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I cooked up some meatloaf in a copper dish and it came out great. The dish itself, a little less so. I don't want to scratch the surface or wash it down the drain, what are some good ways to clean this without pulling out my hair?

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The secret to getting meat loaf off is to first soak it in cold water for a good 15 minutes or longer. Cold water soaks are good for high protein food like eggs and meat as well as starches like oatmeal. On a scratch-able surface I like to use a butter knife to gently pry off the material that doesn't wipe off after a soak. Fingernails work too if yours are long enough. Then a gentle rub with a plastic scouring pad, not metal. You just have to keep at it.

This is why I use non-stick, ceramic or glass for meat loaf! It isn't glue, but it's close.

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    Guitar picks make an excellent replacement for fingernails in a job like this. I bought a pack of Fender brand at the local music store. They are cheap and do a great job at fingernail type tasks throughout the house, kitchen included. Nylon, I think. Whatever, they do not scratch. Commented Jan 11, 2020 at 2:09
  • That's a great trick @WayfaringStranger, I'm going to have to try that!
    – GdD
    Commented Jan 11, 2020 at 9:09
  • Not nylon, Nitrocellulose. Picks burn like mad with a smoke free flame and very little ash. Commented Jan 11, 2020 at 17:46
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If you want to mechanically dislodge stuff without any scratching, try cleaning it with a silicone spatula, the ones made for baking. They can "lick" a bowl of mousse clean. For something like a meatloaf, a few stray bits will stay, but they should be small enough to get cleaned with a sponge. The large amounts of grease and clumps of protein will be gone. And the spatula will scratch less than a scouring pad, even a plastic one.

For best results, combine it with the soaking GdD suggested. In nonreactive metals, I would suggest adding dishwasher detergent to the soak - it will clean much more than liquid meant for manual dishwashing - but it is not suitable for copper.

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