Is my All-Clad nonstick worn out, or in need of a good cleaning?
I have a nonstick saute pan and a griddle pan that are probably more than 7 years old (I'm pretty sure I bought them before I had my first child!). I've always been pretty light on cleaning them, treating it somewhat like you would a cast-iron pan, and certainly never putting them in the dishwasher. The griddle still works fine for pancakes, but it seems to have a little build-up on it. Is there something I should use to be a little more aggressive in cleaning it, or have these worn out, as seems inevitable with nonstick?
And if I have to replace, what do you recommend?
I have the same problem and e-mailed All Clad's customer service. I have copied part of their prompt reply here:
Thank you for using All-Clad products. I am sorry to hear that you are
experiencing difficulties with your nonstick pan. We would certainly be
happy to have a look at the pan, to provide a warranty evaluation for
replacement. I would like first to offer you some tips to perhaps
restore the nonstick properties.
Almost all nonstick problems are related to a buildup of visible and/or
invisible layer of cooking residue on the nonstick surface.
We recommend first trying to clean the nonstick with a paste made of
equal parts baking soda and water. Rub in a circular motion with a
non-metallic scrubbing/cleaning pad recommended as being safe for use on
nonstick surfaces or perhaps a soft brush such as a vegetable brush.
Then rinse well with water. If the baking soda mixture starts turning
brown you're on the right track. If nothing is happening, try
substituting Bar Keepers Friend for the baking soda. This product can be
found in most grocery stores, I get mine at Wal-Mart (costs about
$2.00). Rinse well with cool water and dry. A light wipe of cooking oil
prior to the next use should recondition the nonstick surface.
She also reers to an item available in the Chefs' Catalogue which claims to clean nonstick, but ahe says they have not tried it.
She continues with a reference to the August/September 2002 issue of Fine Cooking magazine which lists many preventative/care measures for non-stick. She quoted from the article, but it is long!
Failing that, they said you could return the pan for evaluation, and there were instructions for that. I contacted them through the customer service link of the All Clad website.
I have not tried cleaning my pan yet, but will let you know if it works.
Bar Keeper's Friend works! I have been using Bar Keepers Friend with my All-Clad stainless pans, but never on the All-Clad nonstick. After reading I thought I'd give it a try. I put a tablespoon of BKF in a bowl, added a splash of water, and with rubber gloves on, mixed it up with my finger. I first used a sponge to scrub, and then a paper towel to scrub, and nothing much really happened. Finally I just used my hand to scrub the paste into the pan directly with my gloved fingers. It took a few rounds, but you can really see the "invisible" brown come off, and all the cooking spray goo came off, too. Used a paper towel to rub in some canola oil, and fried an egg. Worked like a charm. I couldn't believe it.
Perhaps it's because All-Clad doesn't use a Teflon or other plasticized coating, but it's instead something about the dark surface that has a glaze for making it nonstick? Because I swear any kind of scouring like this would be death to Teflon.
i sent my 7 year old all-clad nonstick back to all clad in early summer because i wasn't sure whether sutff was sticking to it or whether the non-stick was cracking and they sent me a brand new pan. The shipping back to them was about $17 from Los Angeles but it was worth it (but it took a long time so keep emailing them to check up on it). The whole thing took about 8 weeks from the time i sent it to the time my new pan arrived even though they said it was "replaced" the day after they recieved it.
Though non-stick coating does wear down in time, it is recommended that it gets a thurough clean every time you use it. Scotch Brite, as Candy said, should get off a lot of the build up. Seven years is not too old for All-Clad NS, but it is possible that it has worn out. But build up on them to mee says they just need a good scrubbing.
If you do decide on new pans, I would get more of the same.
But also remember that they are talking about the lifetime of the pan, when they say "lifetime", not the lifetime of the owner. 7 years is not too short a lifetime for a pan, in my opinion, especially a non-stick pan.
That being said, it is true, like you said -- if it is a problem with the manufacturing of the pan (e.g. bad NS surface application, poor handle rivets, etc.) All-Clad should warrantee it, although this problem does not sound like it's an issue with the pan.
If you have used non-stick spray on them the build up is from burned on propellents and you could try using oven cleaner on them, you might be able to salvage them that way.
If you have not used Pam etc. you could try using a Scotch Brite scrubber and maybe something like Bon Ami to get it off.