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Going insane re: scratched stainless steel

Hi all,

I am looking for something like a combination of reassurance and a bit of schooling right now.

I am used to cooking with sub-par pans (my mother hardly cooked so I was at the mercy of what was in our kitchen for a very long time). I am recently married, however, and I was lucky enough to receive a giant set of Cuisinart Multiclad Pro Stainless for a shower gift along with Henckels flatware that is very pretty (the Vintage 1876 is lovely and hefty).

While my new husband and I were buying general supplies for our new apartment, I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to decide on proper cleaning items for the pans...I am used to using a nylon brush, but he wanted to get one of those blue scrubbers (I guess scotch brite-ish) on a stick that has a hollow handle for dispensing soap. I didn't think much of it and deferred.

A few days later I used said scrubber to very gently prod what hadn't lifted off the pans during a delgaze and was shocked to see tons of scratches all over the beautiful mirror finish...and also on my flatware, from which I had both vigorously washed (egg yolk) and gently went over.

I kind of had a huge freak-out; my husband feels awful - I told him perhaps the nylon brush would have done the same thing - I am not mad at him - how on earth would he have known? But -

1) So, are my brand-spankin'-new pans ruined? Will I ever see the shiny mirror finish again?

2) Will it affect performance? The internet has been surprisingly unhelpful - I've seen some extreme opinions in either direction.

3) Flatware. It looks like it's aged 10 years with all of those scratches. The ones that we hadn't yet washed are still unscathed and shiny since I bought a plain sponge to clean with. I have Jekyll and Hyde forks and knives and such.

I don't know what answers I'm looking for - I feel kind of like a nut, but it has been coming in waves of irritation with myself for not knowing better, somehow. The fact that the scratches on the giant 12" skillet are in the exact pattern I cleaned it in is not helping. I contemplated putting it all on Craigslist and buying new sets. Yes, I know I'm crazy.


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  1. Life is very long and very short. If this is the worst you get, consider yourself very lucky. Nothing to get upset about, the pan will be fine, it will cook fine, so you and your husband can kiss and make up. As to your flatware, what is it made of?

    1 Reply
    1. re: escondido123

      No fighting, I promise. I can't blame him for something we were unaware of. Just lots of mutual irritation with shiny and new being less shiny.

      It's this set - http://www.amazon.com/Zwilling-Hencke... - so 18/10. High polish and great balance.

    2. Okay. You have two options:

      a) you can cook and eat what you made

      b) you can eat take-out from the Golden Arches and other places making handheld food for the rest of your life

      If you do a), you'll be able to make and eat what you want and have have something to share with people who will appreciate it

      If you do b), you'll have great cookware and cutlery to show your guests when they tour your home, but they may ask questions as to why they're eating take-out pizza with their hands and throwaway plates

      Personally, I'd cook. The little scratches do nothing to affect the performance of the cookware and the knives still cut and the forks still poke food. The important thing is the end product on the plate which I will consume with friends and family (or solo depending on the case).

      If you're that bothered about the scratches on your cookware go ahead and sell them off; I'm fairly certain that there would be lots of people who will take them off your hands. Just be prepared to do the same thing with the next set and the next (and so on and so on). Apologies if that last bit sounded like the old Breck commercials.

      4 Replies
      1. re: wattacetti

        It is all part of life, once shiny and new, later worn and loved. Get on with what really matters and enjoy the things you have. You could be eating out of the garbage dump behind a restaurant and sleeping in a card board box.

        1. re: wattacetti

          This reminds me of that ridiculous commercial where the posh couple eat with paper and plastic to avoid using their BEAUTIFUL new kitchen sink.

          1. re: pdxgastro

            Yes! I was thinking the exact same thing!

          2. re: wattacetti

            I am with you on this philosophy. Cookware does not remain looking like it came out of the box a few minutes ago if you actually start using it. Ditto for flatware. I have been married for 30 years, and have used both cheap cookware and expensive cookware for that time. Here are my specific comments:

            1. The mirror finish on your pure stainless steel pots is doomed to dull, or appear scratched. I handwash my pots, and sometimes, even after soaking, you have to scrape and soak and scour. Those mysterious little brown grease stains that seem to burn onto the exterior surface and bottom of your pots have to come off, unless you want dirty looking pots over time. It is more important to clean the pot than to polish it, because using pots with food residue is not good practice. A couple of my oldest stainless steel pots belonged to my grandmother, and I can assure you that she loved these pots, but did not hesitate to take a Brillo pad to the interior, or even the exterior, if the situation called for it. I always soak first, but sometimes you need elbow grease. Performance is not affected. If you want SS to look like a mirror, then buy a few for show and hang them up as display items. Heck, people here (myself included) have been known to use Barkeeper's friend, white vinegar, scrubbies, Oxy Clean and even oven cleaner to remove burned on grease. I take care of my pots, and really handle them with care, but once in a while something happens, meaning, food burns onto the item and soaking does not take it off. Interestingly, if I should happen to use one of my pots to fry in, often the pot starts to look very shiny on the inside once again. This seems to restore the brushed interior finishes well. That said, I think that the popularity of brushed external finishes is testimony to the fact that that mirror finishes just wear out with use.

            2. Even the best "stainless" flatware can rust if you leave them in the dishwasher overnight and empty the machine in the morning. Worse, dishwasher detergents are brutal to these finishes, and can even etch glass, which is common knowledge. I have had this with several sets. The most recent example was when I chose to add additional 18/10 stainless flatware items from Replacements, LTD. They were sooo much shinier than the pieces that were in use for 20 years, but they are catching up fast.

            3. Other materials, such as copper, cast iron, carbon steel, aluminum, and yes, even the beloved light beige interior of LeCreuset pots, will all discolor over time. In the case of LC, which is enameled cast iron, if you can avoid putting anything in there that is not light beige, you will probably be fine for about five or ten years :)

            Don't worry, just clean the pots and display them proudly. I love it when people tell me that I have a "cook's kitchen". It means that they have noticed that I actually USE my kitchen, as well as my pots and gadgets.

