There have been many jokes and memes about how cleaning and washing vessels has been the toughest and most annoying chore during the lockdown. As celebrities put up social media posts on how to wash vessels, people ranted about how vessels never get done with some even swearing off cooking forever because their fledgeling attempt at making food resulted in a ton of burnt greasy vessels.
It is but a fact that a sink full of burnt greasy vessels is worrisome. Picture this, you have planned for a wonderful dinner with a few friends to celebrate a quiet New Year at your home. You have got yourself a manicure and a nice dress. As the cooking gets done, you turn to the sink to find yourself staring at a huge pile of vessels that need to be scrubbed and cleaned. Not only does your manicure go for a toss but so does your mood for the celebration.
Greasy pans, plates with turmeric or masala stains or worst of all, burnt pots are some of the most stubborn stains to remove. However powerful your detergent is, you cannot work your hand enough to remove these stains fully and effectively.
Unless, of course, you try some of these hacks to get the toughest stains off your vessels!
One of the best ways to clean off burnt vessels is by using aerated drinks. Simply pour half a bottle into the vessels and heat it up on a slow burner. Once the bubbles stop popping, remove it from the gas, let it cool down and scrub it off with a plastic scrubber and dish soap. You will see how the burn stains simply melt away. It is so simple that you do not even need to apply pressure while scrubbing. This particular hack works very well on aluminium vessels.
For a light layer of burn on any vessel, you can work your cleaning magic using a layer of salt. Simply pour a thick layer of salt on the burnt portion, keep for five minutes and then scrub using a plastic scrubber and dish soap. This hack is ideal for non-stick pans or any non-iron pan, especially if you want to preserve its smooth texture.
Baking soda is an amazing cleaning agent to remove the most stubborn of burns. It works on vessels of any material and it does a great job of leaving the vessel as good as new. Simply soak the vessel in a paste of baking soda and water for half an hour. Scrub off the burn stains easily with a plastic scrubber and dish soap after removing it from the baking soda and water mix. Baking soda also works wonders on grease and grime. One of the toughest grime stains that I have come across is the one on the exhaust grill. It has small grates that are impossible to clean with soap and the oily black grime sticks to its inside corners. However, one day I simply spread some baking soda on the grates of the grill, sprinkled some water over it to make it moist and let it sit overnight. Next day, I washed away the baking soda and the oily grime went meekly with it. Yes, even the ones stuck to the inside corners.
An old yet effective trick is to use hot water with lemon juice in it to remove stains. Lemon juice is so effective that most dish soaps have it as an active ingredient. Simply add a splash of lemon juice to a glass of water and bring it to boil. Pour it on the stubborn grease stain and let it sit for 10 minutes. Simply scrub using a plastic scrubber and dish soap to rid the vessel of the stains completely and effectively. Lemon juice also helps with bad odour. So, if you have food gone bad and stuck to the vessel, lemon juice and hot water are your go-to solution.
An effective agent for cleaning, vinegar, works very well on crusty burn stains which stick stubbornly to pans and pots. Soak the pot or pan in vinegar for an hour and then wash it with warm water and soap. Vinegar also helps with bad odour. I have seen my mother clean the kitchen with vinegar and water mix after cleaning and cooking fish to rid the kitchen of the fishy smell. It is a wonderful solution to get a kitchen that is free of bad odour.
Now, this is a technique of washing vessels that has survived generations. In ancient times, when there was no dish soap as freely available as today, women used ash with coconut fibre to scrub out tough stains. It was an odour-free and natural cleaning agent. Some used to mix powdered brick as well to scrub off really tough stains. Even today, if you can get your hands on some ash, it is a really great natural cleaning agent to work off burn stains, especially from copper or mud pots.
Burn stains and grease can still be worked with, but sometimes, vessels get these really ugly looking stains from simply sitting idle. These bad spots show up on vessels that are rarely used and if not cleaned regularly, tend to become permanent. Onion skins work very well to do away with these kinds of stains. Simply fill water in the vessel up to the stains, put a few onion skins in it and bring it to boil on the stove. Let it boil for a few seconds and turn off the heat. Remove it once cool and scrub gently.
If you, like me, love some bone china crockery, then you too, like me, would have experienced the horror that is a turmeric stain. The beauty of bone china lies in its pristine white surface, whether it is a plate or a cup. To see it stained with masalas, turmeric or even tea or coffee is painful. However, the corn starch hack is a gem of a tip for such stains. Simply wash with water to remove other stains. You will be able to see the yellow turmeric stain or oily masala stain which are too stubborn to wash off with soap and water. Sprinkle cornflour on these stains and add some water to make it moist. Let it sit for half an hour and then wash off with warm water. Your bone china crockery will get its pristine beauty back in a jiffy. This hack is so good with turmeric and masala stains that it works well on clothes, plastic as well as fabric.
Now that you have mastered the art of dealing with stubborn stains, go forth and venture bravely into the world of cooking. And worry no more about tons of vessels with difficult stains.