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Whether you jacked up your burner heat too high, skimped on cooking oil or forgot you left food on the stove—eek!—it’s surprisingly easy to burn a pot or pan. But there’s no reason to cry over burnt milk, meat or other unidentifiable stains, because there are plenty of ways to clean a burnt pot and get rid of singed food and the discoloration that can result from any number of kitchen fails.

  Got a Burnt Pot? No, You Don't Have to Throw It Away—Here's Your Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning It © Provided by Parade

First things first: Dishwashing pots and pans is a no-go—particularly if your cookware is aluminum, says Vera Peterson, president of Molly Maid, a Neighborly company. “Aluminum may darken in the dishwasher as it reacts to minerals in the water or a number of other factors including the type of soap used,” she says.

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So, time to get out your kitchen gloves and get to it!

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How To Clean a Burnt Pot

What You’ll Need:

  • Kitchen gloves
  • Hot water
  • Liquid dishwasher detergent or dish soap
  • Baking soda
  • Scrubbing brush or coarse sponge
  • Vinegar
  • Towel or rag

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Step-by-Step Guide:

  1. Put on rubber gloves to keep your hands safe from grease and oil. Fill the dirty pot or pan with hot water and a few drops of the detergent.
  2. Let the pan soak for anywhere between 20 minutes and two hours, depending on the dish’s dirtiness. If you’re cleaning a regular (not a nonstick) stovetop pan or pot, put the pan over a burner set on high to speed up the degreasing process.
  3. After soaking, empty the water and pour some baking soda into the pan. Using a wet, coarse sponge or brush and a few drops of dish soap, scrub the pot firmly.
  4. Using hot water again, wash the soap off your pot. If there’s still some residue, repeat until clean. Or, for the toughest stains, cover the surface area of the pot with baking soda and pour vinegar into it.
  5. Wait while the chemical reaction occurs, then wipe with a soapy sponge.

Use a dry rag to wipe away the remaining water before storing.

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More Secret Weapons for Cleaning Burnt Pots

High-quality cookware

“If you buy inexpensive pots and pans,” Peterson says, “they don’t heat as well and often need to be replaced sooner than ones that cost more money and are made of a more heat-resistant material.”

A gentle touch

Believe it or not, harsh cleaners and aggressive scrubbing aren’t needed typically to revive burnt pots and pans. The process above requires no commercial-grade cleaning ingredients and will help loosen debris without excessive elbow grease.

Dryer sheets

In a pinch, dryer sheets can be used as a hack for removing burnt food from pots and pans if the approach above doesn’t do it. Just fill your pan with lukewarm water and add a fresh dryer sheet, then let it sit overnight. In the morning, you’ll find that it’s much easier to scrub off remaining debris, Peterson says.

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Soda

Yes, we’re talking Coke and Pepsi—Peterson swears the acid in soda can help remove burnt stains from pots. Just pour in a can, let it sit overnight, and try to peel your jaw off the kitchen countertop when the stains practically wipe themselves away the next morning.

Hot water

The hotter the water, the better, since it can help cut through tough messes, Peterson says.

Cold water

The only exception to the rule above should be applied when cleaning dairy, which tends to grow stickier with warm water, according to Peterson, who prefers cold water for cleaning cheesy dishes.

Vinegar

A mixture of one part vinegar and two parts water can help cure discoloration, Peterson says. Boil on low to medium heat for about 10 to 15 minutes, then wash with warm soapy water, rinse and towel dry.

Lemon juice

Like vinegar, the acidity in lemon juice can help restore aluminum pots and pans. (Just swap in lemon juice for vinegar and follow the directions above.)

Read Next: ​​10 Cleaning Hacks to Save You Time and Money

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The debate over the legalization of marijuana has been heating up around the country. Some insist smoking pot is safe and can be a solution for those with pain and illness. However, others claim cannabis can induce psychosis and, with legalization, more teens may have access to the drug. Dr. Roneet Lev, an ER physician at Scripps Mercy Hospital in San Diego, says Americans are being misled about how dangerous marijuana and high-THC products are. “The number one poisoning in children in the United States, in babies under the age of 5, is THC,” Dr. Lev says. “If you look at completed teen suicides, you have way more deaths with THC, the active component in marijuana, than you do from alcohol.” Major Neill Franklin, a 34-year law enforcement veteran of the Maryland State and Baltimore Police Departments, insists that legalization is protecting children. “You can’t regulate anything that is prohibited. You just turn all control over to the cartels, organized crime, gangs and crews that bring gun violence and other violence into our communities,” Franklin says. “I can guarantee you one thing, under prohibition, our kids are at serious risk, and this is about risk management.” Dr. Lev, Franklin, and marijuana policymaker Karen O’Keefe engage in a lively discussion in the video above. On Friday’s episode of Dr. Phil, “Is America Too High on Marijuana?” hear from a mother who claims she lost her teenage son due to the legalization of marijuana. Check local listings to see where you can watch. WATCH: Woman Says Legalizing Marijuana Will Make The World ‘A Better Place’ TELL DR.

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