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Cleaning Around Rivets on All-Clad... and getting stains off All-Clad's MC2

I love my All-Clad cookware, but I've noticed that that gunk has built up around the rivets that is impossible to remove, even with Barkeeper's friend. Any suggestions on how I can get this off?

Also, some of my all clad is that MC2 line, which has a matte exterior. My saute pan in particular is very stained and, again, Barkeeper's friend is useless. Has anyone had any success in removing the stains from this type of finish? The interior (which is polished stainless steel) is fine, but it's just not very attractive.

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  1. The only thing that has helped somewhat for me has been a paste with baking soda and water. I think with that kind of cookware, you're better off working on accepting that it won't look flawless. It just looks so shiny when it's new! Let me know if you find anything that works so I can give it a shot.

    1. I just saw this thing on TV. Has anybody tried it or know anything about it?


      I went ahead and ordered one batch - I'll report on it when it comes in. I completely do not believe the ads - but hey - it's worth the few bucks to see how badly they're lying. And if, perchance, it works - well their site had an option for ordering a gross!

      1 Reply
      1. re: applehome

        It looks as if you may be disappointed with Grease Bullet.

        According to the Hartford Courant:

        "I waited 30 minutes, with no discernible difference. I waited a few hours. Nope. I let it soak overnight. Nada.

        This product doesn't work.

        "Soak your toughest baked-on cookware," the infomercial beckons. "In just minutes, they'll sparkle like new inside and out with no more scrubbing."

        Yeah, a nice idea. Only I'm the one who got soaked."

        A TV station said it worked a little, but were still not impressed:

        So, maybe your best bet is to return them unopened and get your money back.

      2. All Clad is a big sponsor & supplier to TV cooking shows. Their cookware always looks new on those shows, very different fr: the reality we experience. It makes you wonder how much of the high price we pay for this cookware goes to "promotional consideration" and keeping these shows furnished in new cookware.
        I have only used All Clad's recommended BarKeeper's Friend and "dobie"(nylon mesh sponge) and wasted an unacceptable amount of time trying unsuccessfully to clean back to look like a $100 pan. Check similar thread which suggests cleaning w/ oven cleaner or baking soda or salt solution or sausage grease.
        Even the finest restaurants in the world don't use All Clad unless they're paid to.

        6 Replies
        1. re: ilikefood

          You hit the nail on the head. I find All-Clad to be incredibly overpriced for the quality but I'm not going into that rant again. However, gunk under the rivet heads is exactly why I prefer welded handles, even though welding doesn't look as expensive. Sitram (French) and Demeyere (Belgian) and some of the best cookware in world have welded handles, not riveted, and they are more durable and more hygenic.

          For the OP's problem, attack the rivets with cleanser of choice and an old toothbrush and scrub away.

          1. re: Pupster

            ""...the best cookware in world have welded handles, not riveted, and they are more durable and more hygenic.""

            I disagree with the durable part of any welded handle on a pot/pan. True welding takes a great amount of penetration, adding back in any displaced material, and ample use of surface area.

            Spot welding is the worse thing, but many manufacturers will try to compensate by welding a handle to some pad and spot welding the pad to the vessel. Perhaps that will make the handle less prone to failure thus lasts at least "a households" lifetime, but in the food industry I have seen handle failures because of rough treatment. If the pot/pan has a lifetime warranty it likely be honored for the home user, as abuse of any kind in the foodservice industry isn't worth the time to try to get a replacement.

          2. re: ilikefood

            Sounds like you do own some All-Clad, even if it's against your better judgment! I have a couple of All-Clad MC2 frying pans that I purchased online from Cookware 'n' More during one of their twice-yearly sales--paid less than half the usual price and feel it was well worth the money. They're factory seconds but the defects are virtually undetectable. They perform extremely well and frankly, I don't much care if they get stained on the outside as long as they're sanitary--nobody's shooting a cooking show in my kitchen. That being said, Barkeeper's Friend does a great job on the stainless-steel interiors; and even though it's probably a terrible thing to do, I've occasionally used Brillo pads on the brushed-aluminum exteriors, with good results.

            1. re: Miss Priss

              Miss Priss, do you not have rivet heads on the inside of your frying pans? And do you not get gunk underneath those heads? I think that's what the OP was speaking of.

              PS. I don't own any All-Clad. (If your first sentence was directed at moi.)

              1. re: Pupster

                My reply was actually to ilikefood, who apparently owns some All-Clad despite having very negative feelings about the stuff. I wasn't intending to directly address the OP's point. But since you ask: I do indeed have rivet heads inside my All-Clad skillets, as well as inside my Wearever aluminum skillets from the restaurant supply house and inside various other pots and pans that I've accumulated over the years. Gunk does sometimes accumulate around those rivet heads when I cook, but I scrub away at them afterwards and it all comes off--or at least, it's no longer visible, which is good enough for me!

