Stainless steel equipment in your kitchen may only need a simple wipe-down at the end of the night to keep up appearances, but pots and pans tend to see more action during the course of any given day and can accumulate grime and buildup that can burn out your supply of ‘elbow grease’ when you’re only using cleaners designed for easier-to-clean appliances. Foods like milk can become scorched in a pot or pan and are notoriously difficult to remove, but with a few of these simple tips, you can get your pots and pans back to looking brand new in no time. Here are three effective ways to keep cookware in your commercial kitchen grime-free.
1. Try the Natural Route. Before we delve into some of the synthetic solutions out on the market today, you may be considering a more natural route (especially if your restaurant prides itself on organics and other natural products!). Be sure to test a small spot on your cookware before using these remedies on the entire surface to ensure that there aren’t any adverse reactions occurring.
Cream of Tartar: A solution of 4T to 1 Quart of water can work wonders for brightening old aluminum cookware.
Salt: Soak enamel pans with burned-on stains overnight in salt water. Then boil salt water in the pan the next day. The stains should lift right off.
Vinegar: Aluminum cookware with dark stains (typically caused by acidic foods) can be cleaned by mixing in 1 teaspoon white vinegar for every cup of water needed to cover the stains. Let it boil for a couple of minutes, then rinse with cold water. To remove stains from your stainless steel pots and pans, soak them in 2 cups white vinegar for 30 minutes, then rinse them with hot, soapy water followed by a cold-water rinse.
2. Choose Abrasive Pads Wisely. While some tougher materials like cast iron can take a beating, many shinier cookware that you’ll use regularly like aluminum, stainless steel, and even copper can easily scratch and show damage when cleaned with a steel abrasive pad. This, in turn, can give water more nooks and crannies to sit in and eventually can cause rusting. Instead, use a bit of baking soda to remove tougher stains along with a softer plastic abrasive pad rather than trying to scuff them out of the pans.
3. Consider the material. Remember that choosing an effective way to clean your pots and pans relies heavily on the material composition of said pot or pan. Aluminum can warp, dent, and scratch easily, while a cast iron skillet can take quite a beating and still retain appearances. Sure, you may have to re-season your skillet after a harsh cleaning, but taking an abrasive pad to an aluminum pan like you would a cast iron pan can yield disastrous results.
At the end of the day, there are many different types of cleaners on the market for cleaning your pots and pans. Remember that these surfaces will come in direct contact with food items, so always thoroughly wash any type of cleaner from the pot or pan to ensure that there’s no flavor or odor transfer later down the road!
Consider the addition of automatic pot washers and pot machine add-ons if you’ve got a lot of pots and pans that need cleaned on a regular basis, as this can reduce the amount of times you’ll need to do a deep cleaning on your pots and pans.