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A Problem with Pomaireware Clay Pots

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Okay. I’ve been reading about how metal cookware can be harmful to your health. I have decided to buy some alternative cookware that does not pose a health danger. After reading and investigating, it looked like Pomaireware was a good option. I went ahead and ordered two clay pots, each one being 1 quart. I paid $46 for both, meaning $23 per pot.

I just received the items today. And I found a problem with the pots. There is a strong glue/adhesive type of smell. I thought maybe this is just because they are new, and that after washing the pots the smell would go away. Unfortunately, that turned out to not be the case. After washing both pots and lids with baking soda, the adhesive-like smell is still there and is also very strong. So is Pomaireware using adhesives or glues when making these pots?

I called customer service and asked if any glue or adhesive is used. The person told me that the pots are made only from clay, with no glue or adhesive. And he told me that what I am smelling is a nasty odor. He recommended that I boil milk in the pot, and that this should make the smell go away. Isn’t this strange? Why would I have to boil milk to get rid of this odor?

Anyhow, the smell that I mentioned is strong. And I doubt that the representative was telling the truth when he told me that the pots are made only from clay. I cannot just go ahead and cook in these pots. I think I will just go ahead and return them and look for a better product. I pay $23 for a 1-quart pot, and now face the possibility of some toxic adhesive chemical seeping into my food. I would rather cook in my old cookware until I get a better product.

Has anyone experienced this problem with Pomaireware? Did you notice a glue-like smell in the pots?

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  1. Ok, please stop worry about metal cookware being harmful and stuffs like that. You can pick any cookware and say there is something wrong with it. Telfon -- Telfon flu. Copper-- copper poisoning. Aluminum -- Alzheimer's disease. Iron -- iron overload toxicity. Steel -- chromium toxicity. Clay -- clay is made from earth and there are all kind of heavy metal in clay. Pick a material and I can tell you all the possible reasons why it is unhealthy.

    1. I've used a similar South America clay pot - la chamba pottery - and had no issue. Clay pots are pretty much what they say they are - clay. They get cured in a rather hot kiln, so pretty much anything not clay wouldn't make it through. There would be no need or reason to use anything other than clay in the production - why would one replace a cheap input - clay - with an expensive input - like epoxy. Societies have cooked with clay for a LONG time - its not rocket science or anything

      The rep wasn't far off in telling you to boil milk - a lot of clay pots have to be seasoned. My cazuela used a water/vinegar mixture simmered in it to season..

      Go to a store and stick your head into an Emile Henry pot.. might as well make sure you don't have some weird chemical sensitivity that gets set off by elements in clay. Perhaps you should just start cooking in Pyrex all the time and using chopsticks..

      1. I have been cooking in Pomaireware clay products for over 5 years. I actually was in the town of Pomaire in Chile. They use only clay to make the products-no glue, no glaze, no anthing but clay. Some clays need to be cured just like cast iron. These do not. The smell is dirt. It is an earthy smell and somewhat disappears after usage. But you will always smell the earthiness. That's what I love about cooking in the clay. The house gets a warmth to it. I agree with both the other people. You just may have a sensitive nose.

        1. I am from Chile,
          before you use any clay pot from chile you should cure it, either by boiling milk in it, or by using lard or butter, just rub the whole thing in butter or lard, put in a 400 oven for 15 minutes or 20 an let it cool in the oven
          Never use soap, if you cook in it and gets food stuck in it, just soak it over night, if is still very hard to remove, add water a vinegar, half a cup and boil the water, then you can use a wooden spoon, hopefully a flat end one and scrap the bottom softly.
          The smell will go away, is just the smell of wet dirt.
          if you take care of them they can last you a lifetime, they can go from the freezer to the microwave or oven

          6 Replies
          1. re: alfonso v

            I assume it's all right to incubate yogurt in one of these pots. I bought a one qt. bean pot, but I really want to use it for yogurt making. Also, I have a glass-top stove. Don't want to break this cute pot.

            1. re: Yvonne75

              Hi, I agree with alfonso v. The only difference is that I have never cured any of my pots. I cannot think of what the weird taste would be. Maybe the beans were old. You must let the pots airdry after washing them. Use a mild detergent and gently scrub with a teflon pad. The earthy taste actually should give the pot a warm sense *hard to describe). Let me now how it went with the milk

            2. re: alfonso v

              I bought a pomaire clay pot from amazon. my first batch of beans came out great but the second batch had a weird bitter taste - would this be the "earthy Taste" people talk about cause I thought it was awful! I'm gonna try boiling milk in the pot. Would welcome any other tips! Thanx

              1. re: betsymul

                I found a new popcorn popper at the thrift store, can it be used the same as with any of the casserole pots?

                1. re: Marigene

                  If this is a Pop o Pot, then you need to use it only in the microwave. Use 1 teaspoon of olive oil and heat on high for 1 minute. Then add 1/4 cup of any kind of real popcorn and start with 6 minutes on high. Every microwave is different. List until only a few are popping and note the time. If there are too many old maids, then you need to increase the time in 15 second increments. This is a trial and error sort of thing

                  1. re: auroragirl

                    Thanks for the information, but I really have no use for a pop corn popper so I guess I will use it as a flower pot seeing it can't be used as a casserole!

            3. SInce this product is also sold in California which has very tough standards, the rep was correctl. Only clay is used. All clay pots have a smell since they are basically dirt. Maybe you should stay with other products.

              1. I have the same issue. Just found a La Chamba cazuela at the thrift store. And it definitely has the weird plastic smell. Other than that it's absolutely lovely. (hey, it was $4)

                So, I'm going to try the milk and see if it helps. The weird thing is that after I warmed it up I could sort of smell both the earthy and what seemed to be plastic.

                We'll see how it goes.

                1. Does anyone can tell me where can I buy clay pot from Chile online? I have been looking for a web page but no luck...thank you !!!

                  1. I have used a Pomiare clay pot I brought back from Chile to hold onions for over a year and recently noticed a very strong odor coming out from the pot. It smells like sour diry feet and it just won't disappear even after repeated cleaning. It seemed to have started with a couple of rotten onions in he pot about a month ago. By the way, the surface of pot is kind of scratched and the stain coloring used by the maker is also fading. I hope it does not cause health problems. Anyone encountered similar problem?

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Chinocochino

                      These pots are porous and not sealed. They absorb what is in and around them. The problem is not the pot, but that you stored what became rotten onions in it. If you had stored dirty socks in the pot, no doubt it would start smelling of them! Otherwise, Pomaireware pots are beautiful things, wonderful looking pots. Perhaps just immersing and soaking it overnight in water and then cooking something in it that can be immediately thrown away would help fix the odour problem?

                      1. re: VitalForce

                        For the surface, rubbing it lightly with a neutral oil, when dry, like food-safe mineral oil or a light odourless cooking oil should bring it back.

                        1. re: VitalForce

                          I guess you are right. Without protective coating, the exposed cracks on these rudimentary earthwares can easily trap and accumulate micro organic materials which could be difficult to clean or detect.