Getting your pots and pans clean

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Updated: 4/13/2007 7:48 am
Even if your dishwasher has a cycle specifically for pots and pans, most of them should still be washed by hand. Glass and most enamel-coated cookware is generally dishwasher-safe. Cast iron and aluminum should never be put in the dishwasher. Most pots and pans with nonstick surfaces should also be hand-washed. The key to removing burned-on foods from most cookware is soaking. Fill the dish with hot water and a few drops of dishwashing liquid and let it set for a while. You might even do this immediately after cooking and let the pans soak while you enjoy dinner. Afterwards, use a non-abrasive pad with detergent to remove the softened food. You can remove stains from aluminum cookware by boiling a quart of water with two tablespoons cream of tartar. Boiling a cup of water in a nonstick pot with two tablespoons baking soda is another stain-removal trick. Afterwards, wipe the nonstick surface with vegetable oil before storing it to retain its nonstick qualities. Cast iron requires special care. Rinse it out in plain hot water, then dry thoroughly. Some people like to put it on a warm burner for a few minutes to dry it thoroughly. Stack cast iron pots and pans separately with paper towels between them to absorb excess moisture.
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