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Old 11-01-2014, 03:34 PM   #1
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My poor old pan: I know it can be cleaned up, but...

You can see from the attached photograph that there's a great pan hiding inside this old crusty mess. It's stainless steel, copper base, I think I know the brand (probably obvious, but not with all that guck on the bottom). I guess using it camping on a Coleman stove wasn't such a great idea...

I have tried everything I can think of to clean it up:
  • soap and water
  • every kind of scrubber known to man and beast
  • Barkeeper's Friend
  • powdered cleanser (i.e. Ajax, Comet)
  • Easy Off oven cleaner
  • steel wool
  • alcohol
  • acetone
  • CLR
You can see pieces of the guck have even fallen off, leaving a nice, cleanable pan underneath. It's the big carbonized deposits I can't get off.



I can't think of anything else to try. Is there any way to get all this stuff off the steel and copper and get it looking nice again? I've had it for many decades and I'd just buy a new one if it weren't for my sentimental attachment. Help!

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Old 11-01-2014, 03:58 PM   #2
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My poor old pan: I know it can be cleaned up, but...

I've had success resurrecting Lazarus pots by boiling in a mix of baking soda and white vinegar. Maybe put your pan in a bigger pot in the mix and boil the heck out of it.
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Old 11-01-2014, 05:18 PM   #3
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Stick it in a trash bag with an open dish of ammonia. Seal it tightly and leave it outdoors overnight.
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Old 11-01-2014, 05:44 PM   #4
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I have had a couple like that.

I cleaned them in stages using Barkeepers friend or Cameo and a blue scrubber sponge. I cleaned the bottom, for about 5 minutes, each time I used the pan over a period of months and eventually the bottoms were restored. The Zen of pot scrubbing, Om, Om, Om!
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Old 11-01-2014, 07:23 PM   #5
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Stick it in a trash bag with an open dish of ammonia. Seal it tightly and leave it outdoors overnight.
I'd be careful immersing the handle in anything.
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Old 11-01-2014, 07:29 PM   #6
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I'd be careful immersing the handle in anything.
Noting is immersed. The pan sits in a trash bag along side of a bowl/dish of ammonia. Overnight the fumes work on the pan to soften the deposits.
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Old 11-01-2014, 07:40 PM   #7
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Noting is immersed. The pan sits in a trash bag along side of a bowl/dish of ammonia. Overnight the fumes work on the pan to soften the deposits.
I get that. But I have no idea whether or not the Bakelite would react with the ammonia.

There is no reason, however, that you could not tie the pot with the handle outside the bag.
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Old 11-01-2014, 07:44 PM   #8
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I get that. But I have no idea whether or not the Bakelite would react with the ammonia.

There is no reason, however, that you could not tie the pot with the handle outside the bag.
Good point.
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Old 11-01-2014, 09:53 PM   #9
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Take a torch to it. We used to clean the char grill grates by dropping them into the fire pit. The black burnt on layer used to burn and fall off. Just stick to the black parts and don't linger too long so you don't burn through. It may work.
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Old 11-01-2014, 10:51 PM   #10
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You're right. There's little question it's Revere.

I bought a very, very old Revere griddle at a flea market years ago that looked worse than your pan. What I did, and had to use several repetitions, was to slather it generously with Easy-Off oven cleaner (I know you said you've already tried that.), then covered the gunky areas with plastic wrap and, finally, sealed the pan (not the handle) in a tightly sealed plastic bag and let it "cook" for at least 24 hours.

It came as clean as when it was new. But, as I said, it took several iterations of the process. The handle CANNOT take the oven cleaner. Trust me, I know from experience.

Be patient. It will come clean.

Good luck and show us a picture of the sparkling new pan when your're done.
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Old 11-02-2014, 12:25 AM   #11
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I agree it's worth saving so let us know what works!

The good thing is, it doesn't have to look beautiful to give you the pleasure of cooking with an old friend. None of us with experience looks as beautiful as we once did.
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Old 11-02-2014, 01:49 AM   #12
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Copper Glo was my absolute favorite thing to clean my Revere Ware bottoms and my copper bowl. Alas, it's been discontinued. I still have part of an old canister, but have been on a hunt for a suitable replacement. Wright's Copper Cream works OK, but like any of these products you also need to bring elbow grease. I recently bought a canister of Siege Copper Powder Cleaner but haven't tried it yet.

I also found this list on Wiki-How of seven different ways to clean copper. I know my Mom's go-to when she ran out of Copper Glo was the lemon-and-salt method.

Good luck! Revere Ware lasts forever. My Mom got hers in the early 1960s and I and both of my kids are still using the many pieces all these decades later.
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Old 11-02-2014, 05:57 AM   #13
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Same here about Revere Ware. I inherited 3 Revere Ware pots that date back to when I was a boy. They last forever.
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Old 11-02-2014, 06:26 AM   #14
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Stick it in a trash bag with an open dish of ammonia. Seal it tightly and leave it outdoors overnight.
+1
That's what works for me as well.

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Old 11-02-2014, 07:04 AM   #15
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I had one similar to that not as bad - I used a paste of lemon juice (real lemons not bottle) and salt - I rubbed it all over then let it set for 10- 15 min and then used a non abrasive scrub pad (like the green flat ones) and it came out good.
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Old 11-02-2014, 07:25 AM   #16
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There's absolutely no question, as somebody else mentioned, that it's Revere Wear. That's what I learned to cook on and my mom had her set as long as I can remember.

Never tried the ammonia trick but have tried several of the others and they do work. Again, as mentioned, time and patience.

Just an FYI, next time wrap the pot in heavy duty foil. Been there, done that with other pans. There isn't any appreciable difference cooking wise and then clean up is just a peel off and throw away.
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Old 11-02-2014, 07:43 AM   #17
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There's absolutely no question, as somebody else mentioned, that it's Revere Wear. That's what I learned to cook on and my mom had her set as long as I can remember.

Never tried the ammonia trick but have tried several of the others and they do work. Again, as mentioned, time and patience.

Just an FYI, next time wrap the pot in heavy duty foil. Been there, done that with other pans. There isn't any appreciable difference cooking wise and then clean up is just a peel off and throw away.
A trick we used to use in boy scouts was to rub the outside of the pot with Ivory bar soap. You had to take care to completely cover the outside surface. When the cooking was done, the soot and grime simply rinsed off with hot water.

I like the aluminum foil idea. I imagine it's easier than the soap trick.

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Old 11-02-2014, 08:10 AM   #18
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I prefer the ammonia method as most of the work is done while I'm sleeping.
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Old 11-02-2014, 08:47 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by medtran49 View Post
There's absolutely no question, as somebody else mentioned, that it's Revere Wear. That's what I learned to cook on and my mom had her set as long as I can remember.

Never tried the ammonia trick but have tried several of the others and they do work. Again, as mentioned, time and patience.

Just an FYI, next time wrap the pot in heavy duty foil. Been there, done that with other pans. There isn't any appreciable difference cooking wise and then clean up is just a peel off and throw away.
Back in the day, when I was a Cub Scout, we rubbed soap on the pan bottom when we cooked over an open fire.
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Old 11-02-2014, 08:55 AM   #20
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Back in the day, when I was a Cub Scout, we rubbed soap on the pan bottom when we cooked over an open fire.
I remember this from Boy Scout camping trips. However, if you cook over coals rather than burning wood, the soot factor is minimized.
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