          3. I'd be going nuts too!

            "Why's this shit all scratched....!!!"

            I just use a dishrag for things that get washed in the sink. And dishwasher for the rest.

            That is some good looking flatware though. Our is all 20 (!) years old, but the handles have a brushed appearance so who can tell about scratches!

            2 Replies
            1. re: FireFlyFiftyFive

              Thanks for "getting it" - it's like - "This is brand new. Why is it getting so scratched?" I was using silicone utensils, too, so I couldn't figure it out for the life of me. We were REALLY surprised it was the scotch brite! We are living in a teeny tiny apartment right now without a dishwasher; otherwise I doubt I'd have ever touched the flatware with a scrubbie. I love it because it matches the Queen Anne line we have from Pillivuyt so well and feels great to hold. :-) My mom has had her flatware for 30+ years and it is well-loved - I sort of imagined mine would be like that several years from now, not the first time I washed it. But we'll survive.

              1. re: Orange_Blossom

                In my experience stainless scratches. Your stainless sink will scratch, your stainless pans will scratch, and your flatware will ultimately stain and scratch. Shiny finishes will show scratches the most. Frankly, I use old fashioned scouring pads if necessary, on the sink and pans. I don't know how your pans got scratched but I don't think the implement you used caused any damage.

                You bought really nice stuff. The value of the pans is in the functionality and the terrific meals you produce with them, and (at least to me) the overall aesthetic quality. I'd value this over whether they are pristine. Wattacetti has the right attitude on this, IMO.

            2. You sound like me the first time I looked at the scratches I put on my first All-Clad skillet the first time I washed it (dish liquid and a Dobie pad). Eventually, I got over it. I didn't even try to "baby" my next piece of all-clad. It's cookware. I don't think about it anymore.

              Same with flatware. I had been using a set of bistro flatware with plastic handles, so the scratching over the years wasn't as noticeable as it was when I switched to all-stainless flatware. But I got over that, too.

              The alternatives are cast iron (enameled or plain), matte-finish stainless, or aluminum cookware, and of course, matte-finish stainless flatware.

              In time, if you're anything like me, you'll get over it. It won't take as long as you think. A scrubbed pot is a cooked-in pot, and that's a good thing.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Jay F

                Yes, just the other night I took a stainless whisk to one of the still-unscathed pans because the silicone one I have (not a balloon whisk, but a rather whimsical shape better for putting air into cream) wasn't cutting it...lots of little scratches now, but for some reason I felt ok about it. I'm trying to get over it and remind myself that they are tools. I am glad I'm not a crazy person, though.

                1. re: Orange_Blossom

                  "I am glad I'm not a crazy person, though."

                  You realize, of course, this doesn't mean you're not a crazy person.... ;-)

                  (I have no idea if you're still monitoring this thread or not.)

              2. A pan without scratches is like a car with no miles on it. No one wants to just pile up miles on their new car, but that's what it's for. No one wants to get scratches on the new pots and pans or flatware, but if you use them, that's what's going to happen. Take the advice above and use and enjoy your cookware. On the otherhand, don't put that Van Gogh in the dishwasher, there are some things that are best not scratched.

                1. I use Bar Keepers Friend for tough stains otherwise I just use Scotch-Brite Non-Scratch Scrub Sponge (blue) for everyday cleaning. None of my pans have mirror finish anymore.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: pabboy

                    Did you find that the non-scratch scratched? In a fit of anger I threw out all of the pad heads and handle, so now I'm struggling to remember what color it was. The lovely ladies who bought my set did include BKF...I'll have to try it out.

                    1. re: Orange_Blossom

                      Blue Non-Scratch does not scratch. I use it on all my knives too.

                  2. I felt the same way the first time I realized that my then-shiny-new mirror finish ScanPan Steel saucepan now had scratches in it -- and the first time I noticed them in our brushed stainless sink too for that matter (and I see that sink a heck of a lot more often than I do any particular pan, LOL).

                    However both the pans (plural, since we have two of that line) and the sink function as perfectly with scratches as when they were pristine, so honestly the initial "oh crap" was pretty much instantly followed by "oh well". No sense crying over spilled milk and all that, as mom used to say. I don't mean that flippantly, btw -- same thing happens with every new car once it gets that first little scratch on it.

                    The #2 thing I like about stainless cookware is that I can use stainless utensils on it (#1 being the complete nontoxicity) because I never have felt 1001% comfy with the idea of using either a plastic or a silicone tool, though we do have them, and wood simply absorbs too much in the way of odors and stains for my liking. I reserve wooden spoons for baking and pasta.

                    As for the flatware getting scratches, all flatware will do that, regardlesss of whether it is sterling, or silverplate, or stainless. If you look at the blade of any sterling silver knife, no matter how $$$$$ it is, you will see that (a) the blade is stainless steel and (b) the blade has those little scratches all over it. The only difference is that silverplate and sterling will acquire scratches faster than stainless will; in fact all those jillions of tiny scratches on silver is what results in the lovely patina which is so prized in old or antique silver. In fact that is why we have been using our sterling as everyday flatware for more than 10 years: to hasten that process. :-)

                    As far as cleaning goes, I use Bon Ami on everything stainless that needs more omph than a sponge or dishcloth gives it. Bar Keepers friend is a bit more abrasive and so if you do want to keep abrasion to a minimum it is best to stick to Bon Ami. If you let some hot soapy water sit in the pan for a while first it helps quite a lot, especially if you run the water into it while still hot (another thing you can do with stainless that you shouldn't with a nonstick surface!). The resulting steam lifts off a lot of stickies. I have never had a pan so in trouble that it couldn't be gotten 100% clean with Bon Ami and that includes a couple of accidental burn-outs as well. One was in the ScanPan steel, come to think of it. I was stunned that the interior could be brought back to pre-accident state just with a lot of hot water, soap, Bon Ami, and elbow grease. I really thought that pan was toast (literally).

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: skyline

                      Thank you for your reply. I, too, am big on "non-toxic" cooking and am the type of girl who calls customer service asking about lead and cadmium and such. We keep one nonstick pan around for when my husband has the urge to make eggs, but I have shown him how to effectively do it in cast iron or stainless, so hopefully we can toss that one eventually.

