Eek my pot
January 11, 2007 4:58 PM   Subscribe

I burned some quince on my stovetop. The sugar from the fruit makes the stickiest black goo when burned. Do I have any chance of getting it off?
posted by gorgor_balabala to Home & Garden (11 answers total)
I have had reasonably good luck using boiling water on the goo. You may need a dish-towel dam around it or under the burner depending on where the goo is located. After apply boiling water use a spatula to scrape through it. At least that worked for me. It may take more than one application to get rid of all of it.
posted by JayRwv at 5:10 PM on January 11, 2007

Yep, if it's really mostly sugar, usually water will dissolve it.

If not, you could also try Goo-Gone.
posted by exceptinsects at 5:24 PM on January 11, 2007

If the water thing doesn't work, consider using oven cleaner. Apply some in an unobtrusive area of the stove first to make sure it won't harm the finish.

I brew beer, and boil overs sometimes result in a burnt sugar residue which is very difficult to clean. A couple of applications of oven cleaner and a bunch of scrubbing usually do the job.

Make sure you ventilate the area and wear gloves when you use the stuff. It's potent!
posted by Xazeru at 6:06 PM on January 11, 2007

If you can remove the part with the goo, try leaving it under (very) hot running water. I've had success getting really thick burnt sugar out of a pan that way.
posted by sleeplessunderwater at 6:15 PM on January 11, 2007

Vinegar should melt it. Pour a little white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar on it and let it sit for a few hours. Vinegar is magical.
posted by iconomy at 6:18 PM on January 11, 2007

Xazeru writes "If the water thing doesn't work, consider using oven cleaner."

Yep, oven cleaner on anything porcelain. Avoid getting on aluminium (a lot of stove trim is aluminium) as it'll etch it.
posted by Mitheral at 7:52 PM on January 11, 2007

You mean you burned the quince stuff onto the stovetop, or you burnt it into a pot while it was on the stovetop? I thought it was the latter, but previous posts seem to think it was the former.

If it was the pot, fill it past the burnt part with water and put it on to boil. Optionally throw in baking soda, a nice adjunct to the huge amounts of thermal and kinetic energy and the natural dissolving power of water.

If you live in a place where you can get Domestos cleaner—I've seen it in Europe, never in the States, but I don't exactly hang out in the cleaning-products aisle—it is essentially lye (pretty concentrated this time) plus bleach in enough glycerin-type stuff to make a gel. It works its cleansing and sanitizing wonders on metal, enamel, ceramic, glass, plastics, bricks, grodalated old sponges covered in band-aids (just kidding), anything that can tolerate it. I swear it digested the nasty glued-on dumpling fragments I used it on. It simultaneously removed the buckwheat stains from that pot's scratched white enamel, which is to say it can pretty much do anything. Use gloves, unless you enjoy feeling the heat of reaction as the alkali friggin' saponifies a couple layers of your skin.

Whatever you do, if you use both acid and alkali methods (e.g., vinegar and oven cleaner), rinse well with more than enough water in between.

And above all, remember this: Chemistry and thermodynamics (vinegar, oven cleaner, boiling water) are great for softening things up initially and/or for polishing them off, but you need mechanics (elbow grease) to remove any solid masses. Scotch-brite good, steel-coil scrubbers better. (That is, if the underlying surface will tolerate it.)

/me reflects on an extensive resumé of burnt-crud removal
posted by eritain at 1:14 AM on January 12, 2007

whack a bit of biologial washing powder in there with some warm water, this usually does the trick with most burnt stuff on pans
posted by CliveDallas at 1:21 AM on January 12, 2007

If it's your stovetop, I would put a cloth on it, cover it in hot water and just let it sit for a while.

Often elbow grease will work, so just start rubbing at it with a cloth and after a while you are bound to get it off. If it's burned sugar, lots of heat, lots of rubbing, maybe scratch at it with a wooden or plastic utensil to get the worst of it off without damaging the underlying surface.

I have some stains on my stove that are there for the duration, I have learned to live with them!
posted by tomble at 3:36 AM on January 12, 2007

the mister clean magic erasers or their generic counter parts actually work very well for removing this sort of thing. I used them on a bathtub that I wasn't able to get clean or white with various caustic chemicals and it worked great with minimal effort. They are reasonably cheap as well
posted by estronaut at 7:08 AM on January 12, 2007

Hot water soak with a tiny bit of detergent (or soap) will work if it's not too brunt in. You're better off with a strong base than an acid. Vinegar won't be as strong a solvent for burnt sugar products.

Lye-based oven cleaners will also work very well. This is the option to use for really tough brunt on organic crude, but it is much harder on the surface. Lye will damage any exposed metal, and may damage paint (even porcelain paints).

Goo-gone and other petroleum distillates (WD-40, paint thinner, turpentine, etc...) won't work well on burnt sugars. Acetone or methanol (solvent in dry erase markers) may have some effect, but can also damage the paint quite easily.
posted by bonehead at 1:39 PM on January 12, 2007

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