Dirty Dish: Burnt on Glassware

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Dear Home Ec 101,
Any suggestions for cleaning a burned pan? It is glass, and I am hesitant to use steel wool on it. The glass cleaners don’t seem to be helping.
Bummed in Burnsville

remove burnt food from glassware

Dear Bummed in Burnsville:

Always listen to your gut. If you used the steel wool you’d remove the food, but in the process, you’d scratch the snot out of the glass. Why yes, that IS the technical term for it. All of those scratches would give food (and bacteria) lots of wonderful places to cling to and hide. So, what to do?

It’s time for our go-to, yep, we’re once again plugging Bar Keepers Friend®. Dampen the burned-on mess and sprinkle with BKF. Give it a minute to work, then scrub with a rag. Rinse, repeat. It may take a couple of passes but I’ve not seen BKF beat yet. You can find Bar Keeper’s Friend near other cleaning agents like Comet in many stores. Or you can look for a retailer on their website.

keeping the kitchen clean
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If you feel like experimenting, I have a proposition for you. I’ve run into a dryer sheet tip all over the Internet. The tip is to fill the pan with water, add 1/2 a dryer sheet and allow it to soak overnight. We don’t use dryer sheets, so I have not tested this myself. If you do, would you please report to the class with your results?

Good luck!

Got a domestic dilemma? Send it to helpme@home-ec101.com.

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19 thoughts on “Dirty Dish: Burnt on Glassware”

  1. Biological laundry detergent is brilliant on this sort of thing – fill the pan with warm water & a scoop of the detergent, stand for a couple of hours (or overnight, if, like me, you’re too lazy to do the dishes after supper) and the burnt gunk usually comes off with minimal scrubbing.


  2. I’ve often dumped some baking soda in the pan, filled it with water, brought it to boiling, and then let it simmer for…a while. Sorry, it’s not an exact science, but I swear it works! (That is, unless you forget about the simmer soda-water and let it boil down to nothing. Then you’re kinda back where you started. Not that I’ve done that. No sir.)

  3. The dryer sheet thing works……! I had a pyrex lasagna pan that had an old black burn mark on it from last fall. I tried to scrub it off to absolutely no avail. Left it sitting overnight with a dryer sheet soaking and the next morning I was able to remove the entire stain with very little effort (probably soaked a good 14 hours). I made sure to really rinse, rinse, rinse that pan to get the residue off. And we were using store-brand dryer sheets.

  4. I usually use dish soap (like dawn) and water and boil it on the stove for about 10-15 minutes. There’s typically a little bit of scrubbing but not much more than you would put into a typical dish washing.

  5. My husband burned cheese onto a stainless pain, and Barkeeper’s Friend has not worked for me, even after several passes and letting it sit overnight on two separate nights. I also tried boiling baking soda and water in it and letting THAT sit overnight. I’m going to try the dryer sheet today. If THAT doesn’t work, the pan will have to go in the trash…such a bummer!

    • I’ve used Cameo Stainless Steel cleaner on my pots since 1973 and they look like they did from day one! Just recently Cameo combined their Stainless Steel cleaner with their Copper Cleaner, not sure why but I hope it continues to do the job!

  6. I’ve had luck using oven cleaner on glass. If that doesn’t get it all, the cleaner of last resort I use for burned on carbon marks is Brasso. Yes, even on glass. Use whatever method to remove the majority of the mess until you are down to the black carbon. You can use a razor blade to carefully scrape glass without damage but it will scratch metal no matter how carefully you scrape. Then get a paper towel and some Brasso and polish hard. It takes out everything but may leave an extra-shiny spot. Don’t worry, after a couple of uses, the shiny spot will go away. Be sure to wash the dish well with dish soap afterwards.

  7. Method I use is to heat pure (and cheap) vinegar just before it starts to boil, put it in your pan, and leave it for several hours. The acid will dissolve everything but the glass, leaving it sparkling clean (lemon juice would also work, but its weaker and it would mean using a lot of lemons, expensive).

  8. I subscribe to your feedburner feed and the last post I received in my reader is from July 7th. Don’t know if the problem is on your end or mine?

  9. This is off topic, but I've noticed you can basically clean anything with baking soda. I have never owned a box of baking soda (Nor has my mom, who is so NOT the cleaning type, I learned everything from my dad, who is a huge slob as well) and I don't really know what to do with it. I use toilet bowl cleaner for my toilets, soap scub gunk for my showers, i scrub my arms off to get crap out of pans, and as a last resort I throw it away. Can you do a post on the many uses of baking soda? It's cheaper than most cleaning products, and might be a *frugal way to clean *:)

  10. I used the fabric softener tip on an extremely burned glass sauce pan last night. It got all but the very worst of the gunk off, and next I’ll try baking soda! Definitely easier to do than baking soda paste!


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