Makeover: Pyrex Edition

A couple of months ago, boyfriend and I decided to set out upon our usual Saturday thrift circuit. As always, we were hoping to find lovely treasures and perhaps a piece of vintage milk glass of a certain name.
Our hope was failing and our fingers were crossed when we walked (er, ran) into a particular thrift where we almost always have luck on our side, and there on the shelf, hidden by newer, fussier pieces of kitchenware, was the prettiest of pink dishes, covered in pristine white daisies...

...and GRIME.
Never leaving a potentially salvageable piece of Pyrex on the shelf, I quickly threw some elbows (sorry nice shoppers!) grabbed the little baking pan, clutched it to my breast, and proceeded to jump and squeak.   
A lot.
Thus scaring the nearby shoppers and scattering them to other corners of the store-works every time.
In my defense, if you turned this little dish over and saw a $2.99 price tag, you might just do the same thing!
The poor dish appeared to have been used only once: for something that burned horribly, perhaps placed under a broiler (a big no-no!) and promptly rinsed, dried, and shoved in the back of a cupboard.  Other than the hideous caked-on grime, the dish has no flea-bites, the daisies are completely intact, and there are absolutely no chips to be found.

Knowing what I know about the dos and don'ts of cleaning Pyrex, especially the fussy pinks, I ignored the Bon Ami and the Magic Eraser while getting my cleaning station set up on our little counter.  I decided to start my cleaning process with good ol' soap, water, and a kitchen sponge; I have had surprisingly good results with that method plus a little finger-aching scrub session.

Once I got to the point where holes were starting to develop in not only my sponge but my fingers, I had to figure out a different approach.
Trying to figure out the most non-abrasive yet effective cleaning agent to use on this otherwise perfect piece of Pyrex, I wondered to myself if a paste of baking soda and water plus the business side of a fresh, clean, no-scratch sponge might help.

And what do you know, it completely worked!  The pink color and the daisies are all still shiny and new, my fingers only ached slightly, and while it was definitely a project that lasted a few days (I can only scrub intently for a few minutes at a time before the ache sets in!), I am quite pleased with my results.

The only thing left to do now is attempt to clean out the petals of the white daisy motif.  I have tried the obvious solutions such as picking the grime out with toothpicks, barbecue skewers, and my fingernail, but to absolutely no avail.  This is some serious grime.  Perhaps the most serious grime I've ever encountered on a piece of Pyrex.
So I am asking all of my Pyrex-loving readers out there: what would you do?  Do you have any bright ideas about how to clean out those petals?

Boyfriends parents were visiting during my cleaning and they brought up a good point: would I rather potentially damage the white daisies trying to get them clean?  Or leave them a bit dirty and be able to use the dish knowing it will never again be as dirty as I found it, leaving the daisies and pink color in great condition as they are?

If you have any thoughts on the matter, I would really love any input or suggestions!


  1. Try the baking soda and water paste again but add some cream of tartar to the paste as well. I have had great luck with COT as a stain remover. Of course try it out on a spot under the handle first, since I've never tried it on pink Pyrex. You're right, it is finicky. Good luck!

  2. Weird but it works for the messiest microwaves too - put lovely daisy dish in the microwave with a 50% white vinegar and 50% water mixture - set on 2 to 3 minutes until mixture is boiling hot in the microwave. It should create steam in there making the whole dish hot and watery. Use wash cloth to scrub softly, if needed use more of the water vinegar mix to damp cloth. You may need to put the dish in the microwave several times to get it steamed up a bit. Best part is that your microwave will get a good cleaning too :)

  3. Anna, I've had really good luck using Cerama Bryte. Here's the link, but I think you can buy it at most any grocery store. I bought mine at Publix.
    I used it on my pink Desert Dawn dish, and it worked great and didn't damage the color. Also, I think there's a product for cleaning Corningware that you might try. Good luck, and I love your pink Daisy dish!!

