For some people, cooking is one of the great pleasures of life. It’s a few moments of mindlessness in the midst of a hectic day. You can even stretch your creative muscles by spicing up a favorite dish. Cooking and baking can be downright peaceful. That is, until it’s time to clean.

How is it that just one meal can create so much mess? Even if you absolutely hate cooking, you’re probably forced to do it at least once in a while. You can spend what feels like hours trying to scrub the evidence of your feast from pots and pans, often to no avail.

But getting your cookware back to its former glory isn’t impossible. In fact, if you do it right, you won’t need to do nearly as much scrubbing. That’s not good news for your arm muscle gains, but you can spend the extra time you save doing sets at the gym. Or just sitting on the couch and doing bicep curls with the remote. We don’t judge. Without further ado, here’s some of our advice for cleaning any type of cookware you might have on the shelf.

Stainless steel

Stainless steel cookware and bakeware is beautiful to look at. A quality piece can cook your food more evenly and last a lifetime. But because the surface is not non-stick, food easily gets baked on and becomes impossible to remove.

Stainless steel pans are easiest to clean when they’re still hot. The caveat is that you need to clean them with warm water. That’s because the cold temperature of the water can warp a hot pan. If you don’t want to take that chance, let your cookware come to room temperature before you try to clean it.

Use a scrubbing brush or sponge to lift the stains, preferably one with a handle so you don’t burn your hands. If you need a little extra help, try sprinkling baking soda or a similar cleaner across the surface of the pan. Add a small amount of water to create a paste and let it sit for fifteen minutes. The cleaner will make it easier to scrub the stain away.


Cleaning nonstick cookware is similar to stainless steel. The major difference is that they need to be cared for more gently. That’s because you want to avoid doing anything that might remove the nonstick coating. That means no abrasive cleaners, like baking soda, and no harsh scouring pads. Because nonstick cookware needs to be treated more gently, it’s important to clean stains as soon as they occur, rather than letting them build over time.

Cast Iron

Many people love cast iron cookware. It’s made from heavy-duty material, making it more versatile and able to withstand heat. But cleaning it can be a pain. You can’t leave water in a cast iron or it will rust. You can’t use any abrasive tools or cleaners. They have to be washed by hand. So, how is one to keep it clean?

The best way to do it is to harness the power of heat. For any baked-on messes, pour some water in the pot or pan and let it come to a boil. You can clean it off afterward with a soft dish brush and a small amount of soap so that you don’t take off the seasoning. A chainmail scrubber can help you attack more difficult areas without harming the cast iron.

No matter what type of cookware you have in your home, the key to using it most effectively starts with how you clean it. If you clean your pots and pans well, you can extend their life and create better meals with them. Use these helpful tips to clean smarter. Happy cooking!