Hands up who cleans their dirty pans in the sink? That’ll be most of us then. But turns out washing our frying pans in this way could be harming the environment.
That’s according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), who have issued new guidelines on how we should be cleaning our pans in order to save water.
Instead of just rinsing under the tap, they are advising you wait until oil in your pan has cooled before scraping the excess off to reuse or bin.
They then suggest we wipe leftover grease out of the pan with a paper towel before finally washing. The guide is part of a new Love Water campaign in the UK, which aims to reduce the amount of oil we pour into our waterways as a nation.
If washed off with water, the oil and fat can harden in pipes, causing fatbergs to form, and just one litre of oil poured down the sink can pollute one million litres of water, according to the department.
But that isn’t the only mistake we’re making when it comes to cleaning our saucepans.
Using the wrong thing to clean them
Scratched pans? Put it down to what you’re using to clean it.
According to Joanne Archer from Expert Home Tips scourers are a complete no-no.
“When cleaning non-stick pans, you should only use the soft side of a sponge,” she tells Yahoo Style UK. “The scourer side is much too abrasive. If you clean your pans soon after cooking, you shouldn't need much scrubbing power anyway.”
Instead experts suggest using a damp dish cloth with a splash of detergent.
Turns out how we stack our pans could be causing them to scratch too.
“If you want to keep your pans in good condition, make space for them,” Joanne says.
“Stacking your pans will only cause scratches. If you don't have the space to spread them out, you can protect them with some felt pan pads.”
And avoiding metal utensils when cooking will help keep your pans in good nick.
“Metal utensils will quickly scratch away that non-stick coating,” Joanne warns, suggesting wood or silicone utensils to preserve a pans longevity.
Washing in extreme temperatures
Cleaning expert Roxanna Pelka from Helpling says under no circumstances should you put your pans in the dishwasher.
The high temperatures will wear down the non-stick coating and the cleaning detergents are also too strong.
“Wash in warm, soapy water for best results,” she adds.
Washing copper pans
The copper trend shows no sign of letting up, but your once-shiny copper pan is likely to dull merely because of the way you’re cleaning it.
Roxanna says all you need to wash your copper is a mixture of vinegar and salt.
“Make a mixture of water, a few splashes of vinegar and a teaspoon of salt. Then take a soft clean cloth, rub the copper with the solution and let the mixture work for about half an hour,” she advises.
And if you really want to make it shine? Try tomato ketchup.
“It contains vinegar that lightens the copper. Simply apply a thick layer of ketchup, leave on for a few minutes, then rinse thoroughly and rub dry,” she says.
Joanne suggests investing in some Bar Keepers Friend. “This is my favourite cleaning product for keeping pans looking sparkling clean,” she says. “It's great at removing stains from the underside of pans, and it's even better for copper.
Not going au natural
While many of us reach for the washing up liquid when we’re washing our pans, there are some really good natural hacks to keep your saucepans sparkling.
Here are some expert-backed natural cleaning hacks:
Leave a dryer sheet to soak in your pans - “We're not sure why this works, but the results speak for themselves!” says Joanne.
“Just fill the pan with warm water, washing up liquid and a dryer sheet. Wait one hour and any hard food residue will clean off easily.”
Use vinegar and baking soda - “Sprinkle baking soda into the pan. Mix 250ml warm water and 100ml vinegar. Pour the solution into the pan and it'll fizz away, lifting off any stubborn dirt,” she advises.
Try sugar cubes - “Another easy way to remove food residue from a pan is to rub the surface with a sugar cube,” she suggests.
“It has a slightly abrasive surface that'll take food off cleanly, without scratching the pan.”
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