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Scratching All-Clad?

Unless you count cheap camping pots and pans, I've always cooked on non-stick. Yesterday, I brought home my first piece of All-Clad, a 3 quart stainless steel saucier. I cooked Spanish rice in it last night (because that's what was on the menu). I was shocked at the discoloration of the pan that happened, but it went away without fuss with some Barkeeper's Friend. But, there were also some scratches on the bottom of the pan. I only used a (Pampered Chef) nylon whisk to stir. The scratches to seem to match the stir pattern I would tend to use. The Spanish rice is boxed Old El Paso.

Am I doing something wrong?

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  1. I am wondering if it discolored( orange/blue) from the heat, are they stained from the spices, or are they merely scratched from the utensils? Unless the pan is Teflon lined, you can safely use a SS whisk or spatula in any All-Clad pan.

    The stainless will scratch with use, but it will never affect the durability of the pan. I have used a Kitchenaid hand mixer in my pans, and they have matching swirl marks but the pans durability isn't threatened.

    You can think of it as patina.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Kelli2006

      The bottom of the pan had a kind of circular rainbow of stain. It kinda looked like that rainbow you see on an oily parking lot after the rain. The staining on the side was more like a water stain. It ended at the level that the rice did. Both of these stains completely disappeared with Barkeeper's Friend. (Amazing stuff!)

      I'm just surprised at the scratches. The nylon whisk scratched it? Is it possible that it happened as I was integrating the dry spices and they scratched the pan? Should I be more gentle until they're dissolved? I assumed I'd get scratches over time, but this pan has been used once for something seemingly soft and it's scratched already? At this rate, I'm going to wear through the steel! :P

      1. re: SailingChef

        Stainless isn't as hard as people think. All-Clad is 18/0 on the outside--no nickel, to make it magnetic, but 18/10 on the inside, which is the premium grade of steel. All-Clad told me the steel they use on the outside is also very expensive. All such pans would scratch like thatthat. Cookware won't look brand new after you use it. It does develop a patina the same way a stainless sink does. After a while the scratches will all meld together, and won't be noticeable. The rainbow effect is usually from too high heat. You don't need to go above medium for AC unless you want to boil water faster. Maybe high heat makes the metal softer, I don't know.

        You also should look out for salt as it will pit AC as well as most stainless. Add it to already boiling water, and watch it where the grains of salt will sit for a while in contact with the metal without dissolving, as it will pit.

        1. re: SailingChef

          I just checked out my two most used All-Clad SS pots. Both of these pots are sparkling clean because my SO is the cleaner in the family while I am the primary cook. Dish soap or barkeeper's friend are the only cleaning products used. He is much stronger than I am, and so when I clean the pots with the nylon scrub sponge, I don't always feel like I get the pots super-clean. When he does them, they are.

          In the bottom of one, there are all kinds of swirls which correspond to stir marks. We always use non-metal implements in this pot. In the other pot, which is our main rice pot, there are marks in the bottom, which look more like grains of rice. I admit, I am sometimes impatient and turn up the heat more than All-Clad recommends. Other than this, they are well maintained and yet they still have marks. If my memory is correct, this was true, basically from the beginning of use. I still love them and think it just shows they are well-used.

          1. re: souvenir

            Dish soap & BKF work well, but in some instances, I've had to resort to Easy Off oven cleaner on my All Clad SS.

      2. Folks, (SailingChef) your pots and pans will have a few scratches... they won't look like Food Network pans after you use them. TV shows supply their cooks with brand new pots & pans on almost every show to keep them sparkly and clean. Barkeepers Friend is a polish, not a stain/food remover. My suggestion is, get used to LOTS of scratches because you will get them. I've NEVER had to use oven cleaner on my pans and unless you're really picky, I'd suggest you simply continue to cook with them and wash them in the sink or dishwasher. Enjoy the food and the cooking experience, don't be so overwhelmed by a few scratches.

        3 Replies
        1. re: HaagenDazs

          I've never been able to avoid those "rainbow" discoloration stains in my SS pans. From the cheap stuff I have use to my new LTD pans -- they all discolored, even when I'm using low to med heat. Supposedly it's because the pan was overheated (that's the official word on those blue stains), but how do you caramelize onions on the lowest heat? You don't. I don't worry about the stains, BKF takes them right off with very light pressure, but I do wish they weren't there -- makes me think I'm misusing my pans.

          1. re: mateo21

            After reading this I looked at my SS clad pans; while they're badly scratched on the inside they're _really_ scratched on the bottoms....so what, they still perform as advertised!
            These should be _tools_ to be used complete with all the marks of usage; if they're really just for show then perhaps a set should be purchased to hang on a rack for show and a set purchased for actual usage.
            I know that sounds rather harsh, but imho a tool actually used for its intended usage will never look like a showroom-fresh example, whether it's pans or in my personal/professional life cameras; if you actually use it it'll show that usage.

          2. re: HaagenDazs

            Easy Off was necessary after someone left the AC on the stove a couple hours. It was caked-on black char. It was either throw it out or find a way to clean it. After asking for help on this board, someone recommended EO as they've had good experience in a similar situation.

            Scratches don't bother me; it's the cooked-on food particles that do. Thank goodness for BKF & EO.

          3. I have always used baking soda to clean all of my SS pots and pans. All are several y/o and still very shiny. Ever get dried egg on something? Baking soda and hot H2O dissolves the dried egg and a lot of other foods.

            1. As I have learned here vinegar is good for light residue. Bon Ami is my new standard powder cleaner for my SS. And BKF is now a last resort.

              1 Reply
              1. re: unprofessional_chef

                I agree with the Bon Ami. I do have BKF but it rarely sees the light of day. And Dawn power dissolver. Heat marks happen. Scouring a pan with any abrasive cleaner can and will leave some marks to a varying degree.

              2. Stainless steel is soft, it scratches easily. Things stick to it because of the scratches. Use low to medium heat, forget med-high-high exists