Open Accessibility Menu

How to Wash Specialty Cookware & Bakeware

With the holidays fast approaching, we’re sure you’ve planned out most (if not all) of the food items on your festive feast list. Now, all that’s left is to pull out your specialty pot or pan for a traditional night-before prep session. However, is your specialty cookware adequately cleaned and ready for extensive use?

Many of your everyday stainless-steel pots and pans don’t usually require a formal cleaning regimen past scrubbing, rinsing, drying, and putting it away for another day. Specialty cookware and bakeware, on the other hand, need a little more TLC to keep them in tip-top shape and ensure the proper preparation of your culinary holiday masterpiece and the health and safety of anyone who partakes.

Our professionals at Merry Maids have compiled cleaning instructions for some of your favorite (and least used) specialty cookware to get you ready for your family gatherings.

How to Clean Vintage Aluminum Cookware

Aluminum is multifunctional and durable, and is used in many of the items in your home—from your outdoor furniture to your kitchen sink. However, aluminum tends to get dingy over time. When ordinary wear and tear happens, cleaning your aluminum items is extremely easy. The same can be said for aluminum cookware—even cookware that’s been in your family for generations.

The great thing about cleaning aluminum cookware—whether it’s vintage or brand new—is that the routine is the same! It’s always best to handle older cookware and bakeware with care. However, for regular maintenance, handwashing aluminum kitchenware is the safest method for eliminating stuck-on stains and keeping them looking new for years to come.

Cleaning Instructions

Before you consider this deep cleaning method for aluminum, check your cookware to make sure it’s, in fact, aluminum. If you use this cleaning method on a cast iron pot or pan, you may run the risk of accidentally damaging your cookware’s finish.

Step 1: Use soap and water to remove all food particles and grease from your aluminum kitchenware, and then rinse clean.

Step 2: Fill your aluminum pot or pan with water, but don’t fill it to the top. You’ll want to leave about 1 to 2 inches from the top for the water to boil.

Step 3: Add 2 Tablespoons of a natural cleaning agent of choice for every quart of water. Natural cleaners you may find around your home include white vinegar, lemon juice, or cream of tartar.

Step 4: Set your heat to medium or high and bring your pot or pan to a boil. Turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for about 15 minutes. An indication that this cleaning method worked will be the brighter appearance of your cookware’s interior.

Step 5: At this point, turn your heat completely off and allow the contents to cool before pouring out the water.

Step 6: Once your pot or pan is completely cooled, rinse and dry it with a clean cloth, and then use a non-scratch scrub pad to rub the interior of your cookware gently.

For cleaning on a time crunch, use steel wool, dish soap, and warm water on aluminum and steel pots to cut through food buildup and bring back shine.

How to Clean Copper Pots & Pans

Copper pots and pans are some of the most aesthetically pleasing kitchen items you can have in your cooking arsenal. And while great to look at, one of copper’s most significant selling points is its ability to evenly heat contents. Maintenance and proper cleaning of copper pots and pans are essential in avoiding possible risks to your health. For instance, using harsh or overly abrasive scrubbers to remove stains can cause chips and scratches, which exposes the copper to the food you’re cooking.

Cleaning Instructions

Polishing copper is one of the most well-known ways to care for your copper cookware, but do you know how to wash your copper first? Before you ever get to the polishing stage, you’ll want to ensure your copper pots and pans are thoroughly washed. While you can use soap and warm water to clean copper kitchenware, it may not penetrate stains as deeply as needed to bring out its luster.

Step 1: Coat the inside and outside of your copper pots and pans with salt, and then add white vinegar.

Step 2: Let your cookware sit for about 15 seconds and watch it go from dingy to deliriously stunning!

Step 3: To help the process along, add more white vinegar to a sponge, and scrub gently.

Step 4: Add even more salt to the sides and inside your pot or pan, and then scrub once again. There really is no limit to the amount of salt you can use for cleaning your copper cookware.

Step 5: Use warm water to rinse off your copper pan and viola! You have like-new copper cookware.

How to Clean Dutch Ovens

When you think of old-school, tried and true, classic cookware, we’re sure a Dutch oven—either cast iron or enamel—comes to mind. Because they’re long-lasting and can braise, bake, and deep fry, Dutch ovens are pretty much a staple in any kitchen—or, at least, they should be!

Cleaning Instructions

To keep your cast iron Dutch oven in optimum condition, the cleaning process is two-fold: removal of food residue and maintenance of the protective coating.

Step 1: Fill your Dutch oven with warm water and heat until almost at a boil, and then use a plastic scrubber to wash off food residue gently. Avoid using any soap, as it can break down the seasoning and protective oil coating.

Step 2: Thoroughly rinse the oven and use a cloth to remove any excess water, but then let it completely air dry.

Step 3: Whenever you use soap or water to clean your Dutch oven, massage a thin layer of oil or lard into the pan afterward to protect and season the iron.

Step 4: Heat in a very hot oven, 400 degrees or more, for about an hour, then turn off the oven and leave the pan inside to cool completely. Once it has cooled, store it in a dry environment. Now, it’s ready for cooking a hearty stew or baking a savory loaf of bread.

How to Clean Glazed Clay Moroccan Tagines

Traditionally used as portable ovens by nomads, tagines were (and still are) perfect for making stews over charcoal fires or on the stove. The ideal multipurpose cooking vessel, tagines can be used solely in the kitchen for cooking or go from stove to table without issue. Authentic and traditional Moroccan tagines are usually handmade ceramic dishes.

For cooking purposes, however, you’ll want to make sure you have a clay tagine and not a ceramic one, as a ceramic tagine cannot withstand the excessive amount of heat required for cooking. Caring for a glazed tagine, though less involved than caring for an unglazed tagine, still necessitates specific cleaning directions to preserve its integrity.

Cleaning Instructions

Some unglazed tagine dishes have a tendency to mold, which is why specialized cleaning is necessary. And while glazed tagines don’t usually have this issue, it’s still essential that you ensure your tagine pot’s care.

Step 1: If you’re dealing with stubborn food residue, use hot water and baking soda to help remove stubborn food traces from the interior of your pot.

Step 2: Scrub, scrub, scrub! But try not to resort to hard or forceful scrubbing, which could damage your pot. Avoid soap, especially on unglazed pots, as the clay could absorb it and leave a soapy taste the next time you cook with it.

Step 3: Leave your tagine pot out to air dry.

Step 4: Once your pot is thoroughly and completely dry, rub 1/2 Tablespoon of olive oil on the inside and outside of your tagine pot.

Step 5: Store your tagine vessel, with the lid slightly ajar, in an area that allows for air circulation.

While our cleaning experts at Merry Maids® know a few hacks to help you keep your kitchen space clean, we also know how to keep your kitchenware in pristine condition for any occasion. With the holidays just weeks away, we know you have more than your fair share of holiday cleaning responsibilities. Contact us today to help get you ready for a joyful season.