Crusty pots and pans come clean with an overnight dishwasher detergent soak

If you’ve got big plans for cooking an Easter or Passover dinner, keep Anishka’s pot-washing tip in mind:

I do a lot of cooking on weekends for when company comes and I’ve given up my non-stick pans after seeing some crazy reports about Teflon. I love my cookware but it can be a pain to clean — even with soaking (fill pot with water, add squirt of dishwashing liquid, let sit overnight) they still require a bit of elbow grease. One day, I was staring at the label on a container of natural dishwasher detergent and noticed that one of the ingredients (I now forget which) was defined as a “food dissolver.” So, instead of soaking my pans with liquid dishwashing soap like usual, I used a teaspoon of dishwasher detergent mixed with hot water and let it sit overnight. The next day, all of the food was dissolved–no scrubbing necessary–even the scrambled eggs and the roasting pan came clean with just a soapy rinse and a wipe.

Related: Can you clean a computer keyboard in the dishwasher? Talk amongst yourselves.


  1. Biz says

    Another great idea for removing that stuck-on food is a laundry dryer sheet! Soak the pan with water and a dryer sheet, and the food magically removes itself from the pan!

  2. says

    I was going to suggest mixing laundry and dishwashing the other way- add dishwasher detergent to the laundry for really stained loads of clothes. Don’t do it regularly since its hard on them but if you want to get some items ready for resale, its a good way to perk them up.

  3. says

    I really like the green pan and it is super non stick(so much so that the first time it was a tad tricky keeping things in the pan). It is PTFE free and uses minerals as the coating.

  4. Doran Robinson says

    Best solution for caked/burnt on food on non-stick cookware is to fill the pan with water and a little bit of dishsoap and then put back on the stove. When the cookware is brought back to the cooking temp, the food comes right off with an easy pass of a spatula. Works EVERY time.

  5. Sarah E says

    If my dishes have stuck-on food, I fill up the dishwasher and turn it on for about ten minutes and then turn it off and keep it closed. The hot water and detergent sits on the dishes and loosens the grime. After a half hour or so, I just turn it back on and everything seems to be perfectly clean when the cycle is over. We also just bought a new dishwasher that has a disposal in the bottom and you don’t need to pre-rinse at all (lots of newer dishwashers have this feature). I LOVE it. As much as you can love a dishwasher. :)

  6. says

    Dawn Power Dissolver! I burnt the caramel from some sticky rolls onto a baking sheet the other week (p.s., don’t follow the directions when it says to put the sticky side down!) and it would NOT come off in the dishwasher or with elbow grease. I sprayed it with the dissolver and left it for an hour or so, and, while it did take some more elbow grease, it all came off with a regular dish sponge then. It’s a little expensive, though, so I am really glad to hear of the dishwasher powder detergent solution — I always have that on hand. And Doran’s tip is right on… If you can clean it while the pan is hot, much, much the better. If not, reheating always works :-)

  7. stacy says

    the most amazing trick i found for burned-on food in pans was to add a thin level of coke and then boil it. It’s a little creepy (think of what it does to your insides!) but it WORKS. I had an apple-butter disaster and this solved it.

    baking soda and vinegar is also a good trick for cleaning most anything, from dishes to clearing minor clogs from drains

  8. anishka says

    Jill in Atlanta:
    Your hack worked wonders on my laundry! In particular the blood stain (I know, ew!) on a white shirt!! I’m not a big fan of bleach and am always looking for good stain removers. Thank you!!!~Anishka