Have your trusty aluminum pans become unrecognizable with all the mess? Well, you need not fret. Allow us to help you with this concern. With some elbow grease and this trick, you would most probably have some clean aluminum pans by the end of this discussion.
Without further ado, let’s get cleaning!
Step 1: Inspection and Assessment
Before we start cleaning, you’d want to check if you’re actually dealing with aluminum. You may have an aluminum pan, but you may not be dealing with an aluminum surface. As you might already know, many pans have some kind of coating. If you’re not dealing with an aluminum surface, you would want to seek specific cleaning instructions for those materials instead.
Step 2: Cooling and Washing
If you are indeed dealing with aluminum, then let’s get to the next step.
If you’ve recently used your aluminum pan, and noticed some discoloration after use, don’t act on it immediately. We know it could be frustrating to see one of your favorite pans damaged, and it might be tempting to fix it quickly, but you could harm yourself that way. Let it cool down first.
Once it has cooled down, try washing it first. And no, we don’t mean to put it in the dishwasher! Generally, many advise against putting pans in the dishwasher.
What you’d want to do is hand wash your pan. Some hot water and your preferred dish soap should do the trick. If that did not do the trick, then you’d want to proceed to the next step to save your pan.
Step 3: Choosing Your Fighter
Now, there are many things you can use to clean your aluminum pans. Some of them you might already have. Some, you might have to take a quick trip to the nearest convenience store in your area. Let’s get to know each one.
First on the list is vinegar. Some may not like the smell of this liquid, but you might be surprised at the number of things it could help with. It is probably one of the most reached for cleaning agents of all time. Whatever home cleaning problem it is, vinegar usually seems to be one of the possible solutions to it.
With that said, you can also try using vinegar to clean your aluminum pans.
There are several ways to do this, but probably the most common way is to fill the pan with some water and add a few teaspoons of vinegar in there. There are different suggestions on how much vinegar you would want to put in there. Some suggest putting only a few tablespoons (e.g., one tablespoon per cup), while others recommend skipping the water and filling the pan with vinegar only!
You might want to use a one-part vinegar and three-part water solution. However, depending on how stained your aluminum pan is, you might want to add or subtract from that.
After that, you’d want to put your pan on the stove and let the solution boil for a few minutes. After ten to fifteen minutes, turn the heat off and pour the contents of the pan out. To get rid of the smell and, to be sure, you would also want to give your pan another wash.
Cream of Tartar
Now, if you can’t stand the smell of vinegar, then you don’t have to worry. This next one might be for you.
Our next one is not as popular as vinegar when it comes to cleaning concerns, but it is another popular option for cleaning aluminum pans.
You can use this one how you would use vinegar.
Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide
Next, we have the baking soda and hydrogen peroxide duo. Both are known cleaners, and they could help you with your aluminum pan problem too.
What you’d want to do is mix the two in equal parts until they turn into a paste. After that, spread your baking soda and hydrogen peroxide paste on the affected area and let it sit for a few minutes. Once it dries, you’d want to scrub it off. Finally, use some hot water to make sure you get rid of all the dried baking soda and hydrogen peroxide paste off.
Did none of the above work? You might want to try using all four of them. However, we’ll be skipping the hydrogen peroxide for this one.
Mix the vinegar, cream of tartar, and baking soda along with some dish soap. The amount would change depending on how big the problem is or how many pans you’re cleaning. However, you’d want the first three in equal amounts and a tiny amount of dish soap. Mix until they turn into a paste.
Put a small amount on the affected area and scrub. When you’re done, do a final wash.
You can also try this solution out. It’s similar to this one with only a tiny change.
It might be a good time to note not to forget your gloves. Dish soap might be safe on the hands, but the other things on this list could hurt you. It’s better to be safe than sorry, after all.
There are many acidic fruits, but lemon might be one of the most well-known among them when it comes to cleaning.
You can juice a few lemons and use them as you would use vinegar. On the other hand, you can also slice a lemon and rub the affected areas of your pan with it.
You can also use apples or apple peels, to be exact. Fill the pan with some water, put the peels, put the pan on the stove, and let the solution boil for a few minutes.
Still, you can use some other acidic fruit if you’re not feeling lemons or apples.
Don’t have the things we mentioned above? Don’t worry. If you have some salt, there’s still hope, and it might just save the day.
Using salt is similar to using vinegar. There’s only one extra step.
With this one, you’d want to fill the pan with some water. After that, you would want to add some salt in there. Leave it there for some time. You can leave it overnight too. Next, boil the salt solution for around 15 minutes. If there is still some stain, you might want to boil the salt solution for a little bit more. Throw out the contents of the pan after, and give it a final wash.
Are you not feeling any of the cleaning partners we’ve mentioned? Maybe this one will tickle your fancy. Almost every solution on this list is easy, but this one might be the easiest yet. All you have to do is put a dryer sheet on the pan and add some water. Let it sit for around an hour and pour the contents out. Do a final wash to make sure you get rid of the chemical residue.
Bar Keepers Friend
Now, if you’re dealing with a particularly challenging stain on your aluminum pan, you might want to employ the help of a store-bought product.
There are many options, but Bar Keepers Friend seems to be one of the most – if not the most – popular choice.
We’ve talked about how you can clean your aluminum pans. Now, let us show you some ways how you can prevent dealing with aluminum pan problems.
Skip the Dishwasher
One of the best ways to preserve your aluminum pans is to skip the dishwasher and hand wash them instead. This way, you’ll have better control of the conditions your pan will go through, something you don’t have much control over when you put them in the dishwasher.
Next, you’d want to store them properly after washing them.
Make sure you dry them down before storing them. Also, you’d want to store your aluminum somewhere and not just leave it out in the open. You also don’t want to store your aluminum pan where there are moisture problems. Check your cabinets from time to time. If possible, it would also be a good idea not to put anything on top of your aluminum pan.
Skip the Acidic Dishes
Finally, you might want to skip acidic dishes, at least, for your aluminum pans.
There are many different types of materials used to make pans. If you are fond of dishes that include acidic ingredients, you might want to invest in another pan that can withstand acidic dishes.
How to clean aluminum pans? As you’ve seen, it’s not that difficult!
There are only three main steps, and you have lots of cleaning partners from which you can choose. So no, your aluminum pan doesn’t have to go into the trashcan! With some elbow grease, you can get rid of that grease!
With these tips and tricks, you can keep your kitchen and your cookware in top shape. If you have any other problems like this one, you might want to check out our past discussions. We might have just the thing to turn your nightmare into a daydream!
Michael Johnson is the founder of The Pan Handler, Inspired by his blacksmith grandfather’s legacy has a deep appreciation for hand-crafted pots and pans, he provides invaluable guides, reviews, and recipes to enhance your culinary journey.