Getting Burnt-On Food Off Non-Stick Pans

Joined Nov 9, 2020
I have sent them an inquiry about cleaning. Waiting to hear back. I have no idea when I bought these, but at different times years ago from Bed Bath & Beyond. I have no receipts or any documentation that I would expect to be required in any warranty discussion.

The Calphalon site says that Easy-Off can be used on their non-stick cookware, although they do not specify which type, so that would suggest that any type is OK. EASY-OFF® BBQ Grill Cleaner is what I will try if my next cleaner, D-Limonene, has no effect. Their BBQ cleaner is supposed to take care of burned on food and grease from outdoor grills. You have to avoid contact with the grill exterior. That is both a good sign and worrisome where the non-stick coating is concerned. But they say Easy-Off is OK.

Tomorrow my HP Food Grade D-Limonene will arrive from Amazon. That is supposed to be a "natural" cleaner (concentrated from orange peel) and is supposed to cut through baked on grease. But how well is unknown. It is EXPENSIVE. About $20 per quart.

Unlike other tough cleaners they specifically recommend using gloves and have warnings of what to do if you get any on your skin. Viton gloves are recommended as best, which makes it sound extremely caustic. But they say you can use nitrile (medical examination) gloves if need be, which I will be using since I have those and a pair of viton gloves costs over $100 per pair.

I'm very curious to see what the D-Limonene does on the "patients."
Joined Jan 9, 2019
To me, it looks like the coating has been utterly seared off, and bare metal burned like nobody's business.
I certainly would not want to be the recipient of that last dish on the "teflon-removal" sear.
If you're still reeeally unsure, I might suggest using a magnifying loupe to verify.
I concur with sgsvirgil and halb.
ie: it looks REALLY bad.
"flogging a dead horse"?
Joined Aug 13, 2019
Once you torch a teflon pan its done. Also teflon is not the greatest thing for your health. I've always hated it when my egg pans were used for scallops in the PM.
Joined Oct 9, 2008
I agree with @brianshaw that you should discuss it with the Calphalon people -- not only the warranty issue but also whether they have any clever ideas about getting stuff off.

As to the source of the problem: I had a friend in grad school whose pans and knives were constantly getting abused. Finally there was a "house meeting" and he insisted that everyone promise that, if they did permanent damage to a pan or knife, they'd pay to replace it. They all agreed. He then got a friend to hide some kind of pinhole spy-cam thing (this was some time ago; I imagine this would be trivially easy now) and filmed a roommate doing terrible things to a knife. He ran the film and insisted that she replace the knife, which was something like $150. She yelled and screamed and refused, and he insisted, and everyone else said he was making a big dumb fuss about nothing and should get over it. So all his work was for nothing. He finally just moved out. Moral of the story: hide your pans and knives and KitchenAid in your room. Allow no one to use them, ever, no matter what, no exceptions. Be a dick about it. OR you can just plan to replace your stuff regularly when people abuse stuff and aren't willing to take responsibility. That seems to be how all too many people are, and it's those people who are going to burn stuff onto someone else's pans and then walk away and pretend it didn't happen.
Joined Aug 19, 2019
There does not seem to be a forum for cleaning and maintenance of equipment, just reviews. But I see some cleaning-related posts here so...

I wish I had a solution to this widespread problem, but I don't. I just want to know how.

I have tried various combinations of baking soda, vinegar, and water, and nothing all.

One basic method is to boil water and vinegar in the affected non-stick pan for 10 minutes, then let it cool. When it is cool enough you are supposed to be able to practically just wipe off any burnt on food. This does not work.

There are variations on that theme involving different ratios of vinegar to water. Usually 1/2 to 3/4 the amount of vinegar as water used.

An upgrade to this is using baking soda. A few methods have just baking soda and water, but most have vinegar with it which causes the mixture to foam up when the acid hits the base. That reaction us supposed to have a cleansing effect on the burnt-on food. It does not.

Mainly, just a small amount of baking soda in the boiled water is supposed to have a dramatic effect on cleaning it. The dramatic effect I have found is that absolutely nothing happens.

I have tried everything from the basic mix of 1/2 amount of vinegar to the water amount and only a couple of TBSP of baking soda, which is supposed to be enough to do the trick. That has no effect. I have gone so far as to load my 12" Calphalon non-stick skillet with four boxes of baking soda and pouring from my gallon of white vinegar just loading it up until the foaming mass reached its peak. That alone does nothing. I've tried various different ratios of everything in between without success, and have used heavily salted water as well.

Boiling all of that for 10 minutes without water and another try with water (both fresh and salted) still does nothing.

Then while the apparently unaffected burnt on food might possibly have been weakened by these processes, I have added a little baking soda to the rinsed out pan and with a non scratch scrubbing sheet have scrubbed that for 10 minutes.

I can't say that absolutely nothing happens, since after 10 minutes of scrubbing the baking soda soapy water mixture does turn a little brown, but looking at the "cleaned" pan afterwards there seems to be no difference; no apparent reduction of the burnt on area.

Does anyone have a tried and true method of removing burnt-on food from non-stick pans?

It would be great of there was a product that disintegrated all of the burnt-on food but did not damage the non-stick coating. I do not know of one, so I got a gallon of white vinegar and numerous boxes of baking soda thinking that I would be able to, at least, make some gradual progress. It does not appear that I have made any progress at all.

I have one 12" pan that has a larger burnt on patch and a 10" pan that has an even larger burnt on patch. There is a good chance that I will "retire" these pans and replace them with stainless steel. But I would like to have, at least, a couple of backup pans that are non-stick. If I cannot restore these, then I doubt that I will get two more non-stick replacement, and just go with stainless steel all the way.

Regardless of what I end up doing there, it would be very useful to still know how to get burnt-on food off a non-stick pan.

Does someone have the trick they can share?
I let pan soak. Come back to it later, drain and scrape off as much as possible. Then I dip damp rag in salt and use it as abrasive to clean the rest.

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