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Cleaning Revere Ware

Moms View Message Board: Get Organized: Cleaning Revere Ware
By Hana on Monday, February 9, 2004 - 10:41 pm:

Does anyone know how to clean the bottom of a pan which has had food burned in it? I have done the best, but there is still a burned appearance.

By Dawnk777 on Monday, February 9, 2004 - 11:46 pm:

Will talk to hubby and ask him what he did the time he burned mac and cheese onto my fairly new Revereware pan a LONG time ago. I know the burnt stuff eventually disappeared, but don't remember how it happened. Maybe SOS pads, but not sure.

By Fionadeassis on Tuesday, February 10, 2004 - 03:26 pm:

I am the queen of burnt food! Here is my method....

Soak it for a few days and hope someone else cleans it(doesn't work)

Throw in a big pile of baking soda and some water. Boil it on the stove for a long time-don't let it boil dry(rarely works)

SOS it like crazy(works somewhat)

Take an old spoon and use it to scrape all the thick parts off,then SOS(a brazilian friend of ours always does this-it works really well).

I hate to deal with burnt stuff. Once I burnt rice so badly on a pot that dh had to take it to work and use some kind of welding or drilling tool to scrape the burnt stuff off.

Once I secretly threw out a pot because I didn't want to deal with it. Most of my pots have some kind of burnt stuff stuck on at all times. It makes black specks in my food sometimes...

By Annie2 on Tuesday, February 10, 2004 - 03:53 pm:

I use oven cleaner on mine if this happens. Spray it and let it sit overnight. :) Then scrub off residue with scouring pad.

By Dana on Tuesday, February 10, 2004 - 08:18 pm:

If you don't like using oven cleaner, use straight amonia. Just fill enough to cover all the burnt area. Cover and sit over night. Scrape loose stuff w/ a utensil and soak again if needed. Sometimes, it takes it off in one soaking. Once you get down to the little burnt spots, the billo pads work nicely.

As a side, I also clean my oven w/ amonia. I put an old towel on the bottom. Load it w/ amonia, close door and let it sit all night. Then I just wipe clean. No gloves needed and no fumes left over the next time you cook.

By Truestori on Wednesday, February 11, 2004 - 12:48 am:

I would give the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser a try. It has taken off stuff I never thought it would!
I have a smooth cooktop stove and the water and food has boiled over on it plenty of times and these little erasers work like a charm. :)

By Hana on Wednesday, February 11, 2004 - 10:48 am:

Thank you all for your suggestions! I will try the SOS first, and then proceed from there. The report of (hopefully) success will be made at this site.

By Ginny~moderator on Thursday, February 12, 2004 - 04:32 am:

Hana, I'd really suggest trying the ammonia first, after using a spoon to scrape as much of the solids off as you can. Put the pot in your oven if you want to contain the fumes to some extent. I have found ammonia cleans things nothing else will touch. Several years ago when my son moved into a new apartment he said he had tried everything to clean the tub and it was still awful. I suggested straight ammonia (with open windows), which he tried and said it was like a miracle, that it got the tub absolutely sparkling with no scrubbing, just wiped the straight ammonia on and went away for a while.

By Sandie on Sunday, February 29, 2004 - 10:03 pm:

The powder cleanser Bar Keepers Friend cleans Revereware beautifully. It gets burnt on stuff and even makes that copper shine so pretty!

By Bluepilgrim on Sunday, May 16, 2004 - 03:34 am:

I'm not a chemist, but I've done a lot of work with chemicals and metals, and this is from my experience.

Burned food in cookware (and some other nasty cleaning tasks)....

If this is a stainless (like Revere ware) pan, it should be fairly easy to clean it after burning food. (But here is probably more than you wanted to know right now, but you have other things to clean at some point, and I've found it's always better to know too much than too little.)

(For aluminum, BTW, if you want to deal with really nasty stuff and can get it (most people can't without a lot of hassle -- I have some I got for making etchings) concentrated nitric acid works since it barely touches aluminum, and most other chemicals attack aluminum. But the stuff is very dangerous, and don't mess with it unless you know how to handle hazardous chemicals).

For stainless, however, simmer a little water in the pan (a bit of baking soda added won't hurt) and then let it soak to soften the crud. You can also put a little dishwashing detergent in the water -- but watch the heat so it doesn't foam up all over. Then use a tuff-boy (or whatever) stainless scrub ball -- not steel wool (yet), but the real course stuff. This will cut through most of it, and you can use a scraper, like a metal spatula, for the thick parts.

Then use soaped steel wool. BTW -- once you take a steel wool pad out of the box and use it once, keep it a container with a bunch of baking soda dumped over it and worked in -- it not only works for cleaning and cutting grease (even chicken grease) but the pad will wear out instead of rusting. It keeps for months in baking soda.

Another thing to try is some sink cleanser (Comet, Dutch boy, etc.), which works well with a good kitchen scrub or vegetable brush, as well as with a plastic scouring pad. (BTW -- if you save the mesh vegetable bags, they make fairly decent scrubbing cloths for ordinary dishwashing).

But finish up with steel wool to give a semi-polish to the stainless pot. SOS is a finer grade than others.

