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How to Easily Clean Sticky Caramel Residue from a Pot

Caramel can be tricky at the best of times. Not only is it temperamental to make from scratch, but cleaning up the sticky residue left in the pan afterward has the potential to cause great amounts of frustration. However, far from living out the stuff of infomercials and throwing out a perfectly good pan, there is a very simple trick to cleaning out that sticky caramel residue from your pot and all you need is water.

Instead of endlessly scrubbing away and going through a couple of good sponges in the process, all you need to do is boil some water in the pot containing the residue. What will happen as the water heats up is the sugar will loosen and detach from the side of the pan before dissolving in the hot water. This dilutes the sugar to the point where it cannot re-crystalize, so you won’t have to worry about it re-sticking after the water is finished boiling.

When all is said and done, what you should be left with is a pan of heavily diluted sugar water in it. It may not seem like much, but trust us when we say that this is by far the easiest, most stress-free caramel cleanup there is. 

How to loosen caramel with water

Water simmering in stainless steel pot

This trick is not restricted to caramel. You can clean away butterscotch, fudge, and any number of stovetop candies just by boiling some water. It is also a good idea to clean your utensils this way. You can simply add your spoon and thermometer tip right into the pot and cover them with water. Once the pot is filled to the point where the water covers up all the areas coated in residue, set it over the stove and heat it until it begins to bubble.

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By the time this happens, most of the candy residue should already be dissolving. Remember, sugar doesn’t take an incredibly long time to melt. You can, however, allow the water to continue simmering for several minutes. This will ensure all of the sticky stuff is loosened and dissolved, and you don’t have to worry about the sugar burning because there is too much water.  

While your sugar is dissolving, you can finish making your candies, do more dishes, or make a cup of tea. The thing about this trick is that it doesn’t really feel like you’re doing anything. Once your residue has dissolved, all you need to do is drain the water, hit the pot with a little soap to clean away any excess sugar, and rinse. It is an easy clean-up solution for a job that could have taken a lot more time and effort than necessary.

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