The American Cleaning Institute (ACI)

Pots and Pans



Do the Dishes Every Day

Help kids think of "doing the dishes" as a daily routine. Cleaning up every night makes for a brighter morning … makes the work easier, as it prevents additional "stuck-on messes" to be scrubbed, and even helps reduce bugs and other pests in the kitchen!

Be extra careful when handling kitchen knives! Don’t pile them in the sink; instead, wash them one by one and immediately place them handle-up in the drying rack (or flat to dry).


Doing The Dirty Work After Dinner

Cooking for the family can be fun – but it doesn’t mean that you don’t have to do the dishes! All cooks – but especially novices – can end up with stuck-on goo on their pots and pans. Make cleanup a family affair with the following advice for an after-dinner "reality check."

Save the "Worst" for Last (But Do It Tonight!)
When hand washing dishes, do the plates, glasses and utensils first. End with cookware/pots and pans. If you soak pans with baked-on foods, washing will be easier. (See tips below) Don’t forget to wash the bottom of the pan, too—then rinse well and dry. Paper towels work well for drying pots and pans, especially if they contain traces of grease. 

Be a "Scrape"-Goat
Whether washing pots and plans by hand or loading them in the dishwasher, be sure to scrape dishes to remove leftover food. Use a rubber spatula or paper towel – and be sure not to dump grease into the sink, as it can cause serious clogs! Put it in an empty disposable can instead, and place it in the garbage. (NOTE: Use extreme caution when pouring off grease that could still be hot.)

Fix "Sticky" Situations
For stuck-on foods, soak cookware before washing. Add detergent or baking soda to the sink/dishpan (or soiled pot) and fill with hot water; soak for 15 to 30 minutes, then drain and continue. (But remember: some cookware, like baking pans with air cushioned inside, should not be submerged in water. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for advice!)

Avoid Chef "Burn-Out"
Whether beginner or pro, all cooks can still experience burned-on food! Here are remedies:

  1. Scour gently with mild abrasive cleaner, baking soda or plastic mesh pad.
  2. If scouring didn’t work, soak it in a solution of liquid hand dishwashing detergent and/or baking soda and water to loosen soil. Do not use automatic dishwasher detergent product for hand washing unless recommended by the product manufacturer.
  3. If it’s still not budging, bring a solution of baking soda and water (3 tablespoons to 1 quart) to a boil in the soiled pan. Remove from heat, add 1 tablespoon liquid hand dishwashing detergent and allow to cool. For any remaining soil, scrub with baking soda sprinkled on a plastic scouring pad or sponge; rinse and dry.