HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >
Are you making a specialty food? Get great advice

White residue on vintage aluminum? cookware.........

Displaced California Foodie Dec 30, 2006 01:40 PM

I am using one of my grandmother's "majestic cookware" pots- it may be aluminum? I use it to boil water for hard boiled eggs. Every time I use it a white residue appears in the pot. I inadvertently left water in it all nite and there is a lot of this white residue?
Does anyone know what this is? Should I throw the pot away? It is not from the eggs...it is lumpy like it is seeping/budding out from the pot itself....

  1. k
    Kelli2006 Dec 30, 2006 10:37 PM

    The white color on the aluminum is a patina that builds up naturally. You can remove it with a 3M scrubbie, or leave it in place. It isn't harmful, unless you try to cook highly acidic (tomato) foods in the pan.

    1. t
      Theodore Dec 31, 2006 05:49 AM

      Throw it away. Acidic food, hard water and salt will create this mess. It isn't worth the trouble to keep the pan clean. It's a chance to try something new.

      1. pitu Dec 31, 2006 04:40 PM

        there's nothing wrong with the pot
        I *think* the white residue is caused by mineral deposits from your water.
        It's easy to remove with a scrubbie.
        Those pots from grandma sell for a lot on eBay . . .

        1. applehome Dec 31, 2006 08:38 PM

          White on aluminum is probably aluminum oxide. Here's a quote from wikipedia:

          "Aluminum is a lightweight metal with very good thermal conductance. It does not rust, and is resistant to many forms of corrosion. Aluminum can however react with some acidic foods to change the taste of the food. Sauces containing egg yolks, or vegetables such as asparagus or artichokes may cause oxidation of non-anodized aluminum."

          Full article at:
          (scroll down to Aluminum)

          1. m
            markabauman Jan 2, 2007 09:31 PM

            Don't know if this is ok or not, but I know someone who had the same problem and cleaned up her pot with Lime-Away, like you'd use in the bathroom. Said it worked great without any apparent ill effects. (She's still here to talk about it).

            1. a
              amoncada Jan 3, 2007 07:50 PM

              Stick to stainless steel pots or stainless covered aluminum or copper.

              1. RShea78 Jan 3, 2007 10:03 PM

                Quite frankly, don't dismiss the eggs all so easily. This can happen to any pan you maybe using at any time.

                Eggs are by nature porous. So when we boil the eggs the internal pressure can force out some trivial amounts of egg whites through the pores of the eggs, or any weak cracks that we may not see from the naked eye.

                Another thing, is that the eggs are normally washed or sanitized in a chlorine solution which the residue is a white crystal when dried.

                All in all scrub aluminum to be free of anything you find objectable and throughly rinse accordingly. Toss if you wish, but I will keep mine for some time to come.

                Show Hidden Posts