Mixing Maroons - Spend Less, Save More … Get Marooned!

Friday's Frugalities,Mrs. Maroon

March 8, 2015

FF #14 – My New Cleaning Solution

Tags: , ,

Whoa!! Been a while since the thought of a Friday’s Frugalities crossed this corner of the web. Somewhere along the way, my grand plans for a weekly series went out the window. Oh yeah, and it’s definitely Sunday right now. I’ve warned you before that I’m scatter-brained. But I came across something so great just now I couldn’t help but come to share it with you fine folks!


With a half birthday on the horizon this week for Mini Maroon #2, I decided to get back into the groove of making baby food again. I really enjoyed it with Mini Maroon #1. I would do it even if I wasn’t convinced that it does help us save a dollar or two here and there. Anyway, back to my afternoon… I put my zucchini in a pot to steam for a little while. As it so happens when you have two small children, I kinda forgot about it. I was rocked back to reality as I smelled a bit of a char in the air. Sure enough, I had run out of water. I was devastated to see my beautiful stainless steel pot as black as the oil covering Mr. Maroon’s hands as he worked on the Jeep this afternoon. As a quick fix, I threw a little baking soda and vinegar in, and left it in the sink for after the minis’ bedtime.


Dreading the task of cleaning it, I left the pot until the very last item while cleaning the kitchen after supper – even after the most critical evening task of setting up coffee for the next morning. I scrubbed the remnants of the elementary school science volcano experiment a little bit but then rolled up my sleeves for what I was sure was going to take some serious elbow grease. Then a thought struck me… I’ve been trying to educate myself on how to care for our cast iron skillet better because I have really enjoyed using it lately. One of the suggestions is to use kosher salt as an abrasive to remove any cooked on bits of food. Tonight I thought to myself “what the hell, I mean it can’t hurt anything – just try it!” AMAZING!!! I rubbed the salt around a little bit and the results were just outstanding. See for yourself…

 Ewww!! (And yes, a little bit of broccoli waiting for its fate with the disposal)

(And yes, a little bit of broccoli waiting for it’s fate with the disposal)

Granted, that’s a nasty sight. Black as can be. The thing is, my pot is no longer black. Not at all. And I didn’t even have to break a sweat to get there!!


I love my stainless steel cookware. I specifically chose it over ‘non-stick’ cookware, knowing that cleaning might be a little more difficult. In some of my previous, um, burnt supper sessions, I’ve found myself using a specific cleaning solution to restore the shine. Given the warnings, and the utterly caustic smell of it, this stuff means pretty serious business. I’ve seen it work hard, but I put in a lot of hard work too. And I’m terrified to know what it would do if I let it touch my bare skin – I’ve always followed the directions to wear gloves.


Time will only tell if my next black pot will scrub clean with just salt, but you can be assured that my first go to will be the box of kosher salt that has been sitting in our cabinet for YEARS. I don’t cook with salt – I don’t like the taste of it. And Mr. Maroon’s propensity for hypertension doesn’t support it either. A quick check of Amazon tells me that our box of salt is worth $5.50. Since I haven’t bought any in years, I’ll have to trust it, even though I often think Amazon is over-priced for most pantry goods. But still, I think that is a steal… surely I can’t burn enough meals to go through a whole box of salt, right? Please tell me I’m right!!


Any other tricks to share for cleaning your cookware? Do you cook with cast iron? How often do you burn supper?


~ Mrs. Maroon

February 2015 Update
  1. Comment by Robin @ The Thrifty Peach — March 8, 2015 @ 8:17 PM

    While I can’t say I’ve ever burned our dinner (that’s a lie), I do clean everything with baking soda and vinegar! I need to add salt to that mixture to try to clean our oven (because baking soda and vinegar didn’t cut it for that.) I never thought about that!
    Robin @ The Thrifty Peach recently posted…My Frugal NightmareMy Profile

    Mrs. Maroon Reply:

    I go through spurts where I only clean with vinegar and baking soda. And then something will stump me and I go back to other cleaners. I gotta stick to it better!