              2. re: Miss Priss

                I'm with you that there's nothing wrong with things looking like they get used! Someday someone will be coveting those things that have "patina" and some will be remembering the wonderful things that came out of them.

                I like to keep my stuff looking good and inviting too but if things didn't look like they got a workout I'd wonder what the point of having them was.

                Must look for that semi-annual seconds sale. Any heads up what time of year to key in on?

            2. I have numerous pieces of All-Clad and they are all the MC2 variety. Removing bits of food stuck under the rivets is usually accomplished with a stiff toothbrush and some Barkeepers friend. The staining of outside of the MC2 is something that happens to all MC2 and it is only removed with steam-cleaning and much brushing. I worked in numerous commercial kitchen and All-Clad pans were a common sight.

              As long as the interior of the pan was clean and sanitary, I didn't pay much attention to the small stains of the outside. I knew it was going to stain, but, I am more interested in the function of the pan rather than a few exterior stains that doesn't affect the use of the product.

              IIRC, The MC-2 lines differs from the other All-Clad lines in that is it only a sandwich of aluminum and stainless and doesn't have the outer stainless/copper cladding of the other pans.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Kelli2006

                To reinforce Kelli2006's statement, I thought I would add an observation. I was watching a Molto Mario episode and they showed the inside of the saute pan right by the handle. The area around the rivets was nicely browned, meaning the pan was used more than once. I don't think gunk in the rivets is going to cause anyone harm.

                I have several pots (different brands) with rivets and clean them as best as I can. They get used a lot. I do my best with the rivets.

                The outside of my anodized pots get scrubbed with Cameo Aluminim cleaner if they get real dirty. So far, they have all cleaned up well and I don't have any exterior stains.

              2. Our family has used the scrubber sponge (the one with one soft side and one coarse side...but not too abrasive)for as far back as I can remember. They work great on my All Clad pots, dishes, glassware, and just about any other dish. Baking soda and water is also great for periodically getting rid of that tough film that developes on the bottom of the pan.

                1. Don't cook with your expensive All Clad, they are for display only. Use cheaper but just as good tri clad type cookware for actual cooking. Frankly since there is no TV cameras in my kitchen I actually like the "gunk" on my cookware. In the antique world it's call a patina, and is highly valued.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: PeterL

                    I like using AND displaying my All-Clad. I don't mind patina, but I do mind greasy gunk on my cookware, flatware & tableware. Even in the antique world, I don't think they considered "gunk" as patina.

                  2. I don't have All-clad, but i do have a variety of other brands of riveted pans. This trick usually works for me: circle the rivets with a damp, clean toothpick. This also works great for any pans with square corners and those odd spots on the food processor.

                    1. I read another reply to a Chowhound thread that someone mentioned the use of a aerosol oven cleaner to get stubborn stains off of All-Clad cookware. I have never used it myself, but it sounds promising.

                      I have always found that a thick paste of cream of tartar and water applied to the stained area and allowed to sit for a few hours will remove most burnt-on stains.

                      I hope this helps.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Kelli2006

                        I've read several threads in which people recommend aerosol oven cleaner as the answer to removing gunk from pots and pans, stoves or range hoods. With the toxic fumes from oven cleaner, this is kind of like killing a mosquito with a cannon.

                        I've got four MC2 pans, which I love, and found the best way to get the gunk out from around the rivets is to not let it get there in the first place. Clean thoroughly after each use. I routinely use a two-sided sponge/nylong scrubber for washing dishes and it gets most things off. If there is gunk that's hard to get out, I try a toothbrush and very hot water first, add some BKP second. Use as hot water as you can get from your tap.

                      2. Honestly, just some basic Barkeepers Friend AND a couple of minutes with one of those Crest battery powered toothbrushes (not YOUR's - use one of the kids'!) will take of anything I've ever managed to bake/broil/sear around my cookware rivits.

                        1. I've never had anything I couldn't get off with a little Barkeep+toothbrush but to be honest once I got the first stain on my LTD pots I gave up making them look nice and finally started having fun using them. In fact I later filled out my set with the aluminum-finish model (when a discount store had them on a fire sale for what must have been way under cost) and have been happily abusing both sets ever since. They look like hell, but they cook like there's no tomorrow!

                          1. I have about 20 pieces of the MC2 line. Go to an auto supply store and get the spray-on acid used for cleaning wire wheels. It will make the aluminium outer finish look like new. I've been using an industrial version of this for years without any problems. Spray on, let sit for a few minutes, and you're done. Sometimes, you may have to repeat, but not usually unless there was grease or some other foreign matter on pan.

                            2 Replies
                              1. re: sarah galvin

                                Sarah, I believe the words "wire wheels" was really to mean "aluminum wheels".

                                Now I get the big gallon jug of an "aluminum clean and bright" concentrate (roughly $12) used for cleaning big rig aluminum truck bodies, that can be diluted down a several notches to prevent etching. That stuff will actually foam/fizz if it to strong. Diluted down I also can use it for deliming purposes and many other household purposes.

