I have a old camping cooker from Trangia.

It comes with an aluminum pan (no non-stick coating, just plain aluminum), and when I last used it and made some eggs, due to the cooker being slightly tilted, there is now burned-in oil on it.

It is very hard to remove with mechanical means, even using a mild abrasive cleaner. A pan with a coating of burned oiled

Since it is aluminum, I can not use the aggressive grease removers. Is there any advice on how to clean burned oil from aluminum pans?

  • Grease removers probably aren't going to be useful for burned on grease, my advice would be to use a better pan, the ones that come with camp stoves are often complete junk.
    – GdD
    Commented Sep 1, 2022 at 11:58
  • 2
    I've heard Barkeeper's Friend recommended for these kinds of things, and they claim it works great on aluminum
    – Esther
    Commented Sep 1, 2022 at 14:02
  • 1
    @GdD You're asking the OP to carry the considerable weight of an extra pan. There's a reason these pans are thin and light. It's an extreme example but my entire camping cooking setup weighs less than a decent non-stick aluminium frying pan - which wouldn't fit in my pack anyway given the handle. Camping cooking sets also nest and serve double duty, so the frying pan can also be used as a saucepan lid.
    – Chris H
    Commented Sep 1, 2022 at 14:34
  • See cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/22855 and cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/120038 - I wouldn't call it a duplicate, since not all methods suitable for stainless steel are suitable for aluminium though.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Sep 1, 2022 at 14:58
  • 1
    Why do you want to remove it? That's seasoning.
    – FuzzyChef
    Commented Sep 2, 2022 at 0:37

1 Answer 1


The ultimate way to remove burnt-on stuff from aluminium is a motorised wire brush. Solid brass is fairly aggressive but manageable (watch out for brass-plated steel, which is too hard). Sets are available with nylon and brass brushes in various shapes to mount in a drill. Brass will scratch up the surface, but you can polish the worst of the scratches out with abrasive cleaner if you really want to.

Before that it might be worth trying the most aggressive kitchen degreaser you can find, sprayed on, left for a few minutes, then scrubbed with a nylon scouring pad. One I've used does slightly soften burnt-on grease, though it doesn't dissolve it.

The manufacturers Bar Keeper's Friend recommend it for use on aluminium, including for burnt-on oil, but I haven't tested it myself.

The degreasers to avoid are the strong alkaline solutions

  • The problem is, I haven't found any degreaser except for "strong alkaline solutions" to work on polymerized oil. Admittedly, I haven't worked with Bar Keepers Friend or other boron-based ones (I actually believe they are illegal in Europe) - they are popular in answers to this type of question, so if you know, it would be good to mention if they can be used on aluminium.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Sep 1, 2022 at 15:00
  • @rumtscho there is a European (or at least UK, including pre-brexit) Bar Keeper's Friend. It may be a different formulation. I agree that polymerised oil is a different matter, however slight softening would be very helpful and I have observed that with the one I linked. Of course I can't rule out the possibility that my oil wasn't fully polymerised; neither can I confirm that the OP's is.
    – Chris H
    Commented Sep 1, 2022 at 15:05
  • ... but Wikipedia on Bar Keeper's Friend doesn't mention boron anyway
    – Chris H
    Commented Sep 1, 2022 at 15:07
  • Ooops, I have no idea then how BKF and boron got linked in my mind! My bad, it isn't relevant then. Unless you happen to know if the actual BKF is damaging to aluminium.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Sep 1, 2022 at 15:16
  • 1
    BKF works fine on aluminum, though (IME) it won’t remove oxide stains like it will with other metals.
    – Sneftel
    Commented Sep 1, 2022 at 16:12

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