One fail-safe? Steel wool. That's right, I said steel wool. You know, that weird stuff your granny used to use to scrub the pots and pans before the days of teflon?
My favourite brand is Bull Dog. It's versatile. You can use it to distress funture and strip paint, to block holes that might otherwise let in mice, and yes, to clean your pots and pans. And I love the way the package looks. If it wouldn't annoy Nathan (but it would), I'd buy a whole bunch of it and line it up on my countertop.
I just like the idea of using something in my kitchen that hasn't changed at all in the past fifty years.
Lame? Maybe. But oh-so-vintage fab at the same time.