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Just got carbon steel pan, didn't expect black spots

I just got De Buyer Carbone Plus pan. It looked nice and all shining.

I just thoroughly cleaned it under steaming hot water. Now from nowhere there is a ton of black spots everywhere.

Is this normal? Tried to clean it with a bit abrasive sponge but it is pretty much impossible to get it off.

This is my first time going with carbon steel. I looked at a couple articles on seasoning of carbon steel but there is no mentioning of the black spots.

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  1. <I just thoroughly cleaned it under steaming hot water. Now from nowhere there is a ton of black spots everywhere.>

    Look like oxidation from the water droplets. You can think of them as light rusting.

    11 Replies
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

      A bit tired from work. I re-read the instructions, it says very hot water. I guess steaming hot is a bit overkill. Would prefer if they specified the temperature.

      Is it safe to start the seasoning process? Or should I somehow deal with the spots?

      I've been thinking to follow this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xoIO8Y...

      Thanks for any pointers.

      1. re: avrecko

        The temperature of the water is unimportant. Hotter is better. But when you clean an iron or steel pan with water, you should first wipe it dry with a paper towel, then apply a little heat to the pan to dry it quickly and thoroughly.

        1. re: GH1618

          Got it. The pan was in the car for a long time (it is winter). I had it indoors for about 40 minutes. It was dry but slightly cold.

          Maybe I should have left it alone to warm up to room temperature.

          1. re: avrecko

            The dark spots do not look that bad to me. If they are rust spots, then you should deal with them. Otherwise, any seasoning building on top of rust will be unstable. As of now, it is optional. If you want to remove them, then try to use Bar Keeper Friend's solution or white distilled vinegar. Once they are removed, *quickly* wipe the pan dry and then apply a very light layer of oil. This will prevent oxidation and rusting.

            As for seasoning, there are tons and tons of different methods, they all work, some better than others. I have the pleasure to try most of the seasoning methods. DeBuyer also has its own seasoning video.


            The video you got is very good. I personally prefer the Vollrath method a bit better, but I don't think you *need" flaxseed oil, most oils will work. Good luck.

            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

              After looking them in the sunlight they definitely look brown. Definitely oxidation like you mention in the first reply.

              I'd like to use the vinegar method. All of the articles I found are dealing with super heavy rust. Some say 50:50 ratio water to vinegar. Some say 1/2 cup of vinegar some say 100% vinegar. Nobody mentions what % acidity should the vinegar have.


              1. re: avrecko

                Just use 100% vinegar. The vinegar you buy from supermarkets is about 5% in acetic acid. It isn't that strong.

                  1. re: paulj

                    Sorry. I wrote too fast again. Thanks for the correction.

                    Let's do this again.

                    Most of the white distilled vinegar we buy from supermarket has about 5% acetic acid. This is fairly weak. So what I wanted to suggest to avrecko is to simply use the distilled vinegar as it is without any dilution.

                    In other words, in my mind, 100% vinegar is not 100% acetic acid, but only 5% acetic acid.

                    Now if anyone really want to buy glacial acetic acid (water free), then you will probably have to get it from chemical stores. I am not sure if anyone can get it.

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      Ok, I'll go with 100% vinegar 0% water. I understood you the first time. ;)

                      For how long should I soak the pan?

                      I only have organic vinegar it has "stuff" floating in it