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Helpful Hints

By Ellen Wilson

As the dishes pile up in the sink, it's tempting to just throw the entire mess into the dishwasher for a quick, easy clean-up. However, to maintain your cookware, hand washing is the best option. The harsh dishwasher detergents and hot heat can dull and damage the finish of your pans. Here are some hints on how to keep your pots and pans in good condition.

  • Nonstick pans should be washed with a soft sponge. If you have any troubles with burnt-on food, put the cooled pan into the freezer for about a half an hour and the food will be easy to remove afterwards.
  • For cast iron cooking pans, do not use soap. Wash with hot water and if there is food stuck in the pan, use coarse salt and vegetable oil to scrub with. After the food is removed, rinse with hot water.
  • For copper, or copper-bottomed pans, clean with soap and water. To remove tarnish, use a copper-polishing solution or, for a home remedy, rub the exterior of the pan with two lemon halves that have been dipped in salt. The acids will help to remove the tarnish.
  • To clean baked-on food off a glass pan or oven rack, use dishwashing soap, and a ball of aluminum foil in place of a steel-wool soap pad. The aluminum works just as well as the steel-wool pad and recycles your used pieces of aluminum.

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