Burnt Sugar.

@thea09 (18324)
Greece
December 26, 2009 12:54pm CST
Any ideas how to remove this black burnt mess from the bottom of my large stainless steel pan. I've soaked it and scrubbed it and followed Sandra's advice of boiling it on the hob with water and washing up liquid in it. The blackened mess has become a little less large but thats it. How do I get my pan back in a usable state please?
9 people like this
28 responses
• United States
26 Dec 09
I usually soak it in hot, soapy water and use a scrubber (oops, I meant "scouring pad") on it until it comes off. If that does not work, then I try putting dish soap and water in the pan and boiling it, and then letting it sit to cool down and loosen the burnt part. I have also heard that lemon and vinegar works to dissolve the burned sugar, but I have not tried that. It might do the trick, though, especially since it is a citrus product that caused the residue in the first place.
3 people like this
@thea09 (18324)
• Greece
26 Dec 09
Hi Purple, I've done the first bit but admittedly the scrubbing part didn't have a lot of energy in it - well the pan is quite deep. How does dish soap differ to hot soapy water, is it not the same as washing up liquid? I was going to try the suggested vinegar with bicarb tomorrow but now I'll stick a lemon in it as well. All this tedium to contend with just because I turned my back on the boiling marmalade for a mo'.
1 person likes this
• United States
26 Dec 09
The hot, soapy water helps to loosen and dissolve the stuck-on food particles. If that is not strong enough, though, then pouring the dish soap directly on the burned part makes it more concentrated. Then, adding enough water to cover the bottom of the pan and heating it until it boils increases the ability of the dish soap to work on the stuck-on particles. As you know, heating causes a chemical reaction that allows things to dissolve easier, and the hot water that comes from your sink might not be hot enough to cause the necessary reaction, especially if it is cool enough for you to stick your hands into.
2 people like this
@GardenGerty (98217)
• United States
26 Dec 09
If you mix baking soda with vinegar, or lemon juice, you will get a bubbly concoction. That is what kids use to make their science models of volcanoes. I hope you get it all off somehow.
1 person likes this
@mysdianait (64059)
• Italy
26 Dec 09
I think if you put a Paypal donation button on your profile we can all contribute to a new one and you can throw that one away
2 people like this
@thea09 (18324)
• Greece
26 Dec 09
Hi Mys, it looks very salvagable, just black on most of the bottom inside. And it's a very big pan. I don't need a paypal pan thanks.
2 people like this
@mysdianait (64059)
• Italy
26 Dec 09
Was only trying to help if all else fails
1 person likes this
@pupupd (1521)
• India
27 Dec 09
Lol funny suggestion, I liked it and I will give it a thought next time I face a problem with any of my devices! Thanks in advance to all my friends who will contribute!
@matersfish (6311)
• United States
26 Dec 09
Seems to me if should have come off by now. Usually just soaking it in regular water will dissolve the sugar, burnt or not. Hmm. If you have a good-quality pan, try putting that sucker on uber-high heat without anything in it and burning that stuff off completely. If that doesn't work, I don't think there's another fix. It doesn't make that much sense. Sugar shouldn't be so hard to remove. Maybe take a butter knife and scrape every last bit off.
2 people like this
@thea09 (18324)
• Greece
26 Dec 09
I should have explained, it was at the very bottom of the marmalade I was boiling. I never thought of putting the empty pan on the heat, won't that just burn it more?
1 person likes this
@thea09 (18324)
• Greece
26 Dec 09
I'm going to opt for the boiling in vinegar method first, but if that doesn't work I'll keep this in mind. Don't you ever wash your pan out between making tea?
@pupupd (1521)
• India
27 Dec 09
The thing has got really concentrated now, some special utensil soap and scrubber can remove it.
@cynthiann (18619)
• Jamaica
28 Dec 09
If you haven't got the mess out by now then bin it.
2 people like this
@thea09 (18324)
• Greece
28 Dec 09
Aunty got it out for me.
1 person likes this
@bounce58 (17524)
• Canada
26 Dec 09
Hi thea09! I too have a pan that has a burnt sugar design at the bottom. But I have long given up on it. I just think that it adds character to my tools. It looks like some kind of map. So now I just use it through whatever I am cooking. Surprisingly, I haven't noticed any sweetness or burnt flavor added to the dishes I've prepared.
