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Discolored fry pan OUTSIDES

We've got a couple of non-stick fry pans whose outer surfaces just won't respond to any of the cleaners we've tried. These are fairly heavy, so we're pretty sure they're "stainless" (?) steel.
They most likely were purchased at a Linens & Things (several years ago) and are both made in China. The outer bottoms have a repeated wave pattern in them. The stains are orange-ish rusty looking and now pretty much cover the majority of the outer bottoms and sides.

We've tried Barkeeper's friend (usually works on everything), Comet, 3M stainless cleaner, and several kinds of metal/brass/copper cleaners.

I've seen some online suggestions for baking on mixtures of cream of tartar and a couple of others I can't recall. Anyone have something that should work??


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  1. You need to get a wire mesh stainless steel pot scrubber from a commercial restaurant supply company. Don't bother purchasing the copper varieties from a supermarket, as they simply do not work as well. Stainless steel pans are very durable, so have no fear with scratching the surface. In commercial kitchen, the build-up of grease on the bottom of pans is unavoidable. When a pan that has grease on the bottom hits the burner flame, that's when it turns black....and becomes a very nasty problem. A combination of the ss pot scrubber and baking soda powder is the way kitchens clean deep fryers and black greased pots and pans. If you have a stock pot large enough to immerse the fry pan into, try boiling the pan in water with the baking soda. Good luck.


    1. Allow me to play the jerk.

      Why are you concerned about the exterior cleanliness of your pans? As long as chunks of carbonized food aren't hanging off, what's the big deal? Performance is the same, and no one will ever be able to tell the difference in the final product.

      That said, if you still feel the need to tackle this issue then here is the ultimate solution:


      BTW, this product is the *actual* way that commercial kitchens clean their equipment. They don't have the time to mess around with baking soda and other "green" alternatives. They go straight for the nuclear option...

      10 Replies
      1. re: Joe Blowe


        If an actual commercial kitchen allowed their equipment to get that bad before using that product.....the health department would probably close them down first for other related problems. Baking soda is a daily thing....so things stay clean and the product you linked is not necessary.....

        1. re: fourunder

          Where did I say an "actual commercial kitchen allowed their equipment to get that bad before using that product"? Restaurants use Carbon-Off, and other more Sinister Cleaners, *regardless* of the condition of their equipment!

          Go into any real, to-the-trade restaurant supply store and ask. Go into any restaurant and ask. They're not using baking soda to clean their equipment. There are far better, far quicker products on the market (like the one mentioned above, and countless others) that keep commercial kitchens clean.

          Restaurants are actually _businesses_ concerned with things like profit margins and expediency. Eco-friendliness is a low priority, and any Warm & Fuzzy images of purity and wholesomeness they might project are for marketing purposes only. Why would they have the employees slaving away with scrubbers and baking soda, when they could buy an off-the-shelf product designed to tackle specific jobs?

          http://www.instawares.com/fryer-clean... (<-- Like that.)

          Without going into my own background and knowledge on the subject, people are very mistaken if they think: All (or even most) restaurants are avoiding products with Teflon; NEVER use any evil aluminum cookware; only cook with cast iron and stainless steel; use earth-friendly cleaners to maintain their kitchens.

          You may not like it, but it's the truth. Ask around.

          1. re: Joe Blowe

            You make quite a few assumptions in your tirade....

            1. re: fourunder

              I would be thrilled if you could prove me wrong.

              1. re: Joe Blowe

                I have over forty years experience in the private sector and national corporate restaurant/hospitality business....you are obviously either in restaurant supply or chemical sales.....I do not need any lessons from you on how a business is run.

                1. re: fourunder

                  "I have over forty years experience in the private sector and national corporate restaurant/hospitality business."

                  Oh, then you must be aware of all the nasty secrets in the restaurant business. So why would you tell the OP that a "combination of the ss pot scrubber and baking soda powder is the way *kitchens* clean _deep fryers_ and black greased pots and pans"? Is that really your experience, or are you just making "quite a few assumptions"?

                  (BTW, you're wrong about my business background.)

                  1. re: Joe Blowe

                    4under &JB, sorry to butt in, but I've never known a restuarant to clean the stain off of the outsides of pots and pans.

                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                      You're right. Scroll up to the beginning where I said: "Why are you concerned about the exterior cleanliness of your pans?" and "BTW, this product is the *actual* way that commercial kitchens clean their *equipment*."

                      1. re: Joe Blowe

                        Right! I was with you up to that point and then the two of you started a hollerin' en cussin' at one another.

                        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                          Sorry, I was referring to the cleaning of equipment such as fryers, griddles, charbroilers, etc. And, of course, the fact that no restaurant I've come across cleans their pots and pans with s.s. scrubbers and baking soda!

      2. Bon Ami paste! then scrub...

        1. When all else fails, use oven cleaner. Just spray or brush on, let it sit for maybe an hour, and then rinse. If necessary, use a plastic scrubbie thingy to get any stubborn bits off. Works like a charm. Of course it's not necessary to obsessively clean the outsides of cookware, but if it makes you feel better, you should do it. It's your kitchen.

          1. I have worked in the food industry off and on for a combined total of 17 years. I have cleaned all sorts of kitchens, from dormant camp kitchens on up..... whether pots and pans or fryers and griddles, i have never used industrial cleaners. Scouring powders, hot water, bleach and elbow grease do just fine. As for pots and pans, I have worked kitchens that required ALL pots and pans to shine inside and out.

            1. Easy Off and a steel pad seems to have gotten off 90% of the discoloration. I'm still wondering about using this type of cleaner, though. Soaked the pan in hot soapy water and gave it a deep spongng, after thoroughly rinsing off the residue, but still a bit concerned.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Midlife

                I can promise you that you have exposed yourself to far more toxins, without having the least idea, by just walking around during your daily life. You've washed off the chemicals and there isn't likely anything left to worry about. Of course, the environment is a whole other topic. My approach is to use this kind of thing VERY rarely. But when you think about it - how much water do you waste when you repeatedly scrub that pan with all sorts of less toxic substances that don't work very well?