                      That is one of the things I wanted to know - whether it would affect performance. These pans are 100x better than any I have used before in terms of food cooking evenly, not sticking, food lifting right off to clean with a little water and heat...that I would be very sad if I had in any way compromised that. So thank you. Your experience has made me feel much better - and the new car analogy is so apt. Thanks for the Bon Ami tip!

                    2. The green Scotch Brite pads are around 600 grit.

                      I've not had problems with the blue ones scratching. They indicate they are no scratch.

                      The green ones I use to get a brushed finish on some of my knives.

                      1. Well, I am going to take a different approach here. Even though I would agree with others that scratches are just scratches and won't affect your cooking tools, you can remove the scratches. You can try micro-mesh pads and progressively work from coarser to finer grits. You can also try Flitz Polish along with a polishing compound to remove scratches. You can get some by Turtle at automotive stores.

                        Now with that said, it won't be easy on curved surfaces to get an even finish and if you do it once you may never want to do it again, but since the pans can't get any worse, put a bit of flitz on a soft cotton cloth and apply it to a small area. Maybe it'll work. If not try the compound and then some flitz. After that buy some padded micro-mesh if you really really want to get them out.

                        My guess is that once you work hard to make it look better, you won't care about future scratches as much. Just knowing you can fix it is often half the battle; you just usually choose not to fix it.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: smkit

                          Huh. Well, I may try that on the 12" - the pots are not as noticeable because they are deep, but somehow having that wide expanse scratched (in my cleaning pattern) is the most irritating. Thank you for the tips! (And you're right....the psychology is spot-on.)

                          1. re: smkit

                            Gah, why on earth would you use Flitz polish, a metal polish that's full of chemicals, on a pan you cook food your family will eat? Good lord, so the pan has scratches from use. Why is that so upsetting to some? As soon as the first metal utensil is used in the brand new pan, a scratch or scratches will be created.
                            My All Clad & Cusinox Elite pans ( much better than all clad) have acquired many scratches over the years. To me thats a sign of pans that are actually being used, not being displayed as shiny kitchen trophies.

                            1. re: Joyfull

                              those chemicals should wash off without a problem. I doubt there is any absorption into the SS surface.

                              Do you wash your pans with dish detergent?

                              1. re: Joyfull

                                People use Flitz when polishing knives and it washes off. And don't forget that almost all non-wood kitchen tools have been probably immersed in chemicals at some point in the manufacturing process. I wouldn't worry about it, and I'm sure barkeeper's friend has material I wouldn't eat either and everyone uses that.

                                Regardless, I just wanted to offer another take on the scratches. All scratches can be removed with effort -- even though I wouldn't do it or care about it.

                            2. Welcome to the very long list of brides who have faced the exact same thing -- pretty new things that are scratched/dented/bruised/torn/etc with use. Of course you'd love for everything to remain pristine for as long as possible but that didn't happen. Instead, life happened. You have some scratches on shiny new pieces that you received as wedding gifts. This must be particularly galling since you state that you grew up with "sub-par pans". Please do not confuse some scratches with the feeling that the bloom is off your huge new adventure, AKA married life. Some silverware is scratched, some pots/pans are also scratched. It happens to all of us when we use objects in daily life whether it is an automobile or forks or shoes. Lordy, Orange_Blossom, it happens to people! All those wrinkles that appeared out of nowhere on my face are testimony to having lived an interesting life. One day, you two will look back on this seeming catastrophe and smile, remembering it as a bonding experience. It's only stuff. If it remains a really big deal to you, you can buy more stuff. Of course, after you use - and I mean really use it, for cooking, eating and more cooking -- your new stuff, will also have scratches and you can replace that with even more new stuff. Repeat as often as you need to until you see the humor in the scenario and laugh instead of cry.

                              You've received some excellent advice re: soaking pans with hot soapy water, using Bon Ami, etc. It works, I promise. If no one has already stated this, do not put your Cuisinart pots & pans in the dishwasher. Wash them by hand. It's a good rule of thumb as well as an excellent opportunity to caress them, remembering the generous people who gave them to you along with their best wishes for your new life.

                              By way of noting some personal experience, some pieces of our sterling flatware are very old. They've been passed down through the family. Many of the pieces have stories attached to their distinctive scrapes and scratches and we fondly recall the time that Uncle So-and-So threw the serving spoon at the dog who'd stolen the last of the dinner rolls. It makes me smile when I see this spoon, especially since my favorite uncle has died. Building memories is more important than building perfection. Go hug your husband and laugh together. He won't know what hit him.

                              Edit: I should have begun this post by welcoming you to Chowhound. Hope that you find this a helpful, interesting and caring forum.

                              9 Replies
                              1. re: Sherri

                                Sherri--had to thank you for a well written post. I'm old enough for those wrinkles (altho' they're still a shock some days, along with the grey hair) and I'd never Botox 'em. Also had to accept that scratched pans, dented cookware, dings on the car are small prices to pay for Real Life. Love your philosophy!

                                1. re: Sherri

                                  Thank you for the welcome, and the lovely post. I have lurked around here often - the threads are always informative and it seems like a great community of people.

                                  I suppose much of the feeling comes from having received disproportionately nice gifts in comparison to our tiny apartment (I'm finishing an internship, he's a med student) - my family and their friends are very well-off, so they went all out, and there is the urge to preserve the "newness" as much as possible. It's not rational, I realize, but every time I stick an Emile Henry baking dish into our oven that has no temperature adjustment beyond cold, warm, and hot, I think "ah, I'll be done with my degree in two years (job); he'll start his (paid) residency; and we'll move into a slightly larger apartment we'd actually want to invite company into and all I'll have to show for it are old things! I should have kept using his 30 year old Corelle and my 50-for-$5 flatware instead of the Pillivuyt and Henckels until they had a nice place to call home. Totally irrational, and totally missing the concept of what "home" truly is, but there it is, anyway. I know I'll get over it...the baking dish cooks too evenly for me to tuck it away!