@thea09 (18324)
• Greece
26 Dec 09
Hi bounce, well I'm sure if I try boiling off the next batch of marmalade in it then all the burnt black bits will come off into the marmalade. It doesn't smell of anything except washing up liquid.
1 person likes this
• United States
26 Dec 09
I remember reading some time ago about using Hydrogen Peroxide to dissolve burnt sugar on pans. You use it full strength and boil it. I can't remember if you try to chip it off at the same time or not though but I don't think it would hurt. Good luck!
@thea09 (18324)
• Greece
26 Dec 09
Hi, gosh that sounds a bit extreme, isn't that the stuff they use very very sparingly to make teeth go white? I know you have to buy it at the pharmacy so I'd need to check what else it is used for first as the pharmacist is the biggest gossip around.
1 person likes this
@Hatley (164670)
• Garden Grove, California
26 Dec 09
thea I do know that scouring powder and hot water work to get the burned black stuff off as I rescued my stainless steel pan so I could use it again that way.took a couple of hours but it all came off.
@ANTIQUELADY (36489)
• United States
26 Dec 09
Thea,why do u worry about all that gossip they do. I think they must all be busy bodies. Don't u know by now if people want to talk about u they will whether they know anything about u or not. I'd tell them all to go to the devil putting it nicelt, u see. lol.
@artistry (4154)
• United States
26 Dec 09
...Hi thea, Not sure this will work, but worth trying. Get a bottle of vinegar, pour it in the pan with some water and boil, few treatments of vinegar and water boiled down might just do it. You'll know if it is working from the first time effort you make. I used to make candy with sugar, vinegar and water and it would seem that the vinegar would be able tp loosen up the hard sugar. Good luck, report back if you would. Thanks, take it easy.
1 person likes this
@thea09 (18324)
• Greece
26 Dec 09
Hi Artistry, vinegar is proving popular now as a solution and its first on the list of things to try in the morning. I know if I just go ahead and boil more marmalade up as it is then all the black bits will suddenly come off and get into the marmalade.
1 person likes this
@zed_k4 (17627)
• Singapore
27 Dec 09
Vinegar and marmalade.. nice mix!
@sid556 (31006)
• United States
27 Dec 09
Baking Soda!!!! Do the Baking soda....it only takes once. bring it to a boil and let it set a couple of hours and your good to go. Vinegar is good for coffee pots.
• United States
26 Dec 09
Hi Thea, everywhere I looked, it pretty much said the same as everyone responded, boiling, baking soda, etc. Although, one website suggested freezing the pan and the black stuff is supposed to come off due to the difference in material freezing? I have never heard of doing that before but thought I'd let you know what I found. Hmmm, well, what the heck give it a try if all else fails.
1 person likes this
• United States
26 Dec 09
I had to look it up because I needed an original response. Too bad you can't try it out. I thought everyone had freezers to fit bodies? (smile)
@thea09 (18324)
• Greece
26 Dec 09
Not at all I'm afriad. Don't you need those creepy basements to keep them in?
• United States
26 Dec 09
Yes, Thea, it's also where the "illegal alien" (remember that discussion) turns up to ask for help. I wonder though, if they saw a freezer in the basement would they think the same way we do?
@Hatley (164670)
• Garden Grove, California
26 Dec 09
hi thea I had the same thing happen to me when I was cooking rice and the pan burned dry. I knew my son was going to have a fit if he saw that expensive stainless steel pan so I soaked it in water,some came off but not much. then I got the container of scouring powder and a scrubee and after about an hour or so of hard scrubbing I loosened the crap little by little and finally got it all off. but wow what an afternoon and all my son said was wow that pot's sure shiny.well darned right it should have been as long as I had been scrubbing the darned thing. He gave me that set of stainless for Christmas one year. well now its all in storage and I dont even get to cook anything.
1 person likes this
@thea09 (18324)
• Greece
26 Dec 09
Hi Hatley, burnt rice is a regular of mine and it does come off quite easily if left to soak, I've certainly never contemplated scrubbing anything for a whole hour though I've threatend my son with it when he's got out of the shower still mucky. At least you've still got your pans in storage and one day soon you'll be reunited. I bet you'll be complaining about having to cook again, then again maybe not if they keep cooking you candied potatoes.
