Easy Fixes for Pans, Kettles and Coffeemakers

September 18, 2015

Cookware undergoes a lot of use over its lifespan, but don't be quick to discard an item you think is past its prime. Some elbow grease and a little know-how can help bring your tired cookware back to life.

Easy Fixes for Pans, Kettles and Coffeemakers

My pans are ruined

Give your old cookware a makeover

Before replacing a crusty, stained or burnt pan, try some of these cookware saving remedies.

  • Remove burn marks from a stainless-steel pan by sprinkling baking soda onto the surface and rubbing vigorously with a kitchen sponge. For ingrained burns, pour one centimetre (1/2 inch) of water into the pan and bring it to a boil. Add 30 grams (two tablespoons) of table salt, remove the pan from the heat and leave it overnight before scrubbing the area with a non-metallic scouring pad.
  • Clean an enamelled pan by squeezing the juice of a lemon over any stains. Sprinkle on 15 grams (one tablespoon) of salt, and scrub with a non-metallic scouring pad before rinsing.
  • To loosen encrusted food on cast-iron pots and pans, bake them at a high temperature in the oven. For other types of cookware, bring a little water to boil in the pan, then add 15 grams (one tablespoon) of liquid laundry detergent. Simmer for five minutes and use a clean toothbrush to lift the caked-on material. Rinse thoroughly.
  • Clean a rusty or encrusted cast-iron pan by heating it in an oven at 240°C (475°F) for 30 minutes. Allow it to cool and scrape off any debris with a metal spatula, then scrub the surface with a scouring pad in warm, soapy water. Re-season the pan before use by coating the dry pan with corn oil, then heating it upside down in an oven at 240°C (475°F).

Be sure to avoid using abrasive scrubbers on nonstick pans — their Teflon surface may be removed by harsh cleaning.

Tools of the trade

Steel wool for metal surfaces

Ageing chrome kettles or stainless-steel surfaces can be made to gleam again. First, clean the metal with a household cleaner. Wipe it dry and then scrub with 0000 steel wool.

For stainless steel, be sure to rub in the same direction as the existing polish lines. Clean the surface again with warm water to remove any remnants of steel wool.

My kettle has furred up

Dissolve the lime buildup

A furred kettle is a hazard because it may fail to turn off when it boils. Descaling your kettle will not only prevent possible damage but will also save you energy and time.

  • Fill the kettle with a 50:50 mixture of water and white vinegar. Boil the kettle and let the mixture sit overnight.
  • Scrub any visible areas of scale with a clean toothbrush.
  • Empty and rinse the kettle, and repeat the process if you can still see lime within.

My coffee tastes sour

Purge your coffeemaker with a vinegar wash

A clean coffeemaker will keep your brew from tasting sour or bitter.

  • Fill the coffeemaker to capacity with a 50:50 mix of white vinegar and water.
  • Fit an empty filter in the machine to catch any dislodged scaly chunks and run the coffeemaker as normal.
  • Run through another three or four batches of clean water to remove any traces of vinegar before brewing a fresh batch of coffee.
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