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Cleaning the Pan(s)

September 20, 2018

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. Cleaning the INSIDE of the Pan
  2. Cleaning the BOTTOM of the Pan

CLEANING INSIDE THE PAN

There are many commercial pan cleaners on the market and many people have had great results from them. However, there are also more natural approaches to cleaning your pan and you won’t have to go any farther than the grocery store to get the necessary ingredients. Natural methods does NOT require a lot of elbow grease, are gentle enough to not scratch the mirror finish stainless steel, and can make your pans look as good as new. NOTE: Excessive exposure to ANY cleaning agent/acid — regardless of being commercial or natural — could potentially harm stainless steel. Use as directed.

Method 1 = Sour Sap

At the end of the season, fill your pans with leftover maple sap. Allow it to sit for about a month or two. During this time, the sap will naturally turn into a light vinegar. Afterward, you will be able to drain and easily wipe away any debris that had previously been stuck to the interior of the pan. We demonstrated this technique in our below Facebook webinar on May 15, 2020.

Method 2 = Vinegar/Baking Soda

You Will Need:

    1. Clean, Hot Water
    2. White Vinegar
    3. Non-abrasive cloth or soft sponge
    4. Large bucket (for premixing vinegar and water)
    5. Water Hose
    6. Baking soda (for cosmetic touch ups)
    7. Spray bottle (for cosmetic touch ups)

Step 1: Remove Major Gunk and Sediment

Premix a 50/50 solution of white vinegar and water and fill your pans with it. HOT water works best.

WARNING: NEVER pour 100% vinegar directly into your pan. Vinegar is a light acid that could damage welds over time, especially if it is not properly mixed and diluted with water. If you do not premix, the unmixed vinegar can find its way into in hard to reach places like flues and drain manifolds where it will be impossible for you to properly mix with the water.

Step 2: Soak

Now you can walk away and let the diluted vinegar do its thing. Allow the pan to soak up to a day, depending on how dirty the pan is.

Step 3: Drain and Rinse

Drain the pan and spray out with a hose. Nearly all the major gunk should lift off effortlessly when it is hosed. If necessary, rub problem areas lightly with a non-abrasive cloth or soft sponge.

Step 4: Touch Ups

At this point your pans will be clean, but you may notice some “scaling” in some areas. This cosmetic concern can be easily remedied with a little help from some baking soda. Use a damp non-abrasive cloth or sponge to rub baking onto the scaling. Then spray lightly with your diluted vinegar solution. This will activate the baking soda’s bubbly magic powers. After the foaming has stopped, rinse and wipe with a clean rag. Stand back and admire the sparkly clean perfection.

Method 3 = Barkeeper’s Friend

We have been hearing good things about Barkeeper’s Friend. According to the product’s website, it is safe to use on cookware. Rub gently so not to scratch. Use a soft cloth.


CLEANING THE BOTTOM OF THE PAN

There are several methods you can use — either alone or in combination — which will help get the bottom of your pan clean. The first two methods listed below were also discussed in our Facebook webinar on May 15, 2020.

  1. A pressure washer can get the majority of the soot off the bottom of your pan.
  2. Expose the bottom of your pan to the sun on a hot, summer day. This causes the soot to dry and flake off.
  3. Mothers® Mag and Aluminum Polish. Customers have reported great success with this product. (See example below.) Please note that this polish is not labeled as a natural/food grade formula. Because of this, we suggest this polish for the OUTSIDE of the pan only. Do not use on surfaces that will come in contact with your sap/syrup.

Mothers Mag and Aluminum Polish

The above “Before and After” photos are courtesy of fellow sugar maker, Dale Poquette.

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12 Comments

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Dwight Long

April 2, 2021

Found it thx

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John Cloutier

March 9, 2022

Is it going to be necessary to clean the pan after each batch? We are going to try and start boiling with 80 gallons of sap on hand.Our season target is 400 gallons of sap. Any information will be helpful. Thanks

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Angela

March 9, 2022

Hi John,
Having a clean pan is never a bad thing! But I guess you will need to use your best judgement as to when it is time to stop and clean. If there is a lot of nitre on the floor of your pan, this can act as an insulator which is not good for your pan. Also, that thick layer of nitre could impose an off flavor in your syrup. Best to keep that nitre under control.

Have a fun season. Angela

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Jesse

May 1, 2022

Hi Angela,
Does soot build up on the bottom of the pan also act as an insulator? Or is cleaning the outside of the pan more of a cosmetic reason?
Thanks!

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angela

May 1, 2022

Yes. Too much soot could act as an insulator.

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Sam McKay

February 16, 2023

Thanks for the response. The instructions are good, but a video on YouTube would allow more people to easily access it.

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Bruce Ceranske

March 21, 2023

I find after a couple of days boiling in my Corsair divided pan that my boil efficiency becomes noticeably less as sand and scale coat the pan.

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Eric

March 23, 2023

Is the vinegar reference here cleaning strength or canning strength?

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Angela

March 23, 2023

The distilled vinegar we are referring to here is your common household vinegar that you would find at the grocery store.

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Tom

October 22, 2023

The barkeepers you mention above comes in 3 forms (powder, paste, and liquid spray. Have you heard any specifics on what people are using and how they are using it?

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Angela

October 22, 2023

By far our most recommended methods for cleaning would be the 50/50 water and vinegar method OR the sour sap method.

That being said, here is an article from Barkeepers Friend that talks more about how to use their product: https://barkeepersfriend.com/how-to-clean-stainless-steel-pans/

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Curt Knokie

February 18, 2024

Angela, what about the creosote that builds up on the underside of a fluted pan? I have your corsair and last season it was a real chore trying to get all the creosote off. I know that if left on it would affect the efficiency of the evaporating process. Curt

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