How to Clean Baked On Grease from Aluminum Pans: Tips and Tricks That Work

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Last updatedLast updated: May 20, 2022
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Whether you’re using aluminum pans for pancakes or the larger baking sheets, you’ll eventually notice a buildup of grease and grime that doesn’t seem to go away, no matter how often you wash them. If you don’t know how to clean baked-on grease from aluminum pans, this issue will only get worse over time until your pans are so weathered that they will need to be replaced.

Luckily, there are several safe methods that you can try at home to get rid of those brown grease and food stains, giving your stackable pots and pans and your aluminum bakeware new life. Many of these methods are easy to try out using items you likely already have in your kitchen at home, so you don’t need to worry about buying any expensive cleansers for this task unless you want to. If you’ve got a few aluminum pans at home that are in desperate need of some TLC, check out the following cleaning methods.

Best (and cheapest) ways to get rid of baked-on grease

Getting rid of the baked-on grease from your cookware sets or bakeware is easier than you may think. You do need to be careful, though, since aluminum is a lightweight metal that attracts grease, plus it can oxidize if it isn’t cleaned properly, making it unsafe to use. The following methods are all safe ways to clean your aluminum pans without risking damage to them. These options also don’t cost a lot and include products commonly found in most kitchens.

Method 1: baking soda and foil

For stuck-on grease, you can make a mixture of 3 teaspoons of baking soda and half a cup of water. Mixing these should make a paste, which you can then spread onto the pan. You can leave it to soak for those persistent stains, though it isn’t necessary for new ones.

Take some aluminum foil and crumple it into a loose ball. Use this foil to scrub the pan, moving in circles around the entire area. If the ball starts to flatten, turn it in your hand as needed for a better scrubbing piece.

When all of the grime is scrubbed away, rinse the baking soda paste from the pan. Then wash it with some warm, soapy water and dry it thoroughly before putting it away.

Method 2: baking soda and hydrogen peroxide

How to Clean Baked On Grease from Aluminum Pans: Tips and Tricks That Work

A mixture of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide is another good method for removing baked-on grease from aluminum pans. First, sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda over the entire surface of your aluminum pan. Then, using a spray bottle, spray the hydrogen peroxide over the baking soda, making sure all of the powder is wet.

Leave the mixture in the pan overnight to soak in and loosen up the grease residue. In the morning, scrape the baking soda mixture into a small pile using a plastic scraper. Throw this mixture away. Use warm, soapy water and a scrubby sponge to wash the pan, then dry it completely.

Method 3: ketchup

How to Clean Baked On Grease from Aluminum Pans: Tips and Tricks That Work

Though it seems unconventional to use ketchup to clean your aluminum pans, the acidity of this condiment can actually break the bond between the grease and the pan. This method is also quite simple, so your pans will be clean in no time.

Pour some ketchup into the pan and put it on our stove, bringing the ketchup to a boil for about 10 minutes. Then remove the pan from the heat and let it cool. Use a scouring pad to scrub the greasy areas and then rinse the pan using warm, soapy water. This will remove all the ketchup residue. Rinse it again with clean water and dry the pan.

Method 4: lemon juice and vinegar

Lemon juice and vinegar are both acidic, so they are great options for removing built-up grease from any of your aluminum pans. Combine these two liquids in the pan and place it on your stove. Bring it to a boil and leave it for about 10 minutes, then remove it from the heat. After it cools, use a scouring pad to scrub the stains. Dump out the mixture, then wash the pan in warm, soapy water to get rid of any leftover residue.

How to Clean Baked On Grease from Aluminum Pans: Tips and Tricks That Work

If this solution doesn’t remove all of the greasy buildup, you can try using lemon juice on its own. Use the same method as with the vinegar and lemon juice mixture for cleaning. Then dry the pan and store it away.

Method 5: cream of tartar

Cream of tartar isn’t just for cooking or baking. You can also use it to clean the baked-on grease from aluminum pans. To start, mix 3 parts cream of tartar with 1 part water to make a solution. Then apply it to the surface of the pan and let it soak for about 10-15 minutes. Use a scouring pad to scrub the greasy areas until they are all gone. Wash the pan in warm, soapy water, then rinse it with clean water and dry it completely.

