What's The Deal: How to clean cookware to keep it terrific condition

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Whether you use cast iron or stainless steel in the kitchen, after the cooking, comes the cleaning. But you have to do it the right way, or you could damage your pots and pans.

The experts at Consumer Reports have figured it out: how to clean your cookware to keep it all in terrific condition.

Former chef, Kasey Hinckson, loves to cook for his family.

"I treat my cookware very well it's the other people that I live with that do not!" said Hinckson.

Sound familiar? To help you all out, Consumer Reports experts have a few tips.

When it comes to cast iron, a little effort after cooking goes a long way. Rinse with plain water and dry thoroughly.

"For tough messes, you can add water to the pan, simmer for a minute and then wipe clean. Or scrub the pan with coarse salt and a little water," says Sara Morrow-Harcourt with Consumer Reports.

No matter how you clean it, you want to make sure your cast iron is dried thoroughly to prevent rust. And once it's dry, rub the cooking surface with a little vegetable oil to keep the pan properly seasoned.

For stainless steel and porcelain enamel coated cookware, Consumer Reports says to avoid abrasives and instead use a nylon sponge and some dish detergent.

"Cleaning stainless steel immediately after you're done using it really does help reduce the chance of stains and water spots building up," said Morrow-Harcourt.

You can also use a stainless-steel cleaner to remove that rainbow-like discoloration that can sometimes happen.

You should have an easier time when it comes to non-stick cookware.

"Most nonstick fry pans are labeled dishwasher-safe but we've found cleaning by hand with hot soapy water is a cinch," Morrow-Harcourt said.

You can clean up your bakeware like a pro, too, says Consumer Reports. It's usually best to simply wash bakeware with detergent and a damp sponge. Soak in a solution of water and a little baking soda to loosen stubborn deposits; if they remain, remove them with a plastic-edged scraper, not a knife. Avoid steel wool and abrasive cleaners.
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