  4. If I only owned a microwave! We only have an oven in this tiny apartment, so it looks like I'm left testing the cream of tartar method for now! I did try a baking soda+vinegar soak (same way I clean my drain, with much success) but that didn't do a bloomin' thing. Hrrmmm...

  5. What a sweet piece you found and so far it is looking pretty good. I'm not able to add much to what others have said about cleaning methods,but here's hoping you get those daisies cleaned up.

  6. I have had some success with cleaning this type of stains. I soak the dish in warm water first, then I put a lot of baking soda on the moist dish so that it become a thick paste, then I gently scrub with my finger tips. Because the pattern is raised, I find it works better at getting into the grooves than using a sponge. Good luck!

  7. All these great comments are coming in handy for me - I am trying to clean up a Pink Flamingo dish right now - I've washed it twice but will be trying some of these cleaning methods too and see how much better it will look. And - your pink Daisy is a summer delight - better get it cleaned up so you can use it!!

  8. I've had luck with Vim Power Cream Degreaser. On my regular casseroles, I soak the piece and leave it overnight. For grotty coloured Pyrex that I've bought, I've just sprayed it on and left it for a few minutes. Somewhere I read that Dawn makes a degreaser as well. You'll still need plenty of elbow grease for really bad pieces but the Vim really helps.

  9. The problem here is that the grime is almost like caramelized sugar and REALLY thick! While I've had plenty of luck scraping thick grime off of other horribly dirty pieces of Pyrex with my fingernail, for some reason this stuff just doesn't want to budge!

    I will have to check out some of these products-the only product I've ever actually dared to use on my colored pieces is Bon Ami, which sometimes works and sometimes doesn't...

    Thanks for all the suggestions-keep 'em coming, this is so helpful! :D

  10. I have put CLEAR Pyrex in a closed-up garbage bag overnight with a small dish of ammonia (like you do for your stove grates). It definitely softened the baked-on mess, but I'm not sure if those fumes would hurt the colored Pyrex. It SEEMS like it shouldn't, but....


  11. Try some spray-on oven cleaner. Spray it on, leave for about 5 minutes, then rinse off, repeat as often as needed until the spots are gone. You can scrub a little before rinsing with a non scratch sponge. Definately wear gloves while scrubbing, the stuff is very strong! It "shouldn't" hurt the color, I've used it on colered pyrex a lot of times. Maybe test under the handle to be safe!
    Good luck!, Deanna

  12. Try setting the dish in a larger deeper container with hot water and a couple of Bounce Dryer Sheets overnight. It should loosen the "crud".

  13. Ooh what a beauty! Whenever I clean pyrex with that much grime, I always soak it for an hour or so in a hot water + baking soda + dish soap bath. That just helps loosen everything up! After that I hit it with some Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. If that doesn't work I move on to the Corningware Cleaner. As a last resort I'll use Bar Keeper's Friend but I generally try to avoid it because it tends to take off the shine. I like to use a scotch scrubber (the green kind!), it might feel abrasive but I've never had a problem with using it :)

  14. I use my pyrex all the time and have had to clean up a few of my own baked on messes... spraying it down with a bleach cleaner or a mixture of 50/50 water and bleach has worked for me, and I've never had any color loss, or damaage to the shiny coat. I leave it on for 15 minutes or so, scrub, rinse and repeat!

  15. Wow everyone, this is amazing! Thank you for all the great suggestions! I had a few of you suggest oven cleaner here and on Twitter, but a LOT of people suggested it over on Flickr too.

    I tried it today and while I was completely scared, it actually got some of the gunk off! Hopefully I can finish the job tomorrow and take some pretty pictures!

    Thanks again! :D

  16. Barkeepers Friend and some warm water! I have about 100 pieces of Pyrex - some were in worse shape than that when i found them. I have used BF on pretty much every piece and i swear by it. It even takes off the silverwear marks! Good luck!


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