For starters...through an oversight (we'll call it that), we ended up with a very burnt pan. (The one below is not it. I was too busy muttering beneath my breath and charting a path on how to clean it to remember to take a photo, but many thanks to normanack on Flickr, the photographer of this prime example).
My first reaction was, "this pan is an ex-pan. It's never going to come clean." The burnt part was thick and really baked on hard. But it was a nice stainless steel pan, and I didn't want to give up on it. So, relying on my faulty memory of something I had read on the internet, I poured a bit of white vinegar in the pan, added some tap water and (just for good measure) a squirt or two of dish washing liquid. Then I put it on the stove and boiled the concoction for a bit. I tested it with a spoon to see if I could scrape some of the worst bits off, and boiled it a bit longer. Then, after scraping a bit more (it seemed done), I upended the whole thing into a colander to catch the worst of the junk, gave it a quick scrub with a scratchy pad and...voila! Not perfect, but close.
In other cleaning news, I'm still working on the soap scum in the shower dilemma. I've been told that body washes won't create soap scum, but we still use old fashioned bar soap. I don't really like harsh cleaners. Breathing in that stuff give me the creeps, so I keep trying to find a better way. Two methods I've used that have had semi-decent results are:
Straight lemon juice left to sit for awhile and then scrubbed, but that's a rather expensive solution and it's also not perfect. Close but not perfect.
The internet-fueled solution of 4 ounces of vinegar (most people say that you should heat the vinegar first, but others say that it works fine without doing this) and 4 ounces of Dawn dish soap (other similar products might work as well, but Dawn is the one known for its grease killing power--it's used to clean up birds that are the victims of oil spills). The solution is powerful, really sudsy and smelly (as in overpowering), and some have said that you don't need that much Dawn, that its real purpose is to make the vinegar stick. I don't know the answer to that. The idea is to put it in a spray bottle, shake it up to mix, spray the solution on the soap scum, let it sit, then scrub and wipe it off, removing the soap scum with the solution. I've tried it and it does work (mostly--perhaps I didn't use enough solution or needed to let it sit longer or scrub a bit harder). Still, the smell and the vinegar fumes were almost too much for me, so beware! I've read anecdotal reports that people with asthma should not use this solution. And the scent lingered for longer than I would have expected.
So I continue to search.
Do you have any cleaning problems/solutions? Share in the comments.
Have a great (shiny) day!