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How To Clean A Blackened Pot For Backpacking


by Estel Haggerty



When you’re out in the great outdoors, nothing beats a hearty campfire-cooked meal. And while camping and backpacking can be an amazing experience, one downside is the cleanup. If you’ve ever ended up with a blackened pot after cooking over an open flame, you know how challenging it can be to get it clean again.


But fear not! With a few simple supplies and the right technique, you can easily restore your blackened pot to its former glory. In this article, we’ll walk you through the steps to clean a blackened pot, so you can enjoy your camping adventures without the hassle of stubborn stains.


Before we dive into the cleaning process, it’s important to mention that prevention is key. Whenever possible, try to use nonstick cookware or line your pots and pans with aluminum foil to protect them from direct contact with the flames. However, if you find yourself with a blackened pot, follow these steps to bring it back to life.


Supplies Needed

Before you begin cleaning your blackened pot, gather the following supplies:

  1. Hot water
  2. Baking soda
  3. Dish soap
  4. Sponge or scrub brush
  5. Pot scraper or plastic spatula
  6. Microfiber or dish towel

These supplies are readily available and will help you tackle the toughest stains on your camping cookware.


Hot water is essential for loosening the grime and making it easier to scrub away. Baking soda is a versatile and effective cleaning agent that can effectively remove stubborn stains and odors. Dish soap will help cut through grease and oil, leaving your pot clean and fresh. A sponge or scrub brush will provide the necessary abrasion to scrub away the blackened residue. A pot scraper or plastic spatula will come in handy for scraping off any burnt-on food particles. Finally, a microfiber or dish towel is needed for drying your pot once it’s clean.


Now that you have all the necessary supplies, let’s move on to the step-by-step process of cleaning your blackened pot.


Step 1: Soak the Pot

The first step in cleaning a blackened pot is to give it a good soak. Fill the pot with hot water, making sure to cover all the stained areas. The hot water will help to loosen the blackened residue and make it easier to remove.


Let the pot soak for at least 30 minutes to an hour. For stubborn stains, you can even leave it overnight. During this time, the hot water will work its magic and soften the burnt-on food particles.


While the pot is soaking, take the opportunity to gather the rest of your cleaning supplies and prepare your cleaning area. Make sure you have easy access to the sink or a nearby water source.


Once the soaking time is up, carefully empty the hot water from the pot. Be cautious as the water may still be very hot. Use oven mitts or tongs to protect your hands.


If you notice any loose food particles or residue after draining the water, gently shake or tap the pot to remove them. Now you’re ready to move on to the next step.


Step 2: Scrub with Baking Soda

Now that your blackened pot has been soaked, it’s time to tackle the stubborn stains with the help of baking soda. Baking soda is a gentle yet effective abrasive that can help remove burnt-on residue without scratching the surface of your cookware.


To begin, sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda onto the stained areas of the pot. Use your fingers or a clean sponge to spread the baking soda evenly and create a thick paste. Ensure that the entire surface is covered with the baking soda mixture.


Next, take your sponge or scrub brush and start scrubbing the pot in circular motions. Apply some pressure to help remove the stubborn stains. The abrasive nature of the baking soda will work to lift the grime and restore the pot’s original shine.


Pay extra attention to areas that are heavily stained or have burnt-on food particles. Use a pot scraper or a plastic spatula to gently scrape away any tough residue. Be careful not to apply too much pressure or use any metal utensils, as they can potentially scratch the surface of your pot.


Continue scrubbing until you’re satisfied with the results. You may need to reapply baking soda paste to certain areas if the stains are particularly stubborn. Don’t hesitate to put in some elbow grease to get the job done!


Once you’re happy with the cleanliness of the pot, rinse it thoroughly with hot water to remove any leftover baking soda residue. Inspect the pot to ensure that all stains and residue are completely gone. If needed, repeat this step until the pot is clean and free of blackened stains.


Now that the stubborn stains have been removed, it’s time to move on to the next step.


Step 3: Rinse and Repeat as Necessary

After scrubbing the pot with baking soda, it’s important to thoroughly rinse it to remove any remaining residue. Rinse under hot running water, making sure to clean both the inside and outside of the pot.


While rinsing, use your sponge or scrub brush to continue scrubbing the pot gently. This will help to dislodge any lingering particles and ensure a thorough cleaning. Pay attention to the edges, handles, and any hard-to-reach areas.


Inspect the pot and check if there are still any traces of the blackened stains. If you notice any remaining stains, repeat the previous steps by creating a baking soda paste and scrubbing the pot again. This time, focus specifically on the stubborn areas.


For extra tough stains, you can try using a mixture of baking soda and water to create a thicker paste. Apply the paste to the stained areas and let it sit for a few minutes before scrubbing. The baking soda will work as a natural abrasive to help break down the stains.


Rinse the pot again to remove the paste and any loosened debris. Inspect the pot once more to determine if any additional cleaning is needed. If the stains are still present after a second round of cleaning, consider using a specialized cleaner or seeking further assistance.


Remember, the key is to be patient and persistent. Cleaning a blackened pot may require multiple rounds of scrubbing and rinsing, especially for deeply ingrained stains.


Once you’re satisfied with the cleanliness of the pot and all stains have been removed, it’s time to move on to the final step.


Step 4: Dry Thoroughly

The last step in cleaning a blackened pot is to ensure that it is thoroughly dried before storing or using it again. Proper drying is essential to prevent the growth of mold and mildew, which can be common in camping gear if not dried properly.


Start by using a clean microfiber or dish towel to wipe away any excess moisture from the pot. Pay special attention to the handles, edges, and the inside of the pot.


Next, allow the pot to air dry completely in a well-ventilated area. This step is crucial to ensure that there is no remaining moisture that could lead to unpleasant odors or rusting.


If you’re in a hurry and need to expedite the drying process, you can place the pot on a stovetop burner set to low heat. This will help evaporate any remaining moisture. Be cautious and observe the pot closely to prevent overheating or damage.


Once the pot is completely dry, double-check that it is free of any moisture or residual cleaning products. Inspect the interior and exterior to ensure there are no lingering stains or residues.


Now that your blackened pot is clean, dry, and ready for use, you can confidently resume your camping or backpacking adventures. Remember, proper care and maintenance will extend the lifespan of your cooking equipment, ensuring many more delicious meals around the campfire.


Good luck with your cleaning process, and happy cooking!



Cleaning a blackened pot may seem like a daunting task, but with the right supplies and techniques, it can be easily accomplished. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can restore your pot to its original shine and get it ready for your next outdoor adventure.


Remember to start by soaking the pot to loosen the blackened residue. Then, scrub it with a baking soda paste to remove stubborn stains. Rinse thoroughly and repeat the process as needed until all traces of the blackened stains are gone. Finally, ensure the pot is dried thoroughly to prevent any moisture-related issues.


Prevention is always better than cleaning, so whenever possible, use nonstick cookware or line your pots and pans with aluminum foil when cooking over an open flame. This will help minimize the chances of getting a blackened pot in the first place.


With proper care and maintenance, your camping cookware can last for many trips to come. Make sure to clean and dry your pots thoroughly after each use to prevent staining and rusting.


So, the next time you’re faced with a blackened pot from your outdoor cooking adventures, don’t fret. Armed with the knowledge from this article, you can confidently tackle the task and get your pot shining like new.


Now, it’s time to pack up your freshly cleaned pot and head out for your next backpacking excursion. Enjoy your meals cooked over the campfire, knowing that you have a clean and well-maintained pot by your side.