One of the biggest mistakes we make when cleaning burned-on messes on cookware is that we soak the pan overnight. The problem? Cookware is slightly porous, and soaking causes pans to warp out of shape. My secret to cleaning pots and pans is simple. Allow the cookware to cool to room temperature. (Never throw a hot pot under cool running water to rinse them off.) Fill the pots or pans with diet cola, and simmer them on the stove for 15 minutes. The acids in diet soda will eat away at the mess and leave you with a sparkling clean pan.