@Hatley (164670)
• Garden Grove, California
26 Dec 09
oh my yes and I vow this time I am going to plan ahead and when I see that on the menu I will opt for the grilled cheese sandwich instead. I finally got my blood sugar down by exercising vigorously for about forty five minutes along with the diabetes pills I took with the meal, it came down to normal. but no more, I or rather my pancreas cannot handle that sort of holiday meal so I do know better but sometimes you just want to be like everyone else which I know is a cop out. he he.
@thea09 (18324)
• Greece
26 Dec 09
Well it sounds like you paid the price for eating it Hatley, frankly I thought it sounded like a sickly mess.
@jb78000 (15173)
26 Dec 09
you have tried wire wool i take it? chipping it off with a hammer and chisel?
1 person likes this
@thea09 (18324)
• Greece
26 Dec 09
That's what I was scrubbing it with. Hasn't worked.
1 person likes this
@pupupd (1521)
• India
27 Dec 09
wouldn't it damage the utensil further? If you use hammer and such heavy tools on expensive pans, they might get scratches.
@Barb42 (4217)
• United States
27 Dec 09
You should never use steel wool on stainless steel. It will leave scratch marks. The best thing to really clean out the spots and even burns on the bottom of stainless steel pots is a stainless steel cleaner. I use Cameo now, but used one in a yellow container for years but can't find it anymore. I have waterless stainless steel and this cleans them like new. You can wet the bottom of your pan, sprinkle this on, and then use a wet cloth to scrub it out and it doesn't leave marks.
@zed_k4 (17627)
• Singapore
27 Dec 09
My mom hates that, and she will complain to me sometimes of the mess at the bottom too. It can be from burnt sugar, burnt anything; in fact. I have a perfect solution. I told her to go get a new pan. And she told me; so every-time her pan gets soaked with black soot, she has to go buy a new one? She's gleaming.. and I was already thinking how many pans she would need just for one year, LOL. Short story at its best. How's that. A true story, but a short one..
1 person likes this
@thea09 (18324)
• Greece
27 Dec 09
Good story Zed, did it hurt much when mama hit you over the head with one of her gleaming pans? Next time you can clean mama's pan by boiling some vinegar in it for her and then tell her you've bought her a new pan.
@zed_k4 (17627)
• Singapore
28 Dec 09
Wakkakakak..then it will be zed and the frying pan... Oh yeah. Reminds me of the story before something2x with the saucepan.. can't remember the exact title. It rhymes anyway! LOL..
@ANTIQUELADY (36489)
• United States
26 Dec 09
Yassou niece, When i pull something like that i do what my bigmama told me to do a long time ago. Pour vinegar in the pan & heat it. It will not smell good but usually works well. U may have to do it more than once. I hate it when i do things like that. Good luck.
@thea09 (18324)
• Greece
26 Dec 09
Hi Aunty, is that just vinegar only in the pan or squirted into boiling water. I'm used to the smell of vinegar as it's used all the time over here for bizarre things. You're the first one to suggest vinegar on it's own but it worked for destroying the builder bees nest after all. Thanks for the tip there, I think I'll try that one first of all.
1 person likes this
@ANTIQUELADY (36489)
• United States
26 Dec 09
I started to tell u this in your first discussion but she said u were going to try one of the suggestions u had gotten so kept my big mouth shut, lol. PUT A WHOLE LOT OF VINEGAR & JUST A LITTLE WATER & JUST LET IT BOIL FOR AWHILE. As i said u may have to do it more than once. aunty.
@ANTIQUELADY (36489)
• United States
27 Dec 09
Hope it solves the problem. If everything else fails ask for your aunty's ideas. lol
@gabs8513 (48717)
• United Kingdom
4 Jan 10
Wow Thea how did you manage to do that I would have said the same as Sandra as that normally works I hope someone can give you an Idea as I really can not think of any other way
@thea09 (18324)
• Greece
4 Jan 10
Hi gabs, it was sorted the same day I posted as Aunty suggested boiling vinegar up in the pan and that worked a treat.
