Leisa M wrote:
Will the vinegar work with cast aluminum? I have an old cornbread pan that I bought. I do not think it is cast iron, because I have cleaned enough to see that it is silver underneath. There are no markings so i am guessing at cast aluminum.
I would like to use this pan and was about to use EasyOff when I read this thread
Check it with a magnet. Cast iron also looks "silver" when the surface coating/oxidation is removed. If it's iron, a magnet will stick to it.
I don't have as much experience with aluminum as I do with castiron, so take these comments with a grain of salt. You may want to research further on the Internet, especially if your pan is valuable.
Vingear is a mild acid, thus, it may etch your pan. If you're not worried about that, go ahead and give vinegar & water a try. Mix up about a cup of vinegar to a gallon of water. It's best if you could simmer your cornbread pan in this solution for about an hour. However, you need to put this solution in a non-reactive container (enamelware or stainless steel.)
If that doesn't work, household ammonia will remove crud. It's not recommended for alumimun, but I have used it successfully to clean up old aluminum cookware. Fill the sink with HOT water. Add about 1/2 cup ammonia, 1/2 cup alcohol, and a good squirt of Dawn dishwashing liquid. Stir to blend mixture. Put the pan in the sink and forget it for a few hours or overnight. BTW, this works for electric stove burner pans and such, so you may want to add those to your sink when you soak the cornbread pan.
In closing, IMHO, the best approach to cleaning anything from grill grates to breadpans is to start with the most gentle remedy first. It that doesn't work, move on to something a bit stronger. Leave the caustic solutions (lye, commercial oven cleaners, etc.) as a last resort.
Hope this is helpful. Again, if your pan is an antique or valued heirloom, be sure to research any cleaning method you use. Some antiques shouldn't be cleaned, as it will destroy their collector's value.