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Severe All-Clad corrosion from our water-softener

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I was shocked to see SEVERE corrosion after soaking a brand-new All-Clad stainless-steel pot in water overnight to loosen cooked-on food. The aluminum portion of the rim (sandwiched between two layers of stainless steel) was completely broken-down and caked with white exudate.

We have a whole-house water softener; obviously the aluminum that is exposed at the rim interacted with the softened water.

I took my entire All-Clad purchase (an entire set) back to the store, but now I am having trouble locating a brand of high quality cookware that doesn't have any exposed aluminum at the rim. I obviously don't want to have this happen again.

I looked at cookware promoted by Dr. Andrew Weil, made by Spring of Switzerland, and sold by the Waterford group. Weil promotes it because the rims of this cookware are covered by stainless steel so that aluminum can't get into the food. The problem is that this cookware didn't seem to be of the highest quality: the lids didn't fit well and the steamer inserts wouldn't stay upright in the pans, etc.

I am looking for high-quality cookware that either:
- has the aluminum in its rims covered with stainless steel
OR
- just has an aluminum bottom and stainless steel sides (so the rims will be 100% stainless steel)
OR
- just has aluminum going part-way up the sides of the pans so there is no aluminum in the rim

I am researching several brands; however, I'm finding it difficult to find out whether those brands that include aluminum will comply with my criteria.

The brands that I am researching are: Rosle, Demeyere, Le Creuset, and Cuisinart. (Does anyone know where I can see Rosle pots and pans in a store in New York, Washington, or anywhere on the east coast?)

I am trying to avoid all-stainless steel cookware as it won't perform well. I want excellent performance but I don't want corroded pots and aluminum in our food.

I am also trying to avoid extremely heavy cookware.

Copper is too heavy and too much trouble for me to keep up. Ditto with cast iron or enameled cast iron.

Can anyone offer any recommendations about other brands that would suit my needs?

Thanks --

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  1. Several of the All-Clad stainless pots have the rolled rim with no exposed aluminum. You could use the 1.5 qt, and 2.5 qt. windsor pots instead of the other saucepans, the 4.5 qt. saucier shaded ragout pan, the 12" and 10" frypans, the saute pans, and the 6 and 8 qt. stockpots. These all have the rolled rim with the aluminum core enclosed.

    1 Reply
    1. re: blondelle

      RShea78, the 3,4, & 6 qt. saute pans have the same rolled rim as the stockpots. I have one. I believe only the 2 qt. saute has the straight rim with the aluminum exposed.

    2. ""We have a whole-house water softener; obviously the aluminum that is exposed at the rim interacted with the softened water.""

      Something is seriously wrong to do the damage you describe.

      After watching Dante's Peak- I think I would be packing my bags <strike that-forget about packing> I would run for it!!!

      Okay, I am a bit dramatic, but you should look into that, ASAP!

      5 Replies
      1. re: RShea78

        I never saw Dante's Peak - what do you think is happening there?

        1. re: flourgirl

          Dante's Peak, is a disaster movie about a fictitious town about ready to have a dormant volcano to blow its top. The grave sign was when their City's water supply sulfated, and their water ways turn acidic (sulfuric acid), due to underground volcanic events.

          1. re: RShea78

            There's nothing scary or mysterious happening with our water. We simply have a whole-house water softening system -- which means that we have to add salt to the water to cut the hardness. The salt is what is breaking the aluminum down.

            (FYI: We don't cook with or drink the softened water. We have a reverse osmosis system at our kitchen sink to remove the salt. However, it would be way too expensive to wash our dishes with water from the reverse osmosis faucet.)

            Therefore, my problem still stands: I need recommendations for high-quality cookware that does not have exposed aluminum at the rim.

            Thank you to the person who suggested certain select pieces of All-Clad. However, the saute pans I bought had an exposed aluminum rim. I would like to buy a whole set of pans without the aluminum problem.

            1. re: DCgrl

              Whew - glad to hear you're apparently not sitting on a volcano! :)

              1. re: DCgrl

                ---""There's nothing scary or mysterious happening with our water. We simply have a whole-house water softening system -- which means that we have to add salt to the water to cut the hardness. The salt is what is breaking the aluminum down.""

                Okay... Then what isn't to say that even top dollar, high quality, stainless steel cookware will not be pitted or damaged as well?

                Unfortunately, for the cooking and cleaning issues, in alternitives like glass or plastic doesn't sound like an option unless the problematic water softening system is corrected.

                EDIT- Perhaps the issue maybe a form of electrolysis as a plumber friend just informed me about

        2. Were these pots completely immersed in water during the soaking? I've had to soak pots to loosen food, but that is with water in the pot below the rim.

          How about a less expensive line of pots, ones with just an embedded aluminum core in the base, but not the sides?

          1. I would speak directly to All-Clad,they are very helpful one on one.
            ?Have you looked at Cuisinart and or Viking,they may have pans to suit your needs.
            Do not know how the weigh thing will play out.

            1. Ive studied metallurgy and there is something that is missing because aluminum should not dissolve in contact with potable water. You might want to have your softener checked because water that is capable of damaging aluminum in 12 hours might also be harming your pipes and your appliances.

              Did you leave a metal utensil in the pan, and what kind of sink was it?

              Did you use baking soda in the soaking water?

              I am wondering sow severe the corrosion, was, a white residue or was there actually aluminum that was missing between the SS layers?

              Sitram is not clad in the pan walls, so that might be a possibility, as is Emerilware. Bridge kitchenware is a great source in NYC, as is JB Prince.

              1. Try adding another salt which will dissolve in the water into positive and negative ions (but not regular table salt).
                Make sure that the new salt is comprised from ions that will combine with Na+ and Cl- ions to from a non soluble salt (third and forth kind of salt). The non soluble salt will form into a solid and remove the unwanted Na+ and Cl- particles. Then just sift solids out of the water and viola! http://www.unitedwatersystems.com