We’ve shared tips with you on how to get food crud off of your pans, but there’s another dark shadow that’s clinging to your cookware. You get so used to it that you probably ignore it, or you give up trying to fight it.

What’s that? Burns. Got a giant one on each of your aluminum pans that you’ve owned for years? Have brownish-black stains been coating your pots and pans for years? We know what happens. You buy nice, shiny metal cookware that you take great care to keep that way. Or your glass casserole dish is gleaming until lasagna takes over.

After a few rounds of cookie baking and chicken roasting, the shine fades, and the color turns auburn. Gradually, your pan turns dark. Sometimes, you accidentally burn food and it leaves evidence by way of a smite mark. We’ve got news: it’s cleanable!

No harsh chemicals are involved with this remedy. All you need is some baking soda, white vinegar, and hot water. Most of us have these items in the house already and they don’t cost much.

What do you do? Sprinkle some baking soda liberally on the scorch marks. Don’t forget the corners! Add vinegar and listen to the lovely fizzing sound it makes when it combines with the baking soda. You can either wait for the buzzy symphony to end, or add the hot water immediately after.

Make sure you put enough water in the pan (including the stubborn walls) to cover the stains completely. Let it soak, scrub, and dry. That’s it! For detailed instructions on measurements and how long to soak, take a look at the video below from Wochit. Pay attention to how long you need to let this sit!

A note on scrubbing: be careful about using steel wool or metal scouring pads because they will scratch your cookware. Never use an abrasive scouring pad on Dutch ovens or you will sorely regret it. Do scrub using circular motions for easier cleaning.

It may take a few rounds of this mixture before you get things right, but it’s better than throwing out or replacing your wares. For tough stains that don’t want to budge, some folks like to boil the mixture before dousing their pans with it. After allowing it to “steep” in the pan and some cooling off, stains are washed away.

Restored baking pans can be protected by using parchment paper or aluminum foil as a liner. Since you can’t line the stainless steel pans you use to cook on the stovetop, preventing burns is your best bet.

Try preheating your pan at a low temperature before adding your fat. Use low or medium heat to cook your food to prevent char marks from forming on the walls and bottom of your pan.

Extend the life of your good ole cookware with a handful of household ingredients. And this trick doesn’t just work for metal pans; you can try it on your glass or ceramic cookware too!

Have you tried this method before? Do you have blackened cookware in your kitchen right now? What’s your method for removing burn marks?