1 person likes this
@gabs8513 (48717)
• United Kingdom
4 Jan 10
I forgot about the Vinegar trick lol oh well I am so glad that you got it sorted
@thea09 (18324)
• Greece
4 Jan 10
Aunty knew best.
@Thoroughrob (11750)
• United States
27 Dec 09
We used barbecue sauce at work. It eats the black off of pans. I would cover the bottom of the pan with it and leave it overnight. Makes you wonder what it does to our stomach.
@thea09 (18324)
• Greece
27 Dec 09
Hi Thoroughrob, well that's the most unusual suggestion I've heard so far. It seems a bit over the top though to whip up a batch of barbecue sauce just to try and clean a pan with. I don't make it any more as the butchers don't sell spare ribs here. I used the tip for boiling vinegar in the pan and it worked a treat.
@owlwings (39101)
• Cambridge, England
27 Dec 09
Barbecue sauce contains vinegar and a thickener which would help it cover and adhere to the stain. I suspect that a paste of vinegar and flour would be equally effective (but, of course, barbecue sauce may be more readily to hand).
@thea09 (18324)
• Greece
27 Dec 09
I've only ever made my own barbecued sauce and I don't put vinegar in it. I doubt that they sell bottles of it over here as no one would eat it as it wasn't invented by Greeks.
@sid556 (31006)
• United States
27 Dec 09
Hi theo... Baking soda is what you need. Pour baking soda into a pan...at least 1/4 c. depending on how bad the mess is. Add water and boil. Then let set for a couple of hours.....it should clean up real well. If not...repeat the process. I've used this for burnt on mac & cheese....toughest mess you can get. It works great and is cheap.
@thea09 (18324)
• Greece
27 Dec 09
Come on Sid own up, you own a baking soda company don't you? I'm pretty sure that what you call baking soda we call bicarbonate of soda. The only thing I keep it in for baking is home made ginger biscuits. Anyway your solution was second choice if the boiling of vinegar didn't work but it did, in ten little minutes. You'll have to try it next time and see if its quicker. You've been great fun on here.
@sid556 (31006)
• United States
27 Dec 09
oh all right....i confess BUT it does work.
@thea09 (18324)
• Greece
27 Dec 09
• United States
27 Dec 09
about the only thing you can do is keep soaking it with hot water,scrape it, do it again.it will come off eventually. we used to do this when i worked in a hotel kitchen-the one cook would just immolate beef bones in the big pots,and all you could do is just that..it took up to 2 weeks to get all the black out.
@thea09 (18324)
• Greece
27 Dec 09
Hi scarlet, I'd already been doing that for over a week and I really don't have the patience. Aunty's idea of boiling vinegar had it shifted after ten minutes of boiling with minimum scub action, you can remember that for when the slobs start cooking
1 person likes this
• United States
27 Dec 09
it worked? hmm..i'm going to have to keep that in mind. i bet it smelled pretty foul though.. my mom's rice would be a candidate.she burns that every single time.
@thea09 (18324)
• Greece
27 Dec 09
Rice is the other thing I burn but that usually just comes off with soaking. Personally I can't stomach the smell of rice cooking whereas didn't mind the vinegar at all.
@jillhill (37384)
• United States
26 Dec 09
Boil it with baking soda in the water......or vinegar....both should help release the black from the bottom of the pan...
@thea09 (18324)
• Greece
26 Dec 09
Hi jillhill, thanks for the suggestions there, they've both cropped up and so far the boiling with vinegar is first up in the morning.
@sid556 (31006)
• United States
27 Dec 09
baking soda works the best...trust me...tried both.
@thea09 (18324)
• Greece
27 Dec 09
I tried Auntys vinegar first and it worked, the pan is all shiny and new - vinegar is also much cheaper than bicarb over here.
