These Pots and Pans Need to Soak

These pots and pans need to soak

I live with people who like to soak pots and pans. Even though my kids are supposed to clean up the kitchen after they each make dinner every week, there are numerous mornings when I find a pot or a pan sitting in the sink when I get up. Sometimes, I even spy a pot or pan before I head off to bed and I say, ever so sweetly, “Hey, what’s the deal with that pot? When are you going to wash that and finish cleaning up the kitchen?” The response is always: “Oh…that pot (or pan) needs to soak,” and then there are lots of promises to take care of it in the morning. Sometimes those promises are kept and sometimes, not so much.

The good news about the soaking is that it really works. A dirty pot or pan filled with warm soapy water and a few sprinkles of baking soda, left over night (that’s where the SOAKING comes in – as I’m so often told) is much easier to clean than one that has not soaked.

These pots and pans need to soak

Fill the dirty pot or pan with warm soapy water and give a few shakes with a very stylish baking soda shaker and in no time, the dirty pot or pan will practically have cleaned itself. Well, sometimes it needs a little elbow-grease and one of these metal scrubbers to finish the job.

These pots and pans need to soak
I keep this metal scrubber next to my kitchen sink. It’s my little helper!

But, then there’s no need for lots of detergents or scrubbers that come with detergent and get tossed into the garbage after several uses.

If you cook with cast iron like I do, you may find that less soap is better and that in the morning, after the cast iron skillet gets cleaned and dried, the cast iron may need just a little wipe down with olive oil. Not a full re-seasoning, just a wipe.

So, I’ve resigned myself to the idea that my kitchen doesn’t look “just so” every night before I head to bed but at least when it doesn’t, it means someone else made dinner and the kitchen was mostly cleaned up. (Virtual high fives all around!!) To be honest, my kids learned this whole soaking trick from my husband. He started it but is usually the one who cleans the soaking pot or pan in the morning so I really can’t complain.

Can you stand one more note on cleaning pots and pans? Yesterday, I made applesauce and some burned to the bottom of the pot. After soaking the pot overnight, the burned part wouldn’t budge so I added about 1/4-cup of white vinegar and placed it on the stove on low. After 15-20 minutes, the burned parts came up with a quick scrape from a spatula. It was so much easier than standing over my sink and scrubbing it for 30 minutes! Give it a try next time you have a burned on mess.

Do you like to soak pots and pans overnight? Do you wish for a scullery maid?

Go Gingham related links:

Good times at our house with “teenager times” or how to get a teen to leave the room!
Paying allowances to kids – I pay allowances on-line now and it’s so much easier
Vacation rules for inappropriate moms (that would be me!)
Family rules that have (surprise!) worked out well
Pantry basics for the home cook – what’s in my pantry
Refrigerator basics for the home cook – what’s in my refrigerator
New to cooking at home? Fear not!

14 thoughts on “These Pots and Pans Need to Soak

  1. What works for me is your note–although I’ve always used a splash of wine. Glad to know vinegar will work. And then you don’t have to let the pans soak.

    And the “it has to soak” excuse has been around a looong time. My grandma told me she used to use that one when she was a kid (the oldest of 7). 🙂

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    1. Oh my goodness, Rita, don’t waste the wine on your dirty dishes!! Drink it 🙂 Yes, that soaking thinking is nothing new – love that your grandma used it! Those are the type of tips that should be handed down to all generations. Thanks, Rita.
      PS just saw quinoa in the bulk bins at WinCo where I shop. They even had 3 different varieties and it was a great price!!

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    1. Annie, thank you. It drives me crazy, too. What is a crack up about this method is sometimes my kids will march through the front door (hungry, of course!) and ask what I’m cooking!! Uh, nothing, but I’m glad you like the smell of burned food mixed with baking soda and vinegar 😉 I guess the bar is really low over here or my kids are really hungry!

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    1. Cathy, that’s very interesting about dryer sheets. I’m curious but I don’t use them so I won’t be buying them. I did buy dryer sheets years ago when I heard dryer sheets repel mosquitoes. My mosquitoes didn’t get this memo or liked the fragrance even more because I was destroyed by those pesky little creatures! Do let me know if it works 🙂 Also, it was so great meeting you in person (IRL)last week! Can’t wait until our next adventure…

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    1. Very smart, Olivia. I’m not surprised by this at all after looking at your blog! You have the green thing nailed down. Thanks for leaving a comment and connecting with me on social media 🙂

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    1. Heidi, I only wish I could soak the bottom of my oven with it…just had a pie bubble over and it is a mess down there! It does really work and many times even if you don’t turn on the stove. My applesauce was really cooked on because I used my canning pot to make it which isn’t really meant for applesauce making BUT it’s my biggest pot.
      Thanks, Heidi!!

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  2. I baked two large chicken breasts that came prepared from the store with a rub containing sugar and ancho chilis, among other things. The pan had black burned-on residue after the cooking time.

    And baking soda to the rescue. I put the pan in hot soapy water, scrubbed a little, then pulled it out and sprinkled baking soda on it. After very little added efort the pan was clean.

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  3. I am such a soaker. I soak pots that don’t even need to be soaked because I don’t want to wash them right away. I blame part of it on the fact that our hot water only comes out in a small trickle (the aerator is free of debris) while the cold water is full force. I just can’t stand cleaning with cold and lukewarm water. Hence procrastination. I love the baking soda tip, thank you!

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    1. Michelle, I’m pretty sure that’s why lots of our pots and pans need to soak – because no one wants to clean them! I hear ya on the dribbling faucets, too. Our bathroom shower head was like that before we re-did it and took apart the shower head. It’s always something!! Thanks for the comment.

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