                                  Thank you again for your post. It's always nice to get a dose of perspective. :-)

                                  1. re: Orange_Blossom

                                    Perhaps the reason that my post resonated with you is that I have been in an identical situation; affluent background + marriage to a man who was paid peanuts (Naval officer back when they were eligible for food stamps) = tiny furnished (?) apartment filled with gorgeous wedding gifts. We had sterling coming out of our ears but barely enough money to pay the rent. It became a joke that when the table was set most elaborately, the larder was was running bare & spare. There's nothing like heirloom china and sterling flatware on a chipped formica table in a dicey San Diego neighborhood to bring a quick dose of reality to life. A war only added to the mix. The combination, probably more than anything else, gave me a much-needed wake-up call. It became easy to put things in perspective when your friends are returning home in body bags. Anything that isn't fatal loses a lot of its punch. Years later, these 'starvation years' memories are among some of my fondest. This is not meant to dismiss your disappointment, but just to add some "wrinkled" perspective from someone who has been there. By the time you and your husband are a few years in the work force, you'll be able to buy mink underwear if that's what you want to do, not to mention new stuff!

                                    1. re: Orange_Blossom

                                      i remember spending thanksgiving with a newly-married couple who rented china and crystal for the occasion, despite having received 12 place settings of "good" china and crystal as wedding gifts, because the bride was afraid of breakage.

                                      when i visited them years later in a new home, the dining room had a table, china cabinet and sideboard, but they were still "saving" for the chairs. i had to bite my tongue -- i mean, if you want to use the dining room for its intended purpose, chairs are more important than a china cabinet, right?

                                      all of this is by way of saying we have stuff to use, not just look at.

                                        1. re: wonderwoman

                                          Reminds me of how my grandparents wrapped their "nice" sofa in heavy vinyl for everyone to sit on... :-)

                                          1. re: Eiron

                                            but at least they had a place to sit and weren't saving up for the sofa while sporting a nice big TV in the living room

                                            1. re: scubadoo97

                                              True 'nuff. But then, they didn't live The American Dream they way it's promoted today, either. No "latest & greatest," just scrimping & saving for the best quality they could afford of what they needed. I envy that ethic & try to emulate it as much as I can.

                                              1. re: Eiron

                                                Gotcha, but like I alluded to they had their priorities straight.

                                    2. IMO, a stainless steel pan getting scratched up is a natural process like new blue jeans fading, a pair of shoes breaking in, or a leather jacket getting creased and scuffed -- or in the kitchen context, like an expensive maple cutting board getting knife cuts on its surface. As you continue to use (and scrub) your pans and flatware, the pattern of scratches will gradually even out, resulting in a homey, comfortable, well-used look. I even sometimes intentionally accelerate the process by vigorous scrubbing with a green Scotch-Brite pad.

                                      7 Replies
                                      1. re: tanuki soup

                                        I smiled as I read your post.

                                        Keep things in perspective. Your cookware will still be around 30 - 40 yrs from now. but will likely be in one of your kids' kitchen.

                                        It is like the 23 yr old brunett I married 50+ yrs ago. 5'10", 115#, and a figure to knock your socks off. 51 yrs later, one mastectomy, 2 knee replacements, 1??#, four kids and a wrinkled face.


                                        And that stunning Navy Officer she married who weighed 155#, 6', w/ brown hair is now 210#, gray hair and a paunch. Some things get better with age and wear.

                                        Same with cookware.

                                        1. re: AZGrandpa

                                          AZGrandpa, you made my day brighter! What a terrific outlook.

                                            1. re: AZGrandpa

                                              That's a great nugget of wisdom. Thanks!

                                            2. re: tanuki soup

                                              Tanuki Soup--hubby has "accelerated" the aging process in some of my cookbooks, too! He thought that favorites should look "well-used," so he flung some oil & spices on the pages. That happened a gazillion years ago, and I still laugh when I open to those pages.

                                              1. re: pine time

                                                Nothing is going to take scratches out of SS. Any type of brush used on SS and chromed flatware is going to leave the finish marred and scratched.

                                                Warm pan with vinegar and a paper towel doesn't have any abrasives so it won't scratch the SS. Anything else use BKF with a 3M sponge will keep your SS in their current condition.

                                              2. re: tanuki soup

                                                Lol - it's funny, because I think of the scratches my platinum engagement ring has been gathering (and our wedding bands) as a beautiful "patina" (and was pleased when the rhodium wore off to expose that less white, less shiny natural gray color), but not so much with my pans. Thanks for reminding me about that. Hmm.

                                              3. Hey,
                                                My wife and I had a similar experience with our wedding flatware. I have had luck soaking everything in hot water with a bit of barkeepers friend. Wash with a sponge and then polish with a microfiber cloth. It might make everything a bit shinier. If you can still see the scratches, then you've accrued some wonderful wear and tear because you're an actual cook, not someone who buys cookware just for display.

                                                Also, low end cookware (the kind I also grew up with) actually stops working when it gets too scratched. That's not the case with the higher quality stuff. You can sear scallops just a beautifully on a scratched high-end pan as you can on a new one out of the box.

                                                I always breath a sigh of relief when I arrive at a dinner party and the host's pans have some dings on them. Makes me feel like I'm in a real kitchen. Real kitchens, real pans and real marriages are seldom shiny and bright all the time. But I'll take real over shiny almost all the time. I also like my heirloom tomatoes to have funky blemishes on them. : )

                                                Enjoy your cookware!

                                                9 Replies
                                                1. re: JeremyEG

                                                  Thank you for the tips about the flatware. It is funny to see that about 15 pieces out of the 45 piece set look like they've got several years of wear on them...I'll try polishing and see if I can get them a bit more consistent looking. I guess in a few years they'll all match!

                                                  The bit about the cookware makes me feel a LOT better. That was what I was worried about the most - that I had damaged this brand-new cookware - shame, shame, shame. Thanks for the reassurance.

