Did I ruin my AllClad?
Unfortunately, I left my cookware unattended and burned my oatmeal down to the carbon molecules. I've used a nylon scrubber and slowly it's coming off, but it seems clad to the AllCad.
I also left in on high heat on an electric stove. Does this ruin the steel? The stainless feature seems ruined. It's gray and flat, not silver and shiny.
Can I restore it? Does the steel change structure over the high heat of an electric stove or does it take a hotter heat source?
What kind of metal cleaners are safe to use inside stainless cookware?
You might also want to put a few teaspoons of cream of tartar, dissolved in a inch of water and bring it to a boil. The turn heat off and let sit over night and scrub as usual in the morning. Your All-clad will survive
I NEVER cook oatmeal over high heat. I perfect to do it either in the microwave or in a double boiler for precisely this reason.
Welcome to the world of cooking on stainless steel. Sticking, burning, and brown spots from oil are typical.
There are a number of cleaners made for stainless steel than might restore the finish, more or less. However whether they will remove the burned on carbon is questionable. You might need to resort to an abrasive pad or steel wool.
There are small plastic scrapers sold in kitchen and housewares sections that may be useful. I know I have restored some amazingly bad burns before. The only one I could never restore was sugar in a candy-making exercise, but that was in a class all by itself.
Start with a long soak in soapy water. Overnight is good. Use this scraper, which is shaped like a three inch guitar pick, to chip at the burned stuff. It will probably do the most good. Repeat. You should be able to scrub reasonable residue off with an abrasive cleanser if needed, even steel wool. Barkeeper's friend is a mild abrasive and works miracles, but it is no match for Comet and Brillo. Start with the Barkeeper's friend, and if it doesn't work, kick it up a notch. Don't be afraid -- you are probably contemplating tossing the pan anyway.
Twice, I have restored extremely bad roasting pans that were once used in restaurants. Believe it or not, I actually used Arm & Hammer oven cleaner to get grease marks off the pans, and I did that be leaving them out on the deck overnight. I scubbed the gunk off with Comet and Brillo. Guess what? They are my favorite pans and they look fine Not new -- but fine. It is really hard to kill the surface of stainless steel.
So, my advice is start with gentle things, like soap and a scraper to get the major gunk layer off, and then proceed to gentle abrasives. If that doesn't work, move up to the big guns before you throw the pan away. It takes a lot of elbow grease and maybe a few tries, but you should be able to do this as long as you didn't burn sugar.
I had a caramel accident with a stainless steel pan, As I recall, I boiled water in it, scrubbed with a cleanswer and did some scraping. Several times. Then I went ahead and cooked with it. The occcasional remaining black cleck cameff in food, not noticeable and certainly no effect on flavor. Appearance won't affect cooking performance.
But perhaps you could use a kitchen timer?
I don't think BKF will work in this instance.
Our AC was left on a stove and the contents burned to a charred crisp. We used Easy Off oven cleaner, left it out overnight and nearly everything came off in the wash. I had to use Easy Off a second time, and it's now back to its original luster.
EDIT: If you do a search on All Clad and BKF, you'll find other threads on how to clean and that you're not the first in this predicament...others have been there too. Good luck! =)
Barkeepers Friend or Bon Ami are the best. They won't scratch the surface. Never use steel wool. All the manufacturers say that in their "Instructions," which, by the way, also tell you NEVER to use high heat when cooking with stainless steel cookware.
With a little tender loving care and patience, you should be able to resurrect your pan.