                            1. Wish I could help ya...but that's why on my crop of cookware, it's cast iron grill and Le Creu dutchpots and the majority of the rest is SS AC stuff - some mixed Demeyere and a Viking Roaster.

                              With the SS, the DW powder is more potent that dish liquid and cleans all the gunk off.
                              If it's terrible, I place them in a black garbage bag, spray Easy Off, let soak overnight and then wash in Dishwasher.

                              As per the recommendation for the acid cleaner, I'm sure to a degree it works...but it's extremely caustic. Another hobby if car detailing so I'm well versed on those Acid Based products.

                              What about soaking it in hot/boiling water in the sink for a bit and then go to town with a toothpick, old toothbrush and Barkeepers. I would try this of aluminum based pans.

                              1. I use Chore Boy Golden Fleece scrubbie with Shaklee Get Clean Scour Off Heavy Duty paste. It does a good job getting off the stains.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: trarosie

                                  I love Golden Fleece! My mom always used them, and over the years I've wondered if they're really as good as I remember them being, and then when I buy some, I realize they really are. They're so hard to find, though (Ace Hardware is the only place I know of), and not cheap.

                                  I use a hard nail brush and BKF to clean around my rivets, as brush bristles are the only things that can get all the way into the seam around the rivet.

                                2. Cleaning my tortured All-Clad exteriors
                                  Thanks to one post at this website, I was able to remove the blue interior stains boiling 2 tbsp white vinegar in a pan of boiing hot water. Since I have done everything to get the stick brown and black drips off my tortured pots, I decided to soak my one pan using the boiled water and covering the rest of it with piping hot water. When removed, I used Barkeepers and a sponge and the stick awful stuff came off. It's a miracle.

                                  The second pot was boiled and I added (doubled) the vinegar solution in the sink to soak the next pot. It came off faster and with less effort.

                                  So, I recommend 4 tablespoons of white vinegar in 2 qts of water, boiled and added to a sink of piping hot water. Soak your pan for 5-10 minutes, remove (it'll be hot) add Barkeepers or Bon Ami with a sponge and that gunk will come right off. You will see it on the sponge and might want to get rid of the sponge, however. Around the rivets, you may want to try a used soft toothbrush and gently probe those nooks and crannies.


                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: catephx

                                    I'm not a metallurgist...but isn't the "blue" staining of the pan a result of the temper of the steel being changed due to the high heat? (Heads up..."patina"? That's another word for oxidization of the metal due to a number of factors, including heat.) It's not gonna' affect the ability of the pan, but yes it will make the steel more brittle, not in any sense that you'll notice it, though...it just won't be "pretty." While this shouldn't affect a pot or a pan, it will hose a high quality carbon steel knife. I have no Ph.D in science, but this could be why bar keepers friend, and white vinegar make it easier to "clean" them off...are you truly cleaning them? Or are you buffing away part of the metal? All metal reacts to reagents. All metals. If you think that's not true, work in a chemical plant...I don't care what grade stainless you use, it can oxidize, it can rust, it can react. Pure ammonia and pure chlorine will prove that. That would be one reason to follow a manufacturer's instructions on cleaning cookware. Stainless steel has a high propensity to not react...but it still will, eventually. Throw your pan in the ocean for a few months, see how it looks, and that's just from diluted salts and minerals - that's not even counting the harsh chemicals in cleaning products. As far as tire cleaners? Don't tell me it's an acid cleaner, and that you don't use it 'cause it's too caustic. Those are both exact opposites of the pH spectrum. Bases are caustic, not acids. And just to let you know? Baking soda is a base. Your pans are gonna' scratch...that's just a given. Rice (which is used as an abrasive in Asia), spices, utensils...it's gonna' eventually scratch. Good gawd...walnut shells are used in tumblers as a "polishing" agent. People don't buy AC for its strength, you buy it for its cooking ability, and heat transfer. Heck, you don't even buy it for it's heat retention...you buy it for its heat reactivity. If you want something that won't scratch...like the poster above said, use cast iron...but know that it's gonna' react with darn near everything in the environment unless you keep that seasoning intact. The trick is knowing why you have certain cookware, their strengths, and their weaknesses. Learn what they can do, and build your repertoire around them. All cookware has advantages and disadvantages, every brand. Find out with what you're willing to put up, and pair it with your own cooking style. NO brand of cookware is perfect...it is ALL a tradeoff. The art of cooking is in pairing tastes, food, tools, ability/knowledge, and presentation to make the perfect dish.

                                  2. I have put oven cleaner on my pots and then put them in the oven when cleaning the oven. They come out spotless with all the brown stuff gone.

                                    1. I was working on a pan when I got out a battery operated Scrubbing Bubbles grout cleaning tool. It has two smallish heads and the stiffer head did wonders on the crevices around the handles. I used Barkeepers Friend with this tool. It takes time and patience - depends on how anal you want to be but it WILL get everything off!