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Is A Rusty Pan Safe to Use? & How to Maintain Stainless Steel Cookware?

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inventivefficiency Nov 9, 2009 07:06 PM

I didn't find any educated or informed answers googling, but assumed that it wasn't safe, so I'm getting a new saucepan eventually. I'm still curious to know the answer though. The rusty pan is probably either aluminum or stainless steel.

On a related topic, how can I care for my new stainless steel saucepan so that it lasts a long time? - to slow corrosion basically.

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  1. Chemicalkinetics RE: inventivefficiency Nov 9, 2009 07:23 PM

    A rusty pan is safe to use especially after you remove the rust from the pan. Rust is nothing but oxidized iron. It really does not kill you unless your body cannot remove iron effectively or you eat tons of rust.

    A rusty pan also mean it is NEITHER aluminum nor stainless steel. It is probably carbon steel. That being said, everything can rust. Aluminum can be oxidized. We just don't call it rust.

    A stainless steel pan is pretty easy to take care of, as it has strong resistance against oxidation (rusting). Still, some stainless steel pans are not dishwasher and can rust under a dishwasher. Thanks.

    1. johnb RE: inventivefficiency Nov 11, 2009 06:01 PM

      Stainless by definition doesn't rust. SS, in French is called inox, i.e. inoxidable. Some grades can over time oxidize and pit to an extent, especially if exposed to a high-salt environment, but as a practical matter it generally isn't much of a problem. If you just clean them soon after using them you should be fine pretty much for a lifetime. As far as cleaning, start with a simple soapy sponge. If that doesn't get it all off, move up to a plastic pad, and then to a metal pad. Bar Keepers Friend or Bon Ami are also good.

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        meme1234 RE: inventivefficiency Jun 10, 2014 05:51 AM

        i think it depends on the type and "level" of rust, the material, and your view.
        iron is generally considered non toxic or even an important dietary supplement so rusty iron is not so bad. check your blood tests if you have too high iron then maybe i would stop using the pan or try to remove the rust. if you suffer from low iron levels then maybe you should use it more.

        see if the change of pans affects your iron levels.

        aluminum is controversial some say it'd harmless some say it's harmful. anyway everyone are exposed to a lot of aluminum even if they avoid aluminum cookware. so the cookware may not make real difference in the overall exposure and consumption of aluminum.

        i'd probably avoid if it's pitted and highly rusty.

        stainless steel seems to have many forms of rust some are more harmful then others i would suggest you look it up.
        i would also looking for info about cleaning rust and levels of rust.

        caring for stainless steel:
        avoid scratching. avoid contact with other metals (they can scratch the surface and they can move to the steel and create surface rust there)
        avoid dishwasher, avoid harsh detergents, avoid prolonged exposure to water and moisture (dry the pan with a towel after washing).

        so don't use with metals, hand wash with soft sponge and dish soap and then dry with a towel try to store so there is no contact with other metals.

        by the way, i think surface rust is usually not harmful (to the health), but I'm not entirely sure about that

        BTW 2, stainless steel do rust! they just rust "less".

        there are other tips available. good luck.

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