does not harm them.