Cleaning the Pan(s)


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


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.