My new cookware in en-route and should be on my doorstep by the end of the week. The purchase of new cookware was long overdue. It’s cookie making season, you know! I’ve been using this terrible Teflon stuff that was peeling, chipping, scratching and tainting our food with who knows what. The new set is gorgeous stainless steel and has every pot and pan imaginable. To celebrate the new cookware, I thought I’d clean up my bakeware once and for all. It’s been hiding in shame in the cabinet and I’ve avoided loaning it out due to the weird staining left behind from years of cooking spray residue.
The task was not as easy as I hoped it would be. In fact, it was downright miserable. I’m going to tell you how to rejuvenate your baking pans and how to avoid ever having to do it again.
What Causes It
Baking and cooking sprays like PAM seem like a great alternative to sticky food gunk. That is, until you see that they leave on a goop of their own: that lovely yellowy-red stuff on the corners and top edges of the pan. That goop is the oils and chemicals (yes, chemicals) that wasn’t soaked up by the food and instead baked into your cookware. You can see I had a bad case on my hand. My husband sprays everything, even if it says ungreased pan.
So how do you remove the gunk? Here are some DIY recipes for you to try out. I had good results with the magic eraser alternative below on the ceramics and glass and the SOS alternative below worked well for the steel. As far as the non-stick pans, there was really no hope. I resorted to using chemicals and, in the end, decided that if I have to be wearing a haz-mat suit to apply it, I don’t want my family eating off it. I will be purchasing new cookie sheets soon. No real loss, because a parakeet taught me an important lesson about Teflon.
DIY Magic Eraser (Liquid)
Before I tell you how to make one, I thought this was share-worthy. Magic erasers are made of melamine foam. This is the wikipedia info on melamine foam:
Melamine foam is a foam-like material consisting of a formaldehyde-melamine-sodium bisulfite copolymer. The foam is manufactured in Germany by BASF under the name “Basotect”. It has been used for over 20 years as insulation for pipes and ductwork, and has a long history as a soundproofing material for studios, sound stages, auditoriums, and the like. The low smoke and flame properties of melamine foam prevent it from being a fire hazard.
Mix these ingredients into a spray bottle:
- 2 tbs. Borax
- 12 oz. Warm to Hot Water
- 12 o.z White Vinegar
- Essential Oils (optional, but I like citrus)
Spray on a clean sponge and wipe away grease, shoe scuffs, stained counter tops, and more (including cooking pans with residue).
DIY SOS Pad
- 2 tbsp. Dawn Dish Detergent
- 1 tbsp Baking Soda
- 1 piece Steel Wool (cut in half)
Simply squeeze the dish soap into the steel wool, sprinkle on the baking soda and massage it in. I like to make mine in advance because I’ve found it works better if it has dried on a bit. Store them in a baggie, but don’t seal it. They need air or they will rust.
You can use various grades of steel wool from 000 – 2 depending on what you plan to use them for. Obviously you want to go with a finer wool for delicate jobs.
How to Prevent It
So, as I said, it’s easier to avoid the icky reside problem than it is to fix it. How does one fix it? Stop using overpriced, chemical ridden, staining cooking spray. Making your own cooking spray is ridiculously easy and costs nearly nothing. Ready for it?
Olive oil & water. Yup! Okay, it’s slightly more than that, but just barely. All you need is a clean (yes, super clean, boil if possible) spray bottle, some cooking oil (I prefer olive, but vegetable works as well), and distilled water.
To distill water, just boil it on the stove and allow it to cool or purchase a bottle of distilled water. Cleanliness is important here because oils will go rancid if exposed to bacteria. Use 1 part oil to 4 parts water and shake before using. The water will evaporate during cooking, leaving behind the thin film of oil.
As a word of warning, only use cooking spray (even PAM) on cool pans. Adding it to hot pans could result in splatter which may burn you. So let’s get cooking!