I've recently taken over a school where, let's just say the pots and pans where not treated as they should have been and literally have years of built up grime on the outside of them. I have brought most of them back but have found around the handle rivets and on some of the stainless steal pan bottoms that elbow grease and steal wool will not help remove the years of neglect. Is there any tricks you guys know or solid commercial products that can bring these pans back from the dead?
Cleaning away years of baked on goodness
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I've used the non-scratch pads (they're blue rather than the heavy duty pads that are green) made by Scotch-Brite and the cooktop cleaner, Cerama Bryte, this works really well, even at the rivets without damaging the surface
I've always kept a few painters 5 in 1 tools around for all the corners and sticky-outty bits that never seem to get cleaned right. Just make sure the dish crew knows what not to use them on!
Sodium hydroxide (caustic soda) is a powerfull cleaning agent. It may help. There's also muriatic acid (Hydrochloric acid, well known as a rust remover), but it should be used with care (gloves, eye protection, etc.).