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Jan 29, 2011 01:42 PM

French Mauviel copper pots - stains on the inside?? HELP!

Major problem: My husband accidentally left a Mauviel sauce pan with water on the burner and fell asleep... the water boiled out and now there are black-ish circular stains on the inside of the pot which will not come out. I am pretty sure that the pots are stainless steel lined (silver colored rivets with brass handles). He bought them about 10 years ago. I tried removing the spots with Barkeeper's Friend, and I think that they got a little lighter. Is the pan ruined?
Minor problem: On the insides of the other pots, there are smaller stains and scratches, and sometimes there is a film, almost like all the food hasn't been removed although I scrub and scrub and scrub. Any suggestions? And are these pans ruined too? Also, is there any way to get the brass handles clean and shiny?
Thanks to any advice!

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  1. Are you sure they are stainless steel lined and not tinned? How smooth is the surface when you look at it? Tinned has a swirling effect in the light sometimes. I ask only because I generally saw the brass handles/tin linings combination for Mauviel, and the stainless steel was sold with cast iron handles. I don't remember a brass handle/stainless steel lining combo back then, but of course, it is possible.

    If it is tin, you may need to look at another method of removing the stain. It might be worth trying to boil some water with baking soda in it, just to see if it works.

    1. lizzerm: IF these are SS-lined, the lining is around 0.4mm thick--plenty thick to scrub and scrub with BKF.

      But IF they are tin-lined, you will ruin the lining (not the pan) in short order by using BKF. Let me ask you this: In your scrubbing so far, has your rag/sponge come up dirty grey? If it has, especially from an area that isn't carbonized, you've probably got tin. If the pan is 10 years old, it may be either tin- or SS-lined. Can you post some photos?

      Let me also ask: Is there any tactile difference between the "stained" areas and the non-? Is there any deformation in thickness of the bottom where the "stain" is? If there is neither roughness or a change in thickness (which would indicate a delamination), the pan is not ruined even if the stain is permanent. Those of us who use tin-lined get used to splotches and stains, and they don't matter except in a newb aesthetic way. In other words, I encourage you to make friends with your stains.

      If, however, you have deformation/delamination of a SS-lined pan, unfortunately the pan may be ruined. This is actually an unsung advantage of going with tin--you can always retin, but you can't re-line with SS.

      Re: brass handles... Flitz metal polish is great. As is 0000 grade steel wool. If you expect mirror polish on the pan itself, I'd stick with Flitz--the wool will matte the finish a bit where you get off the mounting flange.

      Good luck, and don't be too hard on yourselves. These things happen.