Method 6: Salt and water

A simple mixture of salt and water can also help to remove those heavy grease stains from your aluminum pans. Fill the aluminum pot or pan with water so that all of the greasy areas are covered, then add 2 teaspoons of salt to the water. Let the saltwater mixture boil for 15-20 minutes. Pour the liquid out of the pan. Let it cool, then wash it with warm, soapy water, using a scouring pad to get rid of any leftover residue.

Not only will this method get rid of any baked-on grease, but it will also help to remove any discolorations on the aluminum pans. When your pan is clean and dry, it should be sparkling like a brand new piece of cookware.

Specialty cleansers that work

The methods we described above are great for cleaning baked-on grease from your aluminum pans and pots but there are also a few specialty cleansers that you can try out to get your pans as shiny as new ones.

One option is a dedicated aluminum cleaner, like the All-Clad 00942 Stainless Steel/Aluminum Cookware Cleanser and Polish, which contains natural minerals and environmentally-friendly ingredients.

How to Clean Baked On Grease from Aluminum Pans: Tips and Tricks That Work

These cleaners are designed specifically to clean these types of metal, so you can use them on all of your cookware and any other stainless steel or aluminum items in your home. These cleaners can be abrasive, though, so it is best to be careful when using them to avoid damaging any of your stainless steel or aluminum items.

Be sure to wash the pans well after using any type of cleaner. Though they are designed to clean, they are not safe for the human body, so a thorough cleaning after using any type of chemical on your pans is a must to prevent accidental ingestion.

Which products to avoid when cleaning your aluminum pans?

When cleaning your aluminum pans, it is best to avoid using steel wool since this could damage the metal. Some scouring pads even include such abrasive areas on them, so be sure to avoid these. When choosing a scrubbing pad to clean your pans, check to make sure that it is aluminum-safe before buying it.

You should also avoid using bleach or oven cleaner on your aluminum pans. These harsh cleansers can damage the aluminum, eating into the metal and causing pitting. This will make your aluminum pans unusable, so unless you want to replace a perfectly good set of pots or pans, don’t use these types of cleansers.

Another thing to avoid for cleaning your aluminum pans is the dishwasher. Many people put their pans in their dishwashers to make cleanup easier but this isn’t a great option. Though aluminum can handle the high heat, leaving them in the dishwasher can cause them to tarnish, plus it may not be effective in getting rid of those stubborn grease stains.

How to prolong your aluminum pans’ lifespan?

Prolonging your aluminum pans’ lifespan is easier than you may think. It just involves taking care of them and cleaning them as well as possible every time you use them. Hand washing your pans is the best method to get rid of the everyday buildup of food particles and grease, though you should avoid letting them soak in soapy water for too long. Though this may help to loosen up the greasy residue, it can cause discolorations in the pans that you may not be able to get rid of.

Using one of the above methods to remove the baked-on grease from your aluminum pans is also a good idea. The more often you use the pan, the more buildup you’re going to be dealing with, so using these methods will make the job of removing that grease easier than trying to scrub off a month’s worth of grease all at once.

Make sure to dry your aluminum pans well right after washing them. This will prevent any water damage or discolorations in the metal, so your pan will last as long as possible. Store them in a cool, dry area to prevent any moisture from discoloring the metal.

Final thoughts

How to Clean Baked On Grease from Aluminum Pans: Tips and Tricks That Work

Aluminum pans are a great option for cooking since they heat up fast and can handle the higher temperatures of an oven. The downside to this type of cookware is that they are also grease magnets, so anything you cook on them will be more difficult to remove from the pan when the meal is over.

Luckily, there are many methods for how to clean baked-on grease from aluminum pans, using ingredients like baking soda, vinegar, ketchup, and a few other items most people already have at home. This makes it easy to get your aluminum pans looking like new in no time. These methods are also cheaper and safer than harmful cleaners, so you don’t need to sacrifice your family’s health to keep your pans as clean as possible. Best of all, these methods ensure that your pans last for years.

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