How to get stubborn, stuck-on food OFF your dishes and pans

6 ways to get clean plates, glasses and roasting tins, from baking powder magic to buying a new dishwasher

Hotpoint dishwasher

Eating and entertaining are what we live for, but nobody wants to deal with the aftermath: cutlery, crockery, cookware and glassware covered in stains, saucy smears and food cooked on so thoroughly, you wish you'd considered paper plates and plastic forks. But science, many centuries of learning, and AO.com all have solutions that work. 

The best of these, of course, is a top quality dishwasher. Once you've used a dishwasher, you will never ever want to go back to standing at your sink, wielding a scrubbing brush.  

We spoke to AO.com's appliance experts, who recommend red-hot new dishwasher technologies such as 3D Zone Wash, as found in Hotpoint's latest dishwashers. We've also got a few handy tricks for pre-dishwasher treatments to remove stubborn, baked-on food. Mainly, though, we recommend a dishwasher. Seriously.

About AO.com

Offering next day delivery on a wide range of products and an unbeatable 5-star rating on TrustPilot (from over 100,000 customers!) AO.com is the go-to for all your electrical needs. Keeping its customers’ needs in mind, AO.com are proud to stock Hotpoint’s range of dishwashers and can guarantee price matching with other retailers, so you'll never be left out of pocket…

1. Fill your pans with water after use

Prevention is better than cure, so deglaze your roasting tins with vinegar or water, and soak stubborn food traces on cutlery and crockery in water while you eat. We don't recommend leaving expensive steel cutlery or knives soaking for hours on end but a short period is okay.

Fill pots and pans with warm water to above the level of the baked on food, and let cutlery and crockery soak in a sink full of warm water, along with a generous dose of washing-up liquid to work on the grease and grime. If you're washing by hand you'll be really grateful you did, but it can also be helpful as the very simplest pre-dishwasher treatment. 

Of course, as we noted above, what you really want is a great dishwasher that can wipe out even the most stubborn of stains, which brings us to…

2. Upgrade your dishwasher

If part of your problem is an ageing, ineffective dishwasher or – horror of horrors – not even owning a dishwasher at all, it’s definitely worth considering an upgrade. You want a model that leverages the latest tech to give effective and efficient dishwashing results.

Hotpoint’s range of dishwashers feature 3D Zone Wash technology, are built to remove even the most stubborn of dirt, grease and grime, saving you the hassle of having to hand wash cutlery, crockery, pots and pans even after they’ve been through a dishwasher cycle and is a handy means of making your dishwashing experience more efficient.

The combined action of the powerful water jets from the upper and lower spray arms and the variable speed inverter motor, ensure precisely the right amount of water is used throughout the selected basket for either 40% more cleaning power* or 40% more energy efficiency**, depending on your needs. So in addition to saving time, you can also benefit from saving energy, and therefore money on your electricity bill.

Until March 31, AO.com is also currently offering half-price installation for selected models, plus 6 months of free Fairy detergent. 

*Average percentage of performance increase vs a non-3D Zone Wash appliance running Intensive cycle, obtained on 17 different items with different typology of dirt. Test results verified by VDE. 

** Verified in the Report N° 236127-AS6-1 by VDE Test Institute.

3. Arm yourself with age-old cleaning materials

Anyone who ever watched How Clean is your House will know that bicarbonate of soda (or baking powder, which contains plenty of bicarb) and vinegar make for a powerful, all-natural dishwasher pre-treatment

Just fill your pot with just enough water to cover any areas that need treating – you’re aiming for a higher concentration of cleaning solution, so keep water to a minimum, then add about 240ml of white vinegar. You may also want to bring the solution to a gentle boil if we're talking seriously baked on roasting tin gunk, here. Remove it from the heat before continuing.

Now add about 2 tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda/baking powder to the liquid, stirring and rubbing in to the worst affected areas with a spatula or wooden spoon.

Leave the solution to work its magic for 30 minutes, then place your pots in the dishwasher. Stubborn, stuck on food should gently lift away, no problem.

4. …Or how about raiding the medicine cabinet?

If you don't have bicarb to hand in the kitchen, you may have a very similar product in the bathroom. Alka-Seltzer is also an excellent, if unexpected, dishwasher pre-treatment to remove, stubborn, stuck-on food.

Simply add warm (not boiling) water to your pan or plate, ensuring all areas with stuck-on food are covered, and drop in as many Alka-Seltzers as you like, up to about six or so. After the tablets have finished fizzing, leave the solution for up to one hour before placing in the dishwasher. Et voila.

5. Try out tumble-dryer sheets

We’re not even sure why this one works, but it does. 

Take a tumble dryer sheet and submerge it in a pot or pan filled with warm water. Leave the solution to soak for up to an hour, before placing on a regular dishwasher cycle. This even works with used sheets.

Hotpoint’s cutting-edge dishwasher tech should render all these pre-treatments obsolete, but they're great to have in your arsenal if you haven’t upgraded just yet…