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Help! Commercial Calphalon Hard Anodized finish wearing off?

I bought a set of hard anodized in 2000. Honestly, I rarely use them. The one pan that does see a lot if use is the 2.5 qt sauce pan that I use to boil water for noodles. The other day I made a batch of red lentils for my baby (which I had never done in this pan before, though I have made rice in it). I boiled the water on high then reduced to low-ish for 40 minutes or so. When I emptied the lentils into a container, the bottom of my pan was completely silver (rather than the black of a typical hard anodized pan). It's like the finish was completely dissolved in one use--needless to say, I trashed the lentils.

Has this happened to anyone else? Should I toss it, or is this normal for an 8 year old pan? I kind of thought it would go a little longer...thanks for any insight!

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  1. I've had the same thing happen (albeit more gradually) with both Calphalon and Magnalite (also anodized aluminum, though Magnalite is cast, not spun like Calphalon).

    Once the anodized surface is gone, the pan is no longer non-reactive. I say toss it and get a nice stainless-lined pan... or a whole set; that's what I did.

    1. Anodized does indeed wear off, but I've only seen it happen as a result of dishwasher use or heavy, heavy use with metal utensils. If you're pan fits into either of those categories, you're SOL.

      PS: you want to use a larger pot for boiling noodles. That's why the package says use a 6 to 8 quart pot. Depending on the number of servings, you can drop that to 5 qts, but 2.5 is pretty small.

      2 Replies
      1. re: HaagenDazs

        Oh, I don't make a whole package--I only cook one serving at a time.

        As for the other--never use metal utensils. In fact, I don't own any. Dishwasher, perhaps. I mostly handwash, but I did have an ex years ago who ran them through the washer a time or two. Nothing consistent though and not in the last 4 years. Ah well, I just saw some stainless All Clad at Marshall's today that I was mulling over.

        1. re: chefaroo

          Yep - the dishwasher probably a factor. It's too bad, many people bought into the Calphalon craze without much thought as to how they were going to do simple things like... cleaning them! ;-) Stainless is the way to go for all purpose, everyday pans. From stove to oven to table to dishwasher: no problem.

      2. Dishwasher detergent is a big no no (it's not about the machine). But Calphalon should last a very long time. If you're sure it wasn't badly abused for an extended period, get the name of the product manager for the line you have and email the details. I discovered that I don't like cooking with Calphalon, but I found Calphalon's customer service to be exceptionally good (in fact, over the top good) roughly four years ago.

        BTW, the cleaning secret is Bar Keeper's Friend. My Calphalon pans came with samples.

        1. If you're insistent, Calphalon will replace your pots with their tri-ply stainless line. Tell them after this you're not comfortable cooking with anodized aluminum anymore, and that you expect your pans to last a lot longer, which these clearly didn't. Good luck!

          1 Reply
          1. re: blondelle

            I wish I had known this. I bought two rather pricey hard anodized capahlon pans; neither lasted 5 years. Pathetic, esp for the price. Tossed 'em and bought Le Creuset and some All-Clad MC 2.

          2. Thanks all, for the tips. I think I'll trash it rather than trying to get Calphalon to replace it. That doesn't seem quite right after having used it for 8 years :) especially since I didn't baby it as much as I should when I was younger. Thanks again!

            Glad I found these forums and I'll be doing a board search to scope out a new stainless pan!

            4 Replies
            1. re: chefaroo

              I'd recommend Sitram - lots of posts by me on it on this board.

              1. re: chefaroo

                At the high end, All Clad and Sitram make good stuff. But be cautious, since All Clad is now manufacturing some items in China and Sitram's line includes everything from fabulous cookware to junk.

                For midrange, I'm very impressed with Tefal's Jamie Oliver stainless line. I'm so impressed that I don't think All Clad is worth the extra cost. Watch for sales, since sets are regularly available at "half price". The Jamie Oliver nonstick stainless is absolutely amazing (durable, genuinely nonstick, and browns like a dream). Beware the new Oliver-branded hard anodized (i.e., Calphalon) line and the other Tefal stuff, which is mainly crap.

                Steer clear of Henckels. It takes forever to heat and has handles that come loose.

                1. re: chefaroo

                  In my world, a pot should last more than 8 years.

                  1. re: Hungry Celeste

                    Certainly - I've had the Sitram for longer than I've been married - so about 14 years - and almost as long for my Le Creuset.