                                                  I promise, I'm an actual home cook (in a food and nutrition internship, too!)...just one who is used to making do with sub-par and was frightened she had destroyed her above-par stuff right out of the gate. My heirlooms (when I had a garden) always had a few blemishes because I refused to use pesticides. Still delicious! I like your attitude. :-)

                                                  1. re: Orange_Blossom

                                                    Here's a trick you can use to keep all your flatware "wearing" consistently. I do this with our sterling (which we use daily) for the same purpose and also because the tarnishing process is slowed a bit by usage. I just hope I can describe this clearly enough without photos:

                                                    I'm assuming that you have some kind of flatware drawer with separate "compartments" for each type of utensil (knife, dinner fork, salad/dessert fork, soup spoon, teaspoon) - yes? And the individual utensils are placed within each compartment sitting on their backs? So that when you open the drawer and look at them you are seeing the "front" of the handles. Which is how 99.99% of people store their flatware, I am sure.

                                                    Well, in order to constantly "rotate" the use of each flatware piece, I place ours into their respective compartments on their SIDES, not their backs. The "front" of the utensil faces left, not upward. Hence, looking down into the open flatware drawer you see the side edges of the forks, spoons, etc, instead of their fronts. Trust me there is a method to this particular madness, LOL.

                                                    When we remove a utensil to use it, we always take the utensil at the farthest right of the "lineup" in the compartment. And when it get replaced into the drawer after washing, it goes "to the back of the line" at the farthest LEFT. This method results in the entire set being used continually in rotation and getting the same amount of daily wear-and-tear.

                                                    This probably sounds like a lot of fuss and bother when reading it but it actually does not take any longer to remove or replace a fork, spoon, or whatever from a compartment arranged this way than in the typical way. :-) Truly!

                                                      1. re: skyline

                                                        I do something similar with my long-term food stocks (dried foods, spices, cans, bottles, jars, etc.) -- when I get back from the store, the new stuff gets put in the back. When I take stuff out, I take it from the front. Same for things in the fridge. Same for my bath and kitchen towels.

                                                        1. re: tanuki soup

                                                          Whew, thank goodness I am not the only one. Not too long ago a friend saw me doing the same thing (she also got a glimpse of the cutlery drawer) and wanted to know if "being THAT organized" was symptom of OCD. (!) I said no, it's just being logical. ;-)

                                                          1. re: skyline

                                                            "...wanted to know if "being THAT organized" was symptom of OCD. (!) I said no, it's just being logical."

                                                            Well, I hate to tell you, but it's actually both. ;-)

                                                          2. re: tanuki soup

                                                            I just lift up the ones already there and put the freshly washed ones on the bottom.

                                                        2. re: Orange_Blossom

                                                          There is so much talk about feeling better. But, did you ever stop to think of looking around for a place that can polish stainless, or have your husband do it once a year? I've seen videos on YouTube where they use three different buffing pads on an electric buffing wheel (maybe try electric drill). Three different very fine polishing compounds are progressively used...medium, fine and super fine. Apparently you would only use one type of compound for each buffing pad to not contaminate a fine grit with a courser. They can get a mirror finish on pans, mufflers and knives. The polishing compounds are in a "bar of soap" form. It's probably how they made the pan so shiny when they made it. Get an electric drill or bench grinder/ buffer. It looks like an elecrtric shoe shine buffer. Get three pads and find the polishing compound online somewhere for stainless. Experiment on an old pan from a garage sale or thrift store. When you get it right then buff yours once a year until you wear through the pan after ten years or whatever.

                                                        3. re: JeremyEG

                                                          Thanks to a neighbor who owned a restaurant supply business, we started buying all-clad when it could only be bought by those in the trade. That was in 1972. We lived 5 miles from the factory. My two quart pot accompanied me through 11 years in the Army, used for pounding tent pegs and melting snow for coffee, as well as a host of other uses. It went on vacation to 27 different countries. It lasted longer than my marriage. The aluminum rivets were finally getting loose and I went back to the factory to have them replaced. They shipped me a brand new one instead. Nine years later, it is finally getting a little character, but the handle isn't rusted, and it is not as thick as my other original pots and pans. And it has only been to three countries.

                                                          And when you leave them on the stove too long or under the broiler till you have a carbonized mass that cannot be touched by a chisel, I recommend Easy Off oven cleaner. It only takes 10 to 12 months of daily use and cleaning for the carbon stains to fade away.

                                                          Wait until somebody uses a knife handle to loosen the lid of a jar. Then you will really have something to talk about.

                                                        4. There is NO way you can keep a mirror finish on a pan that's used no matter what you wash it with. .It's very pretty but totally impractical. Even the bone on a chop will scratch it as well and tossing clams or mussels in it.. A brushed interior finish hides some scratches but most will still show. Over time the interior will get more scratches and develop a beautiful patina. The only way to keep a mirror finish on the interior of a pot is to hang it on a pot rack and never use it. There will come a time when you can't use your plain sponge to clean it and you have to scour it and it will leave marks.

                                                          Don't stress yourself trying to keep an interior mirror finish. It's just about impossible if you really use your pans,

                                                          1. I agree with many of the replies here. My All Clad cookware is scratched, and I could care less about its look. They are tools, not display pieces. Usage will do that to cookware. C'est la vie. Course, I can not help wondering what one of our military in Afghanistan, figuring out how to stay alive, could think about this very heavy discussion about, as Seinfeld said, nothing.

                                                            3 Replies
                                                            1. re: trakman

                                                              .........your brain switched really fast.

                                                              1. re: trakman

                                                                Way to put things in perspective, me thinks

                                                                1. re: trakman

                                                                  So if you *could* care less, you care a little bit, right? ;o)

                                                                2. My stainless has scratches, too, and I
                                                                  never even thought it will I read your missive.
                                                                  It's one of life's inevitable sadnesses that
                                                                  Most things once used never, ever again
                                                                  look new. whether it's automobiies,shoes
                                                                  or space shuttles. It's normal and nothing to be
                                                                  concerned about.