  2. Comment by Christina @ Embracing Simple — March 8, 2015 @ 8:45 PM

    This is such a fabulous tip! I too make baby food for my Little Miss, and also steam it all in my stainless steel cookware. Something like this is bound to happen to me eventually, so I’m totally going to bookmark this so I have a fix for it! 🙂 Thanks!!
    Christina @ Embracing Simple recently posted…Book Review + Giveaway: The Mommy Blogger Next DoorMy Profile

    Mrs. Maroon Reply:

    Glad to hear about another baby food maker! Happy to help you with an idea for a (potential) burnt pot.

  3. Comment by Mrs SSC — March 9, 2015 @ 5:32 AM

    Baking soda works sometimes too, although I do like salt as an abrasive more. Plus salt works as a nice body scrub too! 🙂 Once I tried a baking soda and peroxide trick on cookie sheets that I found online. It didn’t work as well as had hoped – but it did more good than harm, which I suppose is a win!
    Mrs SSC recently posted…February 2015: Our money went where?My Profile

    Mrs. Maroon Reply:

    Yeah, my skin could use a little bit of that exfoliating action too. But I guess that’s a tale of mommy to two… my pots get better attention than me!

  4. Comment by Jon @ Money Smart Guides — March 9, 2015 @ 7:08 AM

    Very interesting! My trick is to fill the pot with water and soap and let it sit overnight. That loosens up a good bit the gunk but still does requires some effort on my part too. I’ll have to give this a try!
    Jon @ Money Smart Guides recently posted…Solving Your Saving and Investing Problems In 2 StepsMy Profile

    Mrs. Maroon Reply:

    I often use the ‘it needs to soak’ line with myself. For the most part, that just means I don’t want to clean it right now!!

  5. Comment by Elroy — March 10, 2015 @ 5:58 AM

    Another trick is to “de-glaze” or when it is still hot, pour a little water or broth into the pot and it will take that stuff right off. Bonus, use that for flavoring. So, if you cooked chicken and it left some nasties, pour a little broth in the pot right after you take the chicken out and it will deglaze the pot. Then, use that over the chicken.
    Elroy recently posted…Israel – Galilee & Northern IsraelMy Profile

    Mrs. Maroon Reply:

    I’ve heard about de-glazing, but never tried it before. Something I should definitely add to my cooking routine. Though with as black as this stuff was, I don’t think it would have added anything good to the food!

  6. Comment by Kalie — March 12, 2015 @ 3:26 PM

    I’ve definitely burned the baby food, too. Worth it though to not buy tiny jars for outrageous prices. I use vinegar a lot. It’s great for carpet stains. But during flu season I break out the bleach & Lysol!
    Kalie recently posted…Life is Not About Your PreferencesMy Profile

    Mrs. Maroon Reply:

    Mr. Maroon asked me this weekend why we had two gallons of vinegar…

    But the big stuff requires serious sanitation. Don’t mess with the flu!!

  7. Comment by Julie @ HappinessSavouredHot — March 16, 2015 @ 1:28 PM

    Fantastic! I love those natural, effective alternatives to cleaning products (my go-to is baking soda, vinegar and lemon juice).

    I used to make all my babies’ food, not for money but for quality reason. I like to think that it’s why they now eat everything.
    Julie @ HappinessSavouredHot recently posted…The Less is More Project: Week 11 – The toughest time of your lifeMy Profile

    Mrs. Maroon Reply:

    Mini #1 eats just about anything we put in front of him at three years old – and lots of it! I like to think that the baby food he ate had something to do with it too. Good stuff!

  8. Comment by Holly@ClubThrifty — March 18, 2015 @ 6:16 AM

    That is definitely a great tip! I have been known to burn a pot or two in my time =(
    Holly@ClubThrifty recently posted…Here’s What Happens When You Get Ripped Off On Etsy.comMy Profile

  9. Pingback by Simplified Cleaning Series: Tips & Tricks for Quick and Easy Cleaning - Embracing Simple — April 1, 2015 @ 5:48 AM

    […] kosher salt to clean burnt food off of stainless steel cookware – an awesome tip from Mixing Maroons. Mrs. Maroon has this post with a great detailed […]

Leave a comment

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

CommentLuv badge