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Baking Soda Vs 20 Year Old Grease

Joan Young By Joan Young on
Badge: Editor | Level: 34 | Other Home & Garden Expertise:
(2) baking soda on Dobie pad

I own a wonderful 8-quart “Super Pot, ” but it was pretty grungy. You know how pans can collect grease over the years and we tend to not notice how bad they are getting... I decided that this was even below my standards for showing in public. But I had signed up to provide a meal for our community's rotating homeless shelter, and the kitchen at this particular location is not approved by the health service. Therefore, we had to take all hot food in some sort of crock pot or cooker.

I thought I would see what I could do for it with some baking soda. I had tried lots of soap and elbow grease in the past. In fact at some point in time I bought some relatively expensive cleaner by mail order that was supposed to clean off old grease. If I could remember what it was I could write a review and give it a really low rating, since it didn’t do a thing.

You can see how bad the outside of this pot is (picture 1). I have removed the handle from one side, and the pot is upside down in the sink. This pot is enameled aluminum. The handles are hard plastic with a coating the same color as the enamel. Fortunately, the handles remove easily with a phillips screwdriver. That makes it easy, at least, to be able to work on it.

But, how will this work? That grunge seriously has been building up for as long as I’ve owned this pot, and it was a gift in the 1970s. (You can tell from the color, right?)

I put a little baking soda on a beat-up Dobie pad, wet it slightly, and started scrubbing. In just a couple of minutes it became obvious that this was going to remove at least some of that old grease! (see picture 2).

Emboldened by this success, I sprinkled a little baking soda on the worst area, and then poured a bit of vinegar on that. (see pictures 3 & 4).

I continued with these two processes, and worked my way around the pan, and then also cleaned the handles. I had to be a little more careful with them since some of the coating on the plastic was starting to come off just a little bit- probably as a result of being heated so many times over a lifetime of use, but I was careful with the scrubbing, and used both baking soda and Dawn. Even the handles cleaned up great!

I forgot to time it exactly, but I was expecting to spend a really long time on this project, maybe hours, but I think it was closer to 30 minutes total time. You can see how clean I was able to get the pot (picture 5). I am very, very impressed! The final picture (picture 6) is a closeup of the area that was the dirtiest when I started. It was even worse than the area shown in the earlier photos.

And this cleaning project cost about 10 cents worth of baking soda and maybe a penny’s worth of vinegar. I did put some wear and tear on the Dobie pad, but all in all, I am amazed at how well this worked.

At the dinner tonight, I got two comments about what a great (30 year old) cook pot this is! I had to agree.