I guess this is one of those nitty-gritty questions. I have ruined more sponges than I can count when cleaning up after coconut oil in pots and pans (stainless steel and cast iron). How do you clean it up? I really find it to be a big pain! Thanks!
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I keep a ton of cheap kitchen towels around that I wipe the pan with after dumping the oil, which saves the sponge and makes cleanup easier. I toss them in the wash with the napkins and dog towels and all the other scuzzy stuff. Easy and more eco-friendly than my mom's method of paper towels.
Clean while pans warm.
That's it, no soap, no tricks...
It's solid at lower temp and liquid at higher.
My cast iron pans take seconds to wipe out because I never let the pan cool and therefore harden.
My sponge doesn't go anywhere near my pans until this guy does the heavy lifting: http://www.alliedkenco.com/catalog/images/SCRUB%20BRUSH.jpg
VINEGAR! All of the above are right on track, but I'd add that as soon as I take the hot food out of the pan I pour in some white vinegar, then some water. While I eat, the vinegar does the work for me and I just wipe and rinse.
Note: I usually don't have that much free grease in the pan, so I pour it with the food and dip meat pieces in it. If there's too much for me to eat it with the meat, then I pour the excess into any suitable container and cool before putting it in the trash.
Just use a paper towel, its by far the easiest method for cleaning my pans. Once I've finished cooling i'll reheat the pan so the oil becomes easier to remove. No need to bother with water or washing up liquid. But once its clean leave the gas on a high temperature to remove all bacteria.
Mom and I wipe the majority of it off with paper towels. It gets cold around here so if we don't do that, we get into the drains and it can clog them up once it hardens again.
If I would use my own advise more often I paper towels left but if you only save the papertowels that you dried your freshly washed hands on and re-used them you could use them for nasty stuff like oil.
You can always wash your sponges in the dishwasher or washing machine to get them clean again.
For me, I clean it up like any oil... scrape out the worst into the trash, use hot water to heat up and get the rest of the worst flowing down the drain, finally detergent to dissolve away the remaining amounts. I use a soapy kitchen sponge last to remove any remaining film on the pot or pan. Unless it's cast iron, then after the hot water rinse I give it a gentle wipe with a sponge to any stuck-on parts then dry with a paper towel.
In my experience coconut oil cleans up easier than most as it flows at such a low temperature. A hot water will rinse most of it away. Or I can use a rubber scraper to get most of it out and into the trash if it is warm enough to be soft, but not yet liquid.
Finally, how's the water pressure at your kitchen sink. It just occurred to me I rely on water pressure from the faucet to do most of the work. Perhaps that is the key?
Pour the oil into a jar. Soak the pan in warm soapy water with good detergent. Dump the water and repeat if it is really messy. Then attack with sponge.
You want to pour out as much of the soapy oil as you can instead of getting it in the sponge. The soap will break it up with time and a lot of it will end up in the water you pour out.