@owlwings (39101)
• Cambridge, England
27 Dec 09
The 'blackened mess' is mostly carbon (with some darkened sugar). The sugar/caramel will still dissolve in water but the carbon wont. My advice would be to try CocaCola (neat and gently warmed) first. Allow it to soak for several hours and see what, if anything, it has softened or dissolved. Once that has done its job, rinse the pan and use oven cleaner. Follow the instructions on the can (warming the pan first, perhaps, if it says that). Oven cleaner is caustic, of course, so you should use rubber gloves when shifting the softened deposit with a nylon pan scourer or wire wool. Once you have the metal clean again, polish it with the very finest wire wool you can find, rinse it and season it with oil. Even stainless steel gets an invisible oxidation coating when in contact with air. Seasoning with oil (heated to smoking point and then wiped clean) causes some molecules to bind to the steel so that, effectively, the steel now has a molecular layer of oil molecules bound to steel. It should then be more 'non-stick' than before (though it's never as non-stick as a Teflon coating.
@thea09 (18324)
• Greece
27 Dec 09
Hello owlwings, thank you for your comprehensive suggestions. However I don't trust coca cola as if left for too long I would expect it to erode the bottom of the pan. Coca cola is a lethal and banned substance, it rots whatever it touches, but it's interesting that you suggest using sugar to remove the problem caused by sugar. I wouldn't even risk cleaning a key in the ghastly stuff though in case it dissolved it. I used the vinegar method as suggested earlier here. simply boil vinegar in the pan with a little water. I did so for ten minutes and then it simply rubbed off with no effort at all. I knew about the oil for the wok but didn't realise it worked on stainless steel, as I have a house full of olive oil now I will try your tip to make my stainless steel pans become non stick.
@owlwings (39101)
• Cambridge, England
27 Dec 09
Vinegar is an acid (mainly acetic acid), of course, and CocaCola contains small amounts of another acid (phosphoric) which is why it works as a cleaner. It is actually especially good at removing protein-based stains, such as blood. I don't know how reactive it is with stainless steel, especially in the very small concentration found in CocaCola, but I have occasionally used it on my stainless steel pans without apparent ill effect. Knowing that some US Police departments apparently carry a container of Coke in their patrol cars in order to remove blood from roads has rather put me off drinking the stuff and I try to dissuade others from doing so, too!
@sunny68 (1327)
• India
27 Dec 09
i once had the same problem (blame it on caramel custard). i used an aluminum scrubber to remove it. it took me several sessions of scrubbing before i finally got rid of it. hope you will be able to get rid of it too.....good luck.
@thea09 (18324)
• Greece
27 Dec 09
Hi sunny, I've no idea what an aluminum scrubber is unless its the same thing we call wire wool over here. Seems like we all go round burning things though. You're supposed to burn the top of carmel custard though with a blow torch I think. Anyway follow the vinegar tip if it happens again, no elbow grease involved at all and it worked in ten minutes.
@sunny68 (1327)
• India
29 Dec 09
yes..it is the same as wire wool. and thanks for the tip, i will try that next time. about the custard, the way i make it, the caramel blends half way into the custard giving it a two tone color....and also tastes better. now that you have the solution to burnt sugar, you should try that also....
• United States
26 Dec 09
I found this for stainless steel pan: The 3% hydrogen peroxide was amazing and effortless chemistry did all the work! I had the thick crusty blackened caramel stuck to my new stainless steel pot which I had from placing inside a pressure cooker (next time I'll also use the base plate in the pressure cooker to insure avoiding any possible direct contact with the bottom of the pressure cooker) for making flan (the 1st time I used the pressure cooker method). I filled the pot with hydrogen peroxide and after bringing to to boil, lowered heat to medium, then used a wooden spoon to clean the pot absolutely spotless! It took about 30 minutes to clean my pot. I was worried about fumes, so kept the stove ventilator on, and also heeded another reader"s advice to avoid too much contact with the steam. This tip will be passed along with my flan recipe which uses the pressure cooker method. Applied chemistry is awesome! Note: I didn't try any of the other methods, but since the 3% HP is cheap, and it worked, I'm shttp://www.thriftyfun.com/tf56651419.tip.htmlatisfied with this method.
• United States
26 Dec 09
http://www.thriftyfun.com/tf56651419.tip.html:
@thea09 (18324)
• Greece
27 Dec 09
Hello Whiteheather, thank you for all that researching you did there. It's so good being able to ask things like this on here and come up with such a variety of suggestions. You're the second one to suggest hydrogen peroxide but I didn't have any to hand so went with the vingegar boiled in the pan suggestion and it worked. I simply boiled for ten minutes then rubbed the bottom with some steel wool and off it all came.