As a last resort, if the pot is carbonized you can use a fine wet/dry abrasive paper, used wet, on the stubborn spots.

For the bottom, if it's aluminum just use steel wool. For copper, steel wool will mostly clean it, but you can dissolve the blackened tarnish with muriatic acid (same as hydrochloric acid) which can be gotten in a hardware store (dilute it, putting it into some water, about 1 acid to 3 water). This, like nitric, is nasty: it will damage your skin and make toxic fumes, although the muriatic isn't nearly as bad as nitric (which you probably wouldn't want to use anyway). You can also use the far milder mixture of vinegar and salt, which creates a free hydrochloric radical -- same stuff but works more slowly. (They used salt and vinegar to etch armor in the old days).

I haven't tried it on stainless, but another acid cleaner is sulphuric, and you can "mix your own" with sodium bisulfite, one of the powdered PH minus chemicals you can buy for adjusting the acidity in swimming pools. This cleans copper and a mess of other things. It will take limestone deposit off of plumbing too.

Another acidic cleaner you can use -- and buy if you are near a farm or dairy supply -- is the stuff they use for cleaning dairy equipment and taking off "milkstone". It's basically phosphoric acid, and cleans steel rather well, while still being relatively safe. They also (or used to) sell a similar compound under the name of "naval jelly" for getting rust off tools and such. I have heard a rumor that coca-cola will take the paint of a car -- maybe - never tried - but Coke does have phosphoric acid in it.

Ammonia is sort of a "nitrogen based" chemical, and will clean some things (sometimes surprisingly well) similar to nitric acid, although it is not acid, but alkaline, like lye (sodium hydroxide). Ammonia will also dissolve shellac, BTW, which is otherwise hard to clean up without using expensive and flammable alcohol.

Lye will dissolve grease (makes it into soap) and cleans other things (it's used as an oven cleaner), but will corrode skin, so be careful with it. It attacks aluminum rapidly, giving off hydrogen gas (explosively flammable), however, so don't it on aluminum! Lye would work well for cast iron, although you would have to re-season it -- but keep this or any other soaking things with chemicals out the way of kids, pets -- or anyone else who might stumble upon them. Maybe with a sign, in the oven?

Don't mix any of these chemicals, or add water to them (if you need to dilute them, slowly add the chemical to the water -- most generate a heat, sometimes a lot of heat, and can boil up on you). Eye protection is good in any case, when working with stong stuff. As a general rule, every extra 10 degrees of temperature of a chemical will half the time it takes to work -- but then it's also more dangerous. An art metal worker or jeweler will used mixed acids, sulphuric and hydrochloric, for pickling work after annealing it, but you doubtless don't want to do that. Mixed nitric and sulphuric as bad news, and can turn cellulose (cotton) and some other material into an explosive (like gun cotton), so don't even think about it.

If the pan is still "stained" even after it's clean, then it is most likely oxidized (dark brown looking, usually -- resulting from the combination of food and oxygen and the heat)-- chemically stained, something like copper gets tarnished. There are two ways to approach that (although I just leave it my cookware -- it still cooks fine): you can use very fine wet-dry paper or abrasive cleanser to get down to clean metal again (which is a lot of work and might mean taking a lot of metal off, thinning the pan), or try leaching out the oxide with one of the acidic cleaners (probably the sodium bisulfate / sulphuric acid would work best). You might also try one of the sulfamic acid based coffee pot cleaners. I never used a "stainless steel cleaner" from the stores, so I don't know how well it would work. I think it's best not to bother as long as the burned food is off. Stainless cleans up really well, even if there are a few stains left. For aluminum pots with burned food it might well be worth just tossing them; a non-stick pans is usually shot anyway, and there are reports that burned teflon leaves behind toxic chemicals.

Incidentally -- they sell a powdered coffeepot cleaner in Walmart for a phenominal price -- like $4 for a little container. The label says it's sodium carbonate -- washing soda! You can buy a huge box for less than that (when you find a store that sells it), and it's a good alkaline cleaner for all kinds of things, and much safer than lye. When you heat baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) in water it actually produces sodium carbonate.

It's a good basic houshold chemical to have around. But I use vinegar to clean a coffee pot, and bleach (plain old generic 5.25% sodium hypochlorite, cheaper than Chlorox brand) to get coffee and tea stains out of cups. Chlorine bleach also cleans and dissolves lots of dirty things. (Don't mix it with anything except maybe some detergent -- especially ammonia -- or you'll get clouds of toxic fumes -- but if you strongly bleach clothes and can't rinse the bleach smell out, once you've washed all that you can out you can run it through the washer with a bit of ammonia in the water and the chlorine will go into the air. any ammonia left will go out in the drying -- but you aren't going to use much anyway -- maybe a 1/4 cup in a washload). I think leaving any bleach in the clothes probably tends to rot them.

Bleach is also good as a de-greaser and sterilizer when cleaning cookware and dishes. Keep this in mind for adding to the final (hot!) rinse water especially when camping, where cleanup is more difficult. (You can also add about 10 drops per quart of water and let it sit for 1/2 hour for emergency drinking water, to kill most germs-- just a fun fact to know and tell.)

That's all (grin -- that's more than enough!)

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