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Oct 31, 2012 05:59 AM

I've roasted on a rack in my aluminum sheet pan...and now the pan is stained and sticky: cleaning suggestions?

The title says it all. I've ruined one pan by washing it with Bar Keepers Friend. It turned all dull and dark gunmetal grey and rough.

Is there a similar "miracle cleaner" that's ok for aluminum?

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  1. Supposedly, Dawn Power Dissolve is safe for aluminum. When roasting on aluminum, I have always place some water in the pan to prevent burn in of drippings.

    1. Turning sticky is not a good thing. I would just scrub it off. However, I won't worry about it too much about the gray and dull color. It is actually NOT a bad thing what it turned dull and gray. For iron based materials (like steel or cast iron), oxidation is often in the form of rust. In short, rust is unstable, and will subsequently fall off from the rest of the metal. Aluminum oxide, on the other hand, is physically and chemical stable. So having a layer of aluminum oxide on your aluminum pan is not a bad thing. Yes, it may look old, but it is good.

      1. You might be able to restore your "ruined" pan by soaking it in white vinegar for a few days.

        1 Reply
        1. re: GH1618

          I have a feeling that it will make it more dull and gray. It reminds me of forced patina.

        2. The sticky residue can be taken off with an application of WD-40 in copious amounts. Spray on, let it set, and use a hard plastic scraper on the stuff. Barkeeper's Friend used as a followup will restore the pan afterwards

          4 Replies
          1. re: rexster314

            I'm not sure I'd be comfy about using WD40 on a surface I'd later put food on, but that might be me being stupidly squeamish.

            1. re: pinehurst

              My gut agrees with your sentiment, but the thought that immediately came to mind is, "do you ever get anything like WD-40 on your hands?" As I ponder this, I wonder how many of us will allow all kinds of things to touch our hands (which we use to prepare and eat our food), but would never, ever, let the same things touch our cookware. Surely our hands are more porous and have many more nooks and crannies than just about any metal cookware! Plus, I'd imagine that any metal cookware has had much more caustic and dangerous chemicals in contact with it in the manufacturing process. Maybe we overthink the whole thing. (I'm just musing here.)

              1. re: jljohn

                There can also be transdermal absorption. I would still be hesitant to apply it to cookware.

            2. re: rexster314

              Just use any regular cooking oil will do.

            3. I've had good luck with some of the citrus based cleaners.