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Oct 8, 2012 10:37 PM

Gray Calphalon losing its color

We have a small Calphalon saucepan...many years old...and its gray color is wearing off, mostly on outside bottom and sides...maybe this was from being washed in the dishwasher? I figured it could stand up to that, but maybe not. The color exposed is like regular aluminum.

And, if the gray color goes away on the inside of the pan, do you think it is still safe to use?


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  1. <a small Calphalon saucepan>

    Do you know the series? Calphalon Professional? Calphalon Infused One? Calphalon *XYZ*?

    <maybe this was from being washed in the dishwasher?>

    A lot of Calphalon cookware should not be washed with a dishwasher. The stainless steel ones are alright, but yours are almost certainly the hard anodized ones with or without nonstick surface, and these should not be put in dishwashers. The new Calphalon Unison, however, is considered dishwasher safe.

    <The color exposed is like regular aluminum.>

    Yeah. This sounds about right.

    <And, if the gray color goes away on the inside of the pan, do you think it is still safe to use?>

    It is safe to use, but let's not get to that point. It is complicated and troublesome when it reaches that point. Again, it is safe, but if you can, try to avoid using the dishwasher from now.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

      I do want to add a point that the anodized surface will eventually come off over time as Delucacheesemonger and Yellowshirt have said. The dishwasher will speed up this process however.

    2. Had an original Calphalon large saucepan/saucier that eventually lost all the interior coating on bottom and bottom sides, figure l ingested the material and that is why my memory is going south. l ditched the pot. Wish l had read Chemicalkinetics opinion first. Never was put in dishwasher.

      1. My original hard adonized Calphalon is pushing 25 years old....the adonized coating is wearing off inside some of the pots
        Never been in the dishwasher.

        The adonized coating will eventually wear off leaving you with the base aluminum exposed.

        The pots are still going strong...good heavy duty material that will most likely outlast me :)

        NOTHING wrong with using aluminum pots....they are quite safe and widely used in the food service industry...years ago there was some nonsense about aluminium being unsafe and links to Alzheimers....there is no cause and effect
        Amazing how some old wives tales continue to be perpetuated

        1. Hi, comestible:

          The gray color is anodizing, which is an electrochemically-enhanced layer of aluminum oxide. All aluminum pans naturally form a layer of aluminum oxide, but pans like yours are anodized because that process makes the layer much thicker and harder than that which forms naturally.

          Your pan's anodized layer is wearing through is all. Yes, DWing was not the best idea, but it doesn't affect performance or safety. You now just have a good pan with character.


          1. Thanks to all of you for your posts. I guess I will keep using the pot, given the information you have provided. After all, I have other pans that were originally bright aluminum and never thought twice about using those. I assume you're saying that any of the interior oxide layer that wears away is not a problem if it gets into the food?.

            3 Replies
            1. re: comestible

              <I assume you're saying that any of the interior oxide layer that wears away is not a problem if it gets into the food?>

              No, not a major problem. Obviously, it does not mean you should eat aluminum intentionally. Everything has a toxicity dose. In large enough quantity (or short enough duration), even relatively nontoxic material can be toxic. Take table salt for example. In small quality salt is not toxic, at high dose it is.

              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                If you use antiperspirant you get far more aluminum in your body than cooking with aluminium cookware....that is a fact

                Your pots are fine...simple

              2. re: comestible

                Hi, comestible:

                You're safe. Aluminum is the 3rd-most abundant element within the earth's crust, and consists of aluminum oxides (your anodizing) and aluminum silicates. *Because* it oxidizes, it is generally believed that there is no naturally free metallic aluminum anywhere on earth--it's a completely man-made metal, that did not exist prior to 1825. From then until the 1880s (when it first became economically feasible to refine into metallic form), it was the most precious metal known to man. In 1880, the largest piece of aluminum ever cast (100 ounces!) was used as the capstone for the Washington Monument.

                Most of our foods contain a good bit of aluminum, in the oxide or sulphate forms, ranging from 10 µg/100g of milk and chicken breasts, 970 µg/100g in spinach, and up to 27,000 µg/100g in mussels. See,

                As yellowshirt observes, if you use deodorant, you're getting a lot more than you got out of your Calphalon. Ditto for antacids.