Have you ever walked away from a pot on the stove, made yourself busy with another task, and returned to a burnt mess? I did that a little while ago. I was prepping some chili in my mother-in-law’s stock pot. I turned the dial to ‘high’, walked away to fold laundry, and came back to a boiling pot of chili with a crispy bottom of herbs, tomatoes and ground beef. Whoops!

Lucky for me, the chili was not destroyed (which would have made me cry, seeing as it contained 6 pounds of ground beef and enough vegetables and canned tomatoes to feed a small army!!!), it just tasted a little “smoky”. Not a bad thing. But when I transferred the chili to a couple smaller pots to finish the simmering process, I found a terrible mess in the bottom of the stock pot.

This is after ‘cleaning’ the pot the first time, and scraping off a thick mess of burnt stuff.

Seeing as it belongs to my mother-in-law, I knew I had to put some serious elbow grease into the matter to reverse my mistake and return the pot in top notch condition. I hate borrowing items and returning them in less-than-perfect condition.

So I did some research, double checked my sources, and then went to work.

The process is super simple, but did require a little elbow grease, and some good hand lotion when I was done, but the results were amazing!

All you need is a little water, vinegar, baking soda, and a good scrubber. I used one of my Pampered Chef nylon scrapers because those things can clean ANYTHING!!!

First of all, grab your pot and put in equal parts of hot water and vinegar. I used 1 1/2 cups each so there was about 1 – 2 cm of liquid in the bottom of the pot.

Equal parts of hot water and vinegar

Put the pot on the stove and bring it to a rolling boil. Turn off the heat and add a few heaping tablespoons of baking soda. This will fizz, which means it’s working its magic.

I let the pot sit for about a minute and then dumped the liquid down the drain. I then put a little warm water in the bottom of the pot, grabbed my nylon scraper and went to work.

After the first bit of ‘crust’ came off, I sprinkled some more baking soda in the pot and let it sit for a minute or so. I then went back to work, scraping everything away. I did this step a couple more times until eventually it was almost entirely clean.

I washed the pot really well with hot soapy water and then smiled a great big smile of relief to see how well it worked.

I love this method of cleaning pots because the baking soda is gritty enough to remove baked on mess, without damaging the cookware. What’s dumped in the sink can also help clean the sink as your washing everything away.

Be sure to give the pot and sink a really good rinse when you’re done to avoid any sort of film, and then dry everything with a soft cloth to avoid water marks.

Have you ever tried this method before? Has it worked? Or do you have another way of dealing with pesky kitchen messes?

What you need:

1 1/2 cup Hot water
1 1/2 cup White Vinegar
3 heaping tablespoons Baking Soda + more for sprinkling

Pour equal amounts of hot water and vinegar into the pot or pan. Bring pot to a boil on the stove. Once boiling, turn off the heat and add baking soda. This will fizz. Let sit for about a minute. Pour mixture down the drain. Add some warm water and start scraping.
If some stuff will not come off, sprinkle with more baking soda and let sit for a minute. Continue scraping until everything comes off. Wash pot and sink with warm soapy water. Rinse well and dry with soft towel.