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Oct 29, 2008 06:45 PM

Chalk board-like Anodized cookware exterior

I purchased Kirkland anodized cookware as a wedding gift; similar in quality to Calaphon. I am very satisfied with the set; however the pieces that we use more often have developed a chalkboard-like surface on the exterior; the interior seems fine.

My wife was washing the pieces in the dishwasher; we are not going to anymore because of this result. We learned our lesson. However, does anyone know any way to restore the finish on the exterior anodized cookware? Thanks

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  1. Try a brief scrub with Barkeeper's Friend.

    1. DO NOT USE barkeepers friend on your anodized cookware it will ruin the surface! Do not use any cleaners with bleach either. They will oxidize the anodized surface. You can use a paste of baking soda or something like Bon Ami which has no bleach. It is tough to find but you could use comet or ajax cleansers that have no bleach. The problem is you may have already ruined the anodized surface by using the dishwasher. Hard anodized calphalon and similar products can be re-oxidized overtime and that may be what the dishwasher has done. Calphalon lifetime warrantys are voided once you have put them in a dishwasher.

      2 Replies
      1. re: kayakado

        Ummm... I've used BKF on my All-Clad LTD with no ill effect. Also, anodization is a process of oxidation -- the oxidized surface prevents further damage from happening to the metal not exposed. I do beleive that bleach will do a number on the surface though -- hmm... is there a chemist in the house? hehe... because bleach works via oxidation as well, and presumably you would need a reducing agent to do damage to the anodized surface. I'll have to figure this one out.

        To the OP, I'm not aware of anyway in which you can re-anodize in your home the surface of your cookware unless you have access to the proper chemical baths and electronic equipment!

        1. re: kayakado

          Just a friendly FYI...Calphalon on their page says absolutely no baking soda for their hard anodized pots. I would think Ajax and Comet would be terrible for it as well. Calphalon specifically recommends Barkeeper's Friend for their hard anodized products.

        2. The good news is that your cookware is probably perfectly useful. The bad news is that you are stuck with cookware that is going to look a little gnarly, and might react with particularly acidic foods.

          The anodization process involves building a thick dense layer of oxidation that is crystalline (basically sapphire) which is tough and non-reactive to foods, most of which are acidic, but soluble in an alakaline environment, like your dishwasher.

          Normal aluminum oxidation (the chalky white stuff) is a chemically different substance -- it is thin, weak, and washes off. (Consider that graphite and diamonds are both pure carbon -- and otherwise entirely different!) It is easily scoured off, exposing the shiny metallic aluminum beneath. Metallic aluminum is soft and reacts with foods -- not a good thing for cookware.

          Anodization involves sulfuric acid dips and a healthy source of DC power -- way beyond a DIY project. If you know somebody in the curtainwall business, they might be able to sneak your pots onto the line. No guarantees that you will have something safe for cooking food, but it will look nice.

          If having ugly cookware drives you nuts, or if it is misbehaving (turning your mashed potatoes a lovely shade of grey, for instance), then chunk it and start over. Otherwise, relax and cook 'em into the ground.

          1. Your best bet now that you've ruined the surface is returning it to Costco, if you don't mind using their liberal return policy to your advantage.

            1. mddong- Unfortunately many manufacturers simply apply an anodized coating to regular aluminum, instead manufacturing them totally out of anodized aluminum. Otherwise they could be buffed or resurfaced without any ill effects. It is so sad manufacturers currently sell the inferior anodized coated junk.

              2 Replies
              1. re: RShea78

                Can you really make an item entirely out of aluminum oxide?

                1. re: rockfish42

                  You mean as in "grinding wheels"? (That is the only thing I can think of, that is actually made out of aluminum oxide.)

                  As far as solid anodized Al cookware, the company that made them, went out of business in the 80's. My Dad had a set but tossed them when he went and purchased a Saladmaster set of SS.

                  I believe currently no one makes them solid anymore, but Al is simply a item I can live without. Too many Don't(s) to deal with.

                  Another read is the chowhound link below.