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Steel Wool: The forgotten secret weapon against burnt-on food messes!

Posted Jun 02 2010 12:00am

I was experimenting with a low-carb pizza this weekend, which left me disappointed, and with baked-on mess that I thought would take me days to clean…

A lot of people think that when you have a burnt-on mess, or a baked-on greasy mess, you need to soak it for hours and hours.  This, in my case, is not true.

I grew up using the good ol’ stand-by, Comet™.  I would stand at the sink, scrubbing away, inhaling that odd bleach-y smell.  My dad would actually wash his hands with it when he came home from work (he is a plumber).  It’s funny how the smell of wet,  iron-y metal reminds my of my Dad, standing at the sink, scrubbing his rough, dirt-embedded hands, whistling a happy tune.  I love that my Dad came home from work whistling. He loved/loves his job.

Since Comet™ is not a green, eco-friendly product, I no longer use it.  It contains ingredients like bleach, that harm aquatic life and their eco systems and our ground water, when washed down the drain.  So, I reached for the humble steel wool.

I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that this pan took hardly any effort and it was a bear cinch to clean.  It was hard work. When I would come home from school as a kid (with my brother), my mom had a list of chores for me, written out on a piece of paper, placed on the counter above the dishwasher.  I loathed those notes!  One time, she told me to clean our kitchen sink, which was porcelin, and to use a lot of “elbow grease“.  She came home to a dirty sink and scolded me for not completing my chores.  I told her that I looked all over but couldn’t find the the elbow grease!  I can’t imagine that she stayed mad for long, because her little daughter actually believed there was a product called “elbow grease!”  I still don’t know why someone hasn’t come up with a product with that name.  She proceded to tell me what elbow grease meant, and I was quickly disappointed that this meant that I had a tough job ahead of me.

I scrubbed the pan with a little soap, a little water, and a little sweat “elbow grease” and it came out better than any chemical would have cleaned it.  My point is, don’t waste time and use lots of chemicals to get your metal pans clean.  Sometimes we overlook the simple solutions.  Steel wool works great and it’s something I’ll always keep under my sink.

( After reading this post, my husband told me that his “elbow grease” would have gotten those dark crevices clean. Maybe some peoples “elbow grease” is a little stronger than others! )

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