Cleaning badly soiled/scorched pans

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KLF

Frame waxer
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Southern NH
GF is forced to close her restaurant (thanks COVID), so we're frantically cleaning the place out. She has a pile of used saute pans, all of which saw heavy production over the years. Most of them are junk but there's a few nice Viking and Calphalon SS pans that I'd like to clean up and restore.

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Anybody got any tips on how to get the many layers of scorched stuff off? I've tried Brillo pads and Bar Keepers Friend with not much luck. I did try boiling some lemon slices in water in them, and that seemed to help, scrubbing with a brass wire brush. But that won't get the stuff off the bottoms.
 
I don't have a garden
indoor plants ?

i have no garden either, and seriously scorched a pan recently.
have buried them in the dirty in the past, and it worked pretty well.

Not sure what else to use.

my other thought is clean with an acid.

stainless steel welds are treated with 'pickling paste' to remove discoloration and oxides from the surface.
picking paste uses various acids.
hydrochloric acid
nitric acid
sulfuric acid are all used, and all nasty stuff.

I'm wondering about using household Boric acid initially, then vinegar to neutralise, then a good scrub with an alkaline dish cleaning soup

@jvalex
 
My answer is always lye.

Easy Off oven cleaner, yellow cap (Heavy Duty)
Safe to use on pans and eating utensils so long as instructions are followed. Will possibly take a couple rounds.
 
My answer is always lye.

Easy Off oven cleaner, yellow cap (Heavy Duty)
Safe to use on pans and eating utensils so long as instructions are followed. Will possibly take a couple rounds.
This is exactly what I bought yesterday, it finally showed back up on the shelves here. Gonna give it a try, but I'll wait till it's warm enough to work outside in an old bus tub. Thanks!

Ground is seriously frozen now so no digging for awhile.
 
Circling back to close the loop.

Tried Bar Keepers Friend and SOS pads, barely made any difference after lots of scrubbing.

Tried the HD Easy Off, I wasn't impressed, it just didn't do much.

The other day I was cleaning out the garage and came across them, I was gonna just toss them into the scrap metal pile. Then I had an idea: the Easy Off just needed more time and heat. So I hosed them down with the stuff, used the entire can, and put them inside a black trash bag, which I set out on the lawn in the sun. Let them marinate all day. Later I pulled them out and the black goo scrubbed right off with a SS scrubby pad. I gave them a quick sanding with some 600 sandpaper, them a final scrub with Bar Keepers Friend. They look almost brand new now.

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Thanks @jvalex for the idea
 
Should have taken a photo of the absolute magic it worked on a wrecked oven last month.
 
I have used Super Clean in the past--it'll take off paint if you let it go for a while--tried it on the wife's Anolon(outside only) and it only took about 15 mins soak time and the burnt gunk almost washed off with minimal finger scrubbing-some small places I used the grey scotch-brite(very fine) to get off-note--DO NOT use this on your prized cast iron!--(It will wreck the seasoning in a heartbeat)
Given yours is SS, the stuff won't hurt the metal--Since you already have the pans in great shape now- this would just be future info--
 

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