On another day, another video that I saw in the gloomy depths of vengeance sleep postponement while scrolling TikTok, I’m trying a modern cleansing miracle.
A video by popular TikToker Dan Shaba made millions of people believe they could wipe the bottom of their frying pans with little more than dish soap and paper towels.
“Finally a hack that is really useful,” he captioned the video. No, I didn’t trust it either.
Blackened cookware is a simple fact of life. No matter how clean the pot or pan is, it can still look dirty from dirt build-up and burns.
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I actually asked the office if I could find “the dirtiest pan” for our internal test, but no one wanted to give up anything. Either all of them Stuff The head office lives mainly from takeaways, meticulously clean or fake. Your guess which one.
So I humbly offer what my four roommates call our “good pan” to test this out.
This thing is well used by several people most days of the week – and has been for years – and the bottom of it is burned crispier than a piece of good bacon.
But according to the original video, it only takes a few minutes to breathe “brand new” life into an old frying pan, and some items you probably already have in the pantry (or if you don’t, they won’t) cost more than ten dollars .) Here we go.
How to clean a pan with TikTok’s viral baking soda hack
For this cleaning hack you will need:
White wine vinegar
Steel wool cleaning
What to do – and the science behind it
Dr. David Warren, coordinator of the chemistry outreach program at Otago University, said the “hack” was the kind his grandmother would have done in the days before modern detergents and soaps.
The first step is to scrub the bottom of a pan with the steel wool to break up any dirt and burned parts on the surface. That’s just to make sure the chemicals get into the grease and oil layer, Warren said, because chemical reactions happen faster with a larger surface area.
Okay, step two. We poured a generous amount of salt over the bottom of the pan, then sprinkled several baking soda shakes – as directed – until the bottom of the pan was lightly covered.
“Sodium Bicarbonate [baking soda] is a base [alkali] and his role in doing so is to break those fats and oils down in the pan, ”explains Warren. “The salt probably has two jobs. It acts as an abrasive and creates a solution that lifts off the soap-like molecules that the baking soda makes. “
From there, we pour detergent generously over the bottom of the pan, zigzagging to cover as much of the surface as possible. Then we use the steel wool to mix the ingredients in the pan.
“The detergent only helps remove the soap-like molecules and also does the job of surrounding and peeling off undegraded oils,” said Warren.
The original video says you should put paper towels over them right away, but Warren has doubts. This could work on a new pan that has only been used a few times, but not ours.
“Depending on how thick the burned-in layer is, the longer it has to be soaked so that it penetrates the top layer. It may even take more than one attempt to get rid of it. “
“The more the layer is burned, the more difficult it is to get rid of these chemicals.”
True to the video, we layered the entire bottom of the pan with paper towels and poured white vinegar over them until they were soaked.
“The vinegar neutralizes the base and breaks down fats (but not as efficiently as the carbonate),” Warren said.
The video tells you to wait a few minutes for the solution to bubble up. We didn’t get any bubbles during this time but went to the last instruction and peeled off the paper towel and swirled it around to mix the vinegar in the pan.
Did it work?
“When you swipe, you should reveal a pan that is practically ‘brand new’,” TikTokers touted.
Our pan before and after the test looks more like a stain that makes all the difference. A few tiny scorch marks were scrubbed off, but that was all.
The result might have been better if we’d let the baking soda, salt, and dish soap sit for a while or tried this method a few more times. But with so much effort, the point of a “hack” is kind of ruined, isn’t it?
Scrubbing burned pans with a dishwasher tablet is actually a “remarkably effective” way to clean them, says Warren. So maybe try that out first.