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Jan 2, 2013 01:48 PM

boiling water with clad stainless pans

happy new year everyone,
so, i'm buying new cookware lately, switching to stainless from aluminum. i bought a cuisenart pan with the triply base, boiled some potatoes on medium to high heat to make mashed potatoes. after i'm done, i have dark grey spots that i cant remove with anything, bkf and plastic scrub pads. then i went and got a calphalon triply pan, again it left white marks on the bottom that i cant remove after trying to make pasta. am i setting the heat too high? how can i boil water without ruining a pan? should i try to find a cast iron sauce pan for making these types of foods?
thank you for all of your time

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  1. <it left white marks on the bottom that i cant remove after trying to make pasta. am i setting the heat too high?>

    Are the marks feel chalky to you? Usually speaking, a white chalky residue is not necessary an indication of overheating, but an indication of hard water (water with a lot of minerals). Bar Keeper's Friend should work. If not, try to make a solution of Bar Keeper's Friend (mix well), bring it to a very light boil, turn off the heat, let the warm solution sit in the pan for 5-10 minutes. Now, brush and wipe the pan as you drain the pan. You can do the same for white vinegar.

    Does this only happen for potatoes? Or anything?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

      +1 for Bar Keeper's Friend. It's recommended for my All Clad and it removes those pesky white marks and oil stains from my pans. Just take a damp sponge and make a paste of it, and your pans will be sparkling new.

    2. Hey, Tom:

      You salting your water?


      1. Tramontina says not to use more than medium heat. This is from their site:

        Cook or boil using low to medium heat only. Tri-ply clad cookware construction requires only low to medium heat to sauté, fry or cook most foods.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Remander

          So, how long does it take to get a pot of water for pasta to boil at low to medium heat? I'm fairly old and I don't have that much time left to waste it waiting for water to boil. Now for the sauté or fry, I can understand medium is all that is needed, but not for boiling.

          To comment on the white spots, they could be calcium deposits from hard water as Chem suggested. If they are, vinegar is a mild acid and should disolve the calcium. Remember from when you were in grade school and put a hard boiled egg in vinegar and eventually the shell became soft, same thing.

          1. re: mikie

            I think they could be hard water too, I've had what seems to be the same thing happen. I've read that you can boil vinegar, lemi-shine or the like to remove the stains. Your pots aren't ruined and will still work fine.

            As for the medium/low heat I think that's more for the skillets. Water won't even boil on those settings, at least not on my stove. It should be fine to turn the heat higher to boil things.

            1. re: mikie

              <Remember from when you were in grade school and put a hard boiled egg in vinegar and eventually the shell became soft, same thing.>

              Or when the Alien's blood dissolved the spaceship deck floor. :)

              1. re: mikie

                Maybe you don't need to boil that much water for pasta! : )


                Sorry to change the subject, sort of.

                1. re: mikie

                  I use all temp settings with my triply. Even high sometimes

              2. The Tramontina site also says: Prolonged exposure to high heat settings may cause your cookware to discolor. To recondition your cookware or to remove stubborn spots or stains, use a nonabrasive pad and a quality stainless steel cleanser such as Bar Keepers Friend®.

                4 Replies
                1. re: Remander

                  hi guys,
                  wow, thanks for all the replies.
                  Kaleo, yes, i'm salting the water, is that bad?
                  yes, i've tried the bar keeper friend, i will try it again tomorrow with some vinegar again, and try to make a paste.
                  i'm living in central nj now, close to new york, i dont think we have hard water, its a suburban neighborhood, i dont know how i could find out.
                  i should have taken a picture of the cuisenart grey spots to upload here, but i threw that pan out. not sure if the white spot will show up in a photo.

                  1. re: texastom

                    <i'm salting the water, is that bad?>

                    Salt is not bad. The question is that adding salt (without dissolve) can lead to pitting in a stainless steel pan, but it does not read like you have a pitting problem. You did say they are white spots on your Calphalon, right? If it is pitting, you will notice indentations or holes, and they are usually darker color than the stainless steel shiny color.

                    <yes, i've tried the bar keeper friend>

                    Yes, but you may have a fairly bad mineral build up and will require more reaction time -- just rinsing in Bar Keeper's Friend alone may not be enough. In which case, I would either let the Bar Keeper's Friend solution sit for hours in the pot or heat up the Bar Keeper's Friend solution and then let it cool down.

                    <i will try it again tomorrow with some vinegar again,>

                    If you use white vinegar from supermarkets, the you don't have to dilute it. Just use straight white vinegar. Again, either let it sits for hours or brings it up to a boil and then let it cools down. Another poster had a similar problem as yours, and the problem was solved by using vinegar.


                    <and try to make a paste>

                    You do NOT need to make a paste of vinegar and Bar Keeper's Friend.

                    1. re: texastom

                      Hi, Tom:

                      Yes, salt can be bad if the undissolved crystals are allowed to sit at the bottom of the pan for any length of time. You *did* say there were "dark grey spots", didn't you?

                      This underappreciated phenomenon trips up a lot of folks. SS has a reputation if being invincible/indestructible, when in fact it's not. There are many who are shocked to learn not only that this happens, but that top-flight makers, e.g., Falk, have no sympathy or mercy about it.

                      Just remember to pitch and stir your salt *after* your water comes to a boil.

                      You would likely know if you have hard water. Hair, skin and laundry not getting clean? Piles of empty salt bags and a mysterious contraption in the garage or basement? If not, you probably don't have hard water.

                      Good Luck,

                      1. re: kaleokahu

                        RE: water hardness: If the water is coming from a local utility, just call them and ask. If it's from a well (I don't think so based on what the OP said) go to your county environmental office -- they will give you a testing kit so you can get a sample and take it back to them to have it tested, although this may involve a fee.

                  2. CermaClean, used for glass cook tops will work.
                    No abrasive and contains citric acid for cleaning. I would not let it sit for any length of time due to a possible staining action.