A smiling kitchen worker stands among hanging kitchen tools, including ladles and strainers.

How to get spotless pots and pans.

A lot goes into keeping your commercial kitchen clean. Are you cleaning your pots and pans efficiently?

Materials matter...

  • Commercial cookware is available in many different materials, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. And while a chef may select a pan based on how evenly it cooks a delicate fish filet, how that pan is cleaned and maintained is just as important. Some materials are more delicate and prone to scratch, while others require more specialized maintenance. Washing them incorrectly could drastically cut their useable life.

...And so do your cleaning tools

  • Knowing how to clean aluminum or stainless steel properly doesn’t help if your kitchen staff is using an inadequate or overly abrasive scrubber, sponge or cleaning solution. That’s why it’s important to not only review what your pots and pans are made of, but also which tools your staff has to clean them.

    Thankfully, the Scotch-Brite™ Hex Series is designed to tackle any mess on just about any material. Each unique pad features proprietary power dot technology and an ergonomic shape to make scrubbing a little less stressful. Plus, they’re safe to use on hot surfaces, rinse easily and are dishwasher safe – so nothing slows your staff down.

  • Scotch-Brite™ Low Scratch Scour Pad 2000HEX, one standing and one flat.

    Scotch-Brite™ Low Scratch Scour Pad 2000HEX

    For pots and pans that require a more delicate touch, such as easily scratched aluminum or stainless steel, this dual-purpose sponge is tough on messes but easy on finishes. The power dot side scrubs away tough messes with less visible scratching, while the dark blue scouring side removes fine food soil and leaves a spotless finish.

  • Scotch-Brite™ Low Scratch Scour Sponge 3000HEX, one standing and one flat.

    Scotch-Brite™ Low Scratch Scour Sponge 3000HEX

    Anyone who has worked in a commercial kitchen knows that sometimes things get messy – that’s where having a little extra help comes in handy. This two-in-one sponge provides the same low-scratch scouring as 2000HEX along with an antibacterial cellulose sponge to soak up messes and easily carry water or cleaning solutions. Particularly for materials that need extra care, like copper, carbon steel or cast iron, this sponge helps remove extra steps for a quick clean up.

  • Scotch-Brite™ Dual Purpose Scour Pad 96HEX, two side by side, showing different sides.

    Scotch-Brite™ Dual Purpose Scour Pad 96HEX

    Sometimes, stubborn baked-on messes need a bit more muscle. That’s where this dual-purpose, heavy duty pad comes in. The power dot side is engineered to quickly and effectively cut through baked-on or burnt-on food 5X faster than conventional scouring pads, while the scour pad side scrubs away fine particles and grease. And for when you need to bring the bubbles with you, Scotch-Brite™ Scour Sponge 96HEX-FL gives you the benefits of 96HEX with an inner urethane foam sponge to carry water and soap straight to the mess.

Cleaning Aluminum

  • A rectangular aluminum pan.

    More often than not, you’ll find aluminum pots and pans in restaurant kitchens. They’re relatively inexpensive, lightweight and transfer heat quickly – but they’re also quick to oxidize, accumulate residue, scratch and warp.

    That’s why it’s important to select a tool that’s rugged enough to remove food and grease but gentle enough to maintain your cooking surface, like Scotch-Brite™ Low Scratch Scour Sponge 2000HEX. Its proprietary power dot side is engineered to scrub away grime with less scratching, and the dark blue scouring side leaves a spotless finish while removing fine food soil. And for tougher messes, heavy-duty Scotch-Brite™ Dual Purpose Scour Pad 96HEX works harder – cleaning baked and burnt-on food 5 times faster than conventional scouring pads.

Cleaning Stainless Steel

  • Three stainless steel pots and lids.

    Stainless steel is a popular choice for restaurants because of its sleek appearance, durability and nonreactivity – you can cook just about anything on stainless! However, stainless doesn’t conduct heat well on its own, which can lead to hot spots and stubborn stuck food.

    Tackle tough messes without scratching your stainless with Scotch-Brite™ Low Scratch Scour Sponge 2000HEX. As mentioned above, this sponge is designed to handle grease, grime and baked-on food quickly and easily – so your pans stay up to scratch, without visible scratching.

Cleaning Copper

  • Three copper pans stacked on one another.

    Copper is king of heat conduction and ideal for precise temperature control. Plus, copper tools are incredibly attractive. While you can polish the exterior of copper cookware, most chefs are fine with the dark, natural patina that copper accumulates with use. So when it comes to cleaning commercial copper pots and pans, it’s what’s on the inside that counts.

    Because copper is highly reactive to certain foods, most copper pans are lined with another, non-reactive metal, such as tin or stainless steel. Tin is traditional but wears quickly, while stainless is more durable. When cleaning lined copper pans, you have to keep an eye on both metals and choose your tools accordingly. Two-sided, Scotch-Brite™ Low Scratch Scour Sponge 3000HEX provides a gentle, cellulose sponge side for polishing delicate copper, and a medium-duty power dot scouring side for the inner cooking surface.

  • A kitchen worker cleans a large pot with Scotch-Brite™ Dual Purpose Scour Pad 96HEX.
  • A kitchen worker cleans a pan with Scotch-Brite™ Low Scratch Scour Pad 2000HEX.
  • A kitchen worker cleans a pan with Scotch-Brite™ Dual Purpose Scour Pad 96HEX.

Cleaning Carbon Steel and Cast Iron

  • A cast iron skillet.
    • Carbon steel and cast iron are the most durable cookware option on this list and have been known to last generations. They’re desirable for their ability to go from stovetop to oven, steam, grill and more.
    • Neither is maintained in a traditional manner, however. Each involves building up a light layer of baked-on oil, aka “seasoning,” that over time creates a natural non-stick coating. Any overly abrasive methods could destroy this layer and force you to start the process all over again, so harsh soap and heavy abrasives should be avoided.
    • If this weren’t enough, moisture is the enemy of cast iron and carbon steel and will cause them to rust, so the less time they spend wet, the better. That’s why Scotch-Brite™ Low Scratch Scour Sponge 3000HEX is the ideal choice for the job – the low scratch power-dot side removes excess food, while the antimicrobial sponge side can help soak up moisture.

Cleaning Anodized Aluminum or Nonstick

  • A nonstick pan.
    • Anodized aluminum and nonstick cookware are designed to make cooking and cleaning easier. Each feature a unique coating designed to keep food from sticking – but those coatings require specific maintenance.
    • Anything too abrasive could harm the coating, so it’s better to opt for something a little gentler, such as Scotch-Brite™ Non-Scratch Scrub Sponge. This sponge was engineered to remove food debris and messes – without harming nonstick or anodized coatings.
    • No matter what’s on the menu, you want your commercial kitchen to move smoothly from the first filet to the final fritter. And this means not only giving your staff the proper pots and pans, but also the tools to clean them. Choose the right cleaning tools, and get cookware out of the dish room and back to making delicious meals.


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Scotch-Brite™ Dual Purpose Scour Pad 96HEX

HEX Series of Scour Pads and Sponges

A Power Dot solution for every tough mess.

Related Resources

Read more commercial cleaning articles from 3M.

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