The Pantry Staples That Clean Aluminum Pans Easily

Bare aluminum pans — that is those missing a non-stick surface, like ceramic, Teflon, HexClad, and the like — are notoriously tricky to clean. If you've ever tried to scrub off the dark residue that inevitably forms after cooking, you know that mere dish soap is not strong enough to get the job done. We've all been there—scrubbing tirelessly, seemingly to no avail, starting to accept that your aluminum pan will forever retain those unsightly cooking stains.


Fear not, though, as there is a cleaning combination that has proven to tackle the stubborn grease and grime that forms in aluminum pans, and it requires nothing more than what you likely already have in your kitchen: salt or baking soda, a little dish soap, a sponge, and for tougher grime, a soft-bristle brush. The properties of these tools work together to put up a tough fight against stains while being gentle to the aluminum pan. 

How baking soda and salt fight stubborn stains

Baking soda or salt can effectively remove stains from aluminum pans. Both are among the pantry staples that are great for cleaning your kitchen and the tools within it but for slightly different reasons. Because baking soda is a soluble alkali, it interacts with the acids in stains when mixed with water, lifting them out of the spot where they have set. To use it, form a paste by combining it with water, and after a short soak in suds, simply give your pan another pass if it needs it. If you've got any glassware with stuck-on labels, the paste will also work great for that. 


Salt is also a viable cleaning ingredient because its abrasive texture can make a great stain opponent. Simply throw a few tablespoons into the pan with water, boil and simmer it, and wipe the pan down after removing from the heat. You will be shocked at how little a fight you have put up when wiping the stains away. Whatever method you try, prepare for the power of these unassuming pantry ingredients to impress you. Your aluminum pans will look as good as new.