Consumer Reports has tips to keep your cookware in terrific condition

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Whether you are creative with cast iron, a wonder with a wok, or sizzle with stainless steel-- once you're done cooking it's time to clean the pan!

But you have to do it the right way, or you could damage the pots and pans. The experts at Consumer Reports offer cleaning tips to keep all of your cookware in terrific condition.

Former chef, Kasey Hinckson loves to cook for his family and he does not mind the clean up so much either. "I treat my cookware very well it's the other people that I live with that do not!" he said.

Sound familiar? Consumer Reports says it's not always as easy as soap and water, but its experts have a few tips to keep it simple.

"Overall the sooner you tend to the mess, the easier it is to clean however different materials require different types of care," said Sara Morrow-Harcourt, Consumer Reports Home Editor.

When it comes to cast iron cookware - a little effort after cooking goes a long way - rinse with plain water and dry thoroughly.

"For tough messes, you can add water to the pan, simmer for a minute and then wipe clean. Or - scrub the pan with coarse salt and a little water," said Morrow-Harcourt.

No matter how you clean it, you want to make sure your cast iron is dried thoroughly to prevent rust. And once it's dry, rub the cooking surface with a little vegetable oil to keep the pan properly seasoned.

For stainless steel and porcelain enamel coated cookware, Consumer Reports says to avoid abrasives, and instead use a nylon sponge and some dish detergent.

"Cleaning stainless steel immediately after you're done using it really does help reduce the chance of stains and water spots building up," Morrow-Harcourt said.

You can also use a stainless-steel cleaner to remove that rainbow-like discoloration that can sometimes happen.

You should have an easier time when it comes to non-stick cookware.

"Most nonstick fry pans are labeled dishwasher-safe but we've found cleaning by hand with hot soapy water is a cinch," said Morrow-Harcourt.

And when it comes to clean up, take a tip from Kasey.

"I clean as I'm going along that way at the end of the night there's not a lot of things to clean up and the kitchen is mostly clean. So, when we finish cooking not one person is stuck cleaning up the whole mess," he said.

You can clean up your bakeware like a pro, too, says Consumer Reports. It's usually best to simply wash bakeware with detergent and a damp sponge.

Soak in a solution of water and a little baking soda to loosen stubborn deposits; if they remain, remove them with a plastic-edged scraper, not a knife. Avoid steel wool and abrasive cleaners.

Take a look at all of 7 On Your Side's stories with Consumer Reports here.

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