I was boiling soapy water (to help clean it) in my Martha Stewart stock pot, and I forgot about it. It seems pretty burnt. Can it be cleaned and salvaged, or is it headed for trash? Thanks for your input.

  • 1
    What's burnt on? And is it the inside of the pot only, or the outside as well (assuming both use the same enamel). Both enamel and cast iron are very heat resistant...
    – derobert
    Mar 20, 2014 at 23:11
  • And there's different types of burns to the enameled outside -- there's coated in a sooty substance (might be cleanable) vs. melting the enamel (will look that way for a lifetime). If you boiled all of the water off, you also might've had something (the soap?) burn on the inside.
    – Joe
    Mar 20, 2014 at 23:19
  • The outside of the pan is not that bad--a few drippings down the pan. I think that it is the soap that is burned on. The inside is another story. The top and sides which were cream colored, are dark brown, the bottom is charred black and sooty. I can't really see the enamel well.
    – user23895
    Mar 21, 2014 at 6:53

2 Answers 2


Since the enamel on the outside is OK, it sounds like you didn't get it hot enough to damage the pan itself. So, its probably salvageable.

Check the manual for what they say you can clean it with. For example, if you can use steel wool, soak in soapy water overnight, then apply a lot of elbow grease, that will probably remove a lot of it. Even if you can't use steel wool on it, after a soak one of the non-scratch sponges will probably still help.

Google informs me there are specialty cleaners intended to remove carbon deposits from porcelain/vitreous enamel. You could give one a try if the long soak + elbow grease doesn't work. Make sure to thoroughly remove the cleaner after use, as of course you don't want to be eating it.

The pot may be permanently darkened. That shouldn't affect cooking performance.


Boiling a vinegar-water solution has worked exceptionally well for me in the past - the enamel may be somewhat darkened or discolored even after cleaning, but that's a mark of pride on my pots - it's a sign they're used and often. Everyone in the cupboard pulls their weight. :)

  • Does vinegar dissolve carbon deposits? If it is badly burned, that is what will remain.
    – SAJ14SAJ
    Mar 21, 2014 at 18:44
  • @SAJ14SAJ - Funny you should mention, a common shade-tree mechanic's trick to clean carbon deposits off of dirty valves and pistons is a hot vinegar soak. Mar 21, 2014 at 19:33
  • Cool, I didn't know that.
    – SAJ14SAJ
    Mar 21, 2014 at 19:36
  • Thanks, I will try the vinegar/h20 solution. What kind of vinegar?and what ratio. please.
    – user23895
    Mar 22, 2014 at 7:40
  • @user23895 - Try white vinegar in a 1-1 solution of water and vinegar, brought to a boil and then lowered to a simmer for 15-30 minutes or so (don't let all of the liquid evaporate, tho!) An overnight soak, where you take the pot off the heat and let the acid work against the crud for 8+ hours, couldn't hurt, either. Mar 24, 2014 at 13:50

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