                                                                  1. I have the Cuisinart Multiclad Pro Stainless as well and understand about the scratches. I use a nylon pad to get anything that is stuck on (of course, soaking helps, too) and then Bar Keeper's friend to maintain the shine. At first, I was a little bummed about the scratches but got over it. If my cookware is so loved & used that it has scratches, then I'm OK with it. I much prefer that to beautiful pots & pans that never leave the cupboard. Use the pans and then, at some point down the road, you can replace/upgrade them. Cuisinart Multiclad Pro Stainless is excellent stuff for the money and I have no regrets with getting this over the All Clad.

                                                                    1. Stainless Steel has to be the most frustrating cookware for me. No matter what I try, it scratches. Even BKF scratches it. Then I got some copper and it's even worse.

                                                                      There's no such thing as scratch free metal. I've just come to accept it.


                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: HalifaxJ

                                                                        I bought some new mirror finish stainless flatware last year. Even though I use a sponge with the softest possible scrubbing surface, it scratches. Oh, well. That's what happens. It looks well-loved.

                                                                        1. It is amazing to me that so many people who did not have a clue what they were talking about, still bothered to respond.

                                                                          I received my All-Clad from a family friend who owns a boutique kitchen store. I was lucky to also receive a lesson in how to care for them and a stainless steel scrubber in order to clean them with. She explains that as long as you have the same grade of stainless steel scrubber as the piece you are cleaning, they will not scratch each other.

                                                                          I have had my All-Clad for about 2 years now. I cook with them 2-3 times a day as I choose not to eat out for health reasons. Only recently did they start to lose a significant amount of shine on the outside. The insides, of course, have a dull luster from the many, many microscopic scratches made from cooking tools.

                                                                          The other advice she graced me with, was to use Barkeeper's Friend when I wanted to put a shine back on them again or to remove the tougher stains that accumulate (for me mostly on the frying pans). I intend to pick some up today to shine my pans for the first time.

                                                                          The bottom line is this: You can use a stainless steel scrubber to safely clean your stainless steel cookware without any significant scratching. And Barkeeper's Friend should polish any minor blemishes that do occur on your cookware.

                                                                          My opinion on the sentimental side of this discussion is this; I personally believe that it is good and normal to want your quality pans to look good too. I am not bothered by the imperfections that I cannot change, but my pans are still a reflection of me. They hang proudly in the center of my kitchen. I want them to look good on the outside, and well used on the inside. There is certainly nothing wrong with keeping them looking good.

                                                                          Congratulations on your success and your marriage!

                                                                          p.s. Save your silicone tools for your non-stick pans (if you have any) and try stainless steel ones. Same principle as the scrubber and will make cooking in your quality pans easier and thus more enjoyable.

                                                                          1. All-Clad has only 18/0 steel on the outside of their stainless line. It's to make it magnetic for induction. I believe it's 18/10 on the inside layer. 18/0 doesn't hold up as well as 18/10, and I believe is softer. It's a trade off so it could be used with induction.

                                                                            1. I feel so healthy after reading this thread! Everyone who's ever accused me of being a perfectionist (and granted, those accusations have been rare of late), I now know was so wrong--and I have evidence. If I ever hear it again, I can direct them right here (and to all my scratched stainless steel items bothering me not at all).

                                                                              *happy dance*

                                                                              1. In reference to the posts stating that the outside mirror finish on All Clad will eventually get scratched and/or get dull - I don't have that experience with mine. I've had my A/C for over 20 years and I'm an accomplished cook. The inside finish of my pots, sautes, stocks are well-scratched - and that's fine with me. The outside of those pans? Like new. I use Barkeepers Friend if the inside gets a bit dull with white splotches etc., but never had any problem with exterior finish changing. I might be mistaken, but I thought the outside finish was more durable on purpose because that's the "outside" everyone sees when they're hanging up?

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: breadchick

                                                                                  I don't hang mine up, actually. They are stuck inside cupboards. I WISH I had room for a big pot rack. :-(

                                                                                2. You have to season the pan with salt and oil. Metal/stainless pans have VERY porous surfaces. "But the pan looks so shiny". Look at the surface with even a cheap microscope and look at the rough surface. The oil and salt fills up the pores which means nothing can get into these pores.......like food. Season with Kosher salt and oil made into a slurry paste and spread it on the bottom and sides of the pan. Heat the pan to very hot to open the pores and allow the salt/oil to fill up the pores. Remove from the heat and allow to cool gradually. Do it again if you are serious. Then when you use the pan heat it to medium before adding any fat. Let the fat heat up before adding the food. Put it in the pan and leave it alone until it's reached the same temp as the pan. Then stir it if you need to. NEVER wash any seasoned pan with soap. The chemicals in the soap WILL dissolve the oil in the pores and then you can start over agin. Just warm water and a wipe out with paper towel.
                                                                                  The scratches on the pan mean nothing. Season the pans the way I've described and move on. If you are going to actually use these pots/pans even with the best intentions they'll be scratched within a year or so anyway.

                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: Puffin3

                                                                                    What's amazing is over time I've been able to pick up the most expensive stainless cookware at swap meets and garage sales for literally pennies. I have Fissier and All Clad. Just a little seasoning with salt and oil and I can cook with the best pots/pans made.

                                                                                    1. re: Puffin3

                                                                                      This is interesting, because one of my stainless pans came with instructions that cautioned against salt because it could cause pitting.

                                                                                      1. re: foiegras

                                                                                        Odd, same info here. I understand the s/s will pit unless salt is added at simmer to boil stage, or higher heat saute. (Which I always assumed was because the oil at the higher heat created a barrier to prevent the salted food coming in direct contact with the stainless resulting in pitting - just a guess.)

                                                                                    2. Found this Info for You...Hope it helps:

                                                                                      1 Apply a small amount of olive oil to a clean cloth.

                                                                                      2 Rub the olive oil into the scratches on the stainless steel flatware. Rub in the direction of the stainless steel grain. This will not remove the scratches but it will hide them as much as possible.

                                                                                      3 Gently rub the scratches with a non-metal abrasive pad if you can still see the scratches. Rub in long strokes, following the direction of the stainless steel grain. Apply uniform pressure to blend the scratch with the rest of the stainless steel.

                                                                                      4 Buff the stainless steel with a clean cloth.


                                                                                      1 Choose a commercial product suitable for use on stainless steel sinks such as Franke's Inox Cream or Bar Keepers Friend Liquid, and a fine 3M Scotch Brite pad. Cameo stainless steel cleaner is another product that can be used to remove scratches.

                                                                                      2 Clean and dry the sink before beginning your repair work. Rinse it well, then dry it with a soft, absorbent cloth or paper towels. This will give you a properly prepared surface in which to work and make it easier to see the scratch.

                                                                                      3 Make sure that you will have plenty of light in your work area. This will allow you to see the scratch as well as the grain of the sink, and to assess the progress of your work. If there are no suitable ceiling lights in the area, have an assistant shine a flashlight onto your work area.

                                                                                      4 Apply the cream or liquid you've chosen, and use the 3M pad to buff and blend the scratch. Always wipe with the grain or you might make the scratch more noticeable rather than removing it. Periodically stop, rinse and dry the work area, and check your work to ensure that the scratch is becoming less noticeable. You can stop once it blends in or disappears.

                                                                                      5 Thoroughly wash and dry the sink. Rinse it well, and rub it with a paper towel or clean, soft cloth as you spray the clean water. Dry it out to prevent the appearance of spots that are caused by the minerals and salts in tap water.

                                                                                      Tips & Warnings
                                                                                      Very deep scratches may require a more aggressive method. According to the Dollar Stretcher website, you can get a rubbing compound and very fine-grit wet sandpaper from an automotive store. Try the rubbing compound first. If it does not remove the scratches, wet the sandpaper and work on the scratch gently and slowly until it can no longer be seen. Then finish it off with the rubbing compound.

                                                                                      According to askthebuilder.com, you should never clean your stainless steel sink with steel wool pads. Use nylon or a synthetic material and a cleaning solution that is approved for use with stainless steel sinks.

                                                                                      1. I read this thread topic from 2011, and there is an observation to make.

                                                                                        Simply stated, metal objects get scratched, and in some cases dent with use. Note the photo above. It took 2 minutes to clean. Yet to some the pan cleaned would still not be acceptable. It does not look as it did when it way new.

                                                                                        Amazing but true, yet there are many in both Asia, Europe and North America that don't accept that fact.

                                                                                        " How do you keep your stainless ware so clean ? " You must use Bar Tender's Keeper powder, of Flitz paste everyday, yes ? "

                                                                                        No, I don't.

                                                                                        I wash it by hand or in a dish washer, dry it, and use a few drops of olive or sunflower oil on it, as mentioned here on CH. It covers water spots, heat rainbows, and scratches. That's all I need to do. Not daily scrub-baths of abrasive compounds. Yet it works fine, and there are scratches.

                                                                                        I run into the same attitude on travel luggage, as I fly frequently for my work.

                                                                                        " Oh, my lightweight aluminum luggage from Germany is no good. Look at all the dents and scratches. It wasn't like this when I bought it 5 years ago. And it's not guaranteed for life !!! "

                                                                                        But, does it still roll ? - Yes. Does it still lock ? - Yes. Does it still protect your packed items ? - Yes. It is the same frame of thinking. It must remain as new to be acceptable.


                                                                                        You have probably heard of " Role models, versus Goal models.

                                                                                        I call this " Catalogue Life " or " Living in a Catalogue. "
                                                                                        Or, that's the way we first saw it in a magazine or catalogue, and it must remain that way forever. And some have expectations that certain objects, even stainless steel looking brand new, despite one scratch, or normal aging and use. Either you are not cooking, or using it. And that is not a reality in an active kitchen.

                                                                                        I say use such items as as best you can, as intended, and expect to have dents, scratches, and aging, just don't abuse them.

                                                                                        Your kitchen and everything in it, does not have to look like a store display.

                                                                                        Knock the pots and pans around a bit cooking. Simply oil the scratches, which will happen, after cleaning.

                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: SWISSAIRE

                                                                                          Reading this, I can't help but wonder how people who feel this way (must be perfect) about pans and luggage feel when they look in the mirror after 5, 10, 15, 20 (eek!) years. I guess Botox is Barkeeper's Friend for the mirror.

                                                                                          1. re: foiegras

                                                                                            Excellent analogy !

                                                                                            Another good reason to keep the pots and pans scratched: Can't use them as mirrors when you age.

                                                                                            1. re: SWISSAIRE

                                                                                              Why do you think all my pans are brushed stainless?

                                                                                          2. re: SWISSAIRE

                                                                                            I'm at the opposite end of the spectrum from Orange Blossom - I'm a senior citizen who catapulted from self-employed, prosperous entrepreneur (who could once afford to buy the best cookware/utensils in existence) to struggling retiree on fixed income (became partially disabled due to a freak accident).

                                                                                            Have owned an All Clad Wok for approx. 35 years, and have been persecuting myself since day one - used plastic and wood utensils and was careful, but it got scratched up. Guess I finally forgave myself and focused on the many fabulous stir fry meals I created from that "best wok on the planet" (cost $170 way back when).

                                                                                            Got sick of wasting money on all those "no stick" fry pans that work for a few weeks, then everything sticks - and I mean EVERYTHING - can't even fry a decent egg in one. So, a couple weeks ago, when I rcvd the Bloomingdale's Home Sale catalog showing an All Clad 10" saute pan with lid at $229 marked down to $99, I jumped on it. Got it a few days ago. Christened it with an Asian stir fry (don't need a big wok for a small meal); followed that with home fries/eggs; then tonite, homemade Italian tomato sauce with turkey meatballs.

                                                                                            After the first use, I, dumbbell that I am, through force of habit, grabbed the Dobey pad and began scrubbin' ( this was even after I'd thoroughly read the care instruction brochure, which recommended a nylon pad, and had resolved that the new pan would remain in mint condition till I die). Well, after cleaning it up, there were circles of scratches (art imitates life). After second meal, used a sponge to clean, but more scratches and some discoloration appeared. Called the manufacturer - as advised, will get the Bar Keeper's Friend, buy a nylon pad, and keep the cooking temp on medium/low.

                                                                                            Have really enjoyed reading all these entries - I feel reassured that I'm not a total, neurotic moron just because my new pan is scratched. $100 is big time money for me now, so the pan was a splurge. Tx folks for letting me know the scratches are unavoidable and normal and won't impede its functionality. I'll clean it up best I can and continue to give thanks that I'm standing, breathing, living and can still cook a great meal with my gorgeous All Clad (this thread was more therapeutic than a shrink, with lots of laughs to boot) (:

                                                                                          3. Think of the scratches as the beginning of patina.

                                                                                            1. NEVER trust a person who claims to be a cook whose pans and pots are not battle scarred.

                                                                                              6 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: law_doc89

                                                                                                Hear, hear.


                                                                                                1.) What is that kitchen tool ? " - " I don't know. "
                                                                                                2.) What is it good for ? - " Beats me. "
                                                                                                3.) How good is that appliance ? - " Never used it. "
                                                                                                4.) So (looking around the kitchen), what are we having for Supper tonight ? - " McDonalds. "

                                                                                                1. re: SWISSAIRE

                                                                                                  5) What are you making for dinner? "Reservations."

                                                                                                  1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                    An interesting question.
                                                                                                    Not sure yet, as it is only 10:00 in the morning here.

                                                                                                    Probably Béroche, our version of stuffed cabbage.

                                                                                                    Nothing elegant, but it will ...............wait for it .................. be cooked in my stainless steel pan.

                                                                                                    Clean but after decades, no reflection.

                                                                                                    1. re: SWISSAIRE

                                                                                                      Jewish version is called Prakas (my Grandparents brought the recipe from Ukraine) - was a specialty at their Philadelphia, Pa. restaurant during the Great Depression. Consists of ground beef mixed with egg and cooked rice; simple seasons, garlic if you like, salt and pepper, chopped green pepper and onions; wrapped in cooked cabbage leaves, and simmered in a sweet and sour tomato sauce - my favorite when growing up !! Can even cook these in crockpot - so easy !

                                                                                                    2. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                      I will save you a little trouble:


                                                                                                      800g White Cabbage leaves
                                                                                                      150g Veal, minced
                                                                                                      150g Pork, mined
                                                                                                      80g Breadcrumbs (leftover from Sunday’s baking)
                                                                                                      180g Ham, smoked
                                                                                                      2 Egg yolks
                                                                                                      60g Shallots, chopped
                                                                                                      Bouquet garni
                                                                                                      500ml Beef Stock
                                                                                                      1 Calves foot (pre-cooked)
                                                                                                      Salt & Pepper

                                                                                                      1. Blanch the leaves.
                                                                                                      2. Mix everything with the breadcrumbs. Makes about 6 rolls.
                                                                                                      3. Braise in beef stock for 60 minutes, with the Calves’ foot.
                                                                                                      4. Serve with salad and a glass of Neuchatel Pinot Noir. Or two.

                                                                                                      Not available at McDonalds.

                                                                                                      1. re: SWISSAIRE

                                                                                                        Isn't it easier to make reservations? :-)

                                                                                                2. Learn how to use SS in frying etc. The scratches may bother you but they will not any difference to how the pans preform.
                                                                                                  SS must be seasoned regularly.
                                                                                                  Lots of info on this on Goggle.

                                                                                                  1. Just keep using the pan. If it's a good one, it should last a couple of decades and get a few more scratches along the way. But you will look on it fondly in later years, and remember that first apartment and those early adventures in cooking for your family.

                                                                                                    If a pan is good and solid, sits evenly on the cooktop, and has a firmly attached handle or two, it's a good tool. Keeping it pretty and unscathed is not essential, and probably not even possible.

                                                                                                    As for the flatware, a shiny surface is hard to maintain. Eventually every piece will be scratched a little. And maybe a couple of spoons will disappear. (Or when your kid comes home from college, a couple of place settings will go back to the dorm with him/her.)

                                                                                                    It's called life. It's an adventure that is never quite perfect, but always interesting.

                                                                                                    1. Kitchen tools and utensils are made to be used and abused. With that, there will be scratches and whatnot. About the only thing that will end all is heating too high or putting a hot pan in cold water, warping a pan into a "spinner," or dropping a cast iron pan and breaking the handle or loosening rivets on a stainless pan.

                                                                                                      I actually like the used look. I enjoy looking at restaurant flatware because it goes through the ringer on a daily basis and you can tell, even with the shiny high nickel ones.

                                                                                                      It wouldn't phase me one bit if my stainless cookware or flatware got scratched, even if I had pricey All-Clad pots/pans, or Oneida flatware, with high nickel content.

                                                                                                      I do have a fair amount of Oneida 18/10 stainless steel cooking utensils, each costing about $7 each. 7 dollars adds up, so I prize them with my blue collar wallet. Anyways, they have a few scratches and more keep coming -- I don't care one bit. I actually used the small slotted turner the other day to scrape gritty mud off my boots outside after digging some flower beds and tree rings. And when I spend $200 on some Oneida flatware someday, I still won't care about scratches.

                                                                                                      When rivets come loose and forks get bent, is the time to "go insane." Even a dent would be heartbreaking but not the end of the world. My low mileage '77 Ford F-150 recently got a huge dent on top of the bed on the outside corner, causing a bit of a bulge on the side sheet metal -- Oh well, it's a bit rusty anyways and used to haul stuff whether it be chunks of concrete, logs or 4" river rock. Now, when I restore it someday, well, that's a different story.

                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                      1. re: Muddirtt

                                                                                                        We use the British sterling silver flatware set my mother was given by her mother for a wedding gift in 1937. We use it every day. It's got a millions of little scratches and dents. "All the better to eat with you" I say.
                                                                                                        Forget about the 'look' completely. Move on.
                                                                                                        My MIL has all kinds of 'special' pieces of flat ware and dishes in her china cabinet which she inherited. She won't even use any of them for Christmas dinner at her house.
                                                                                                        As much as she is loved the minute any of those items is inherited by my wife they are going in the every day cutlery drawer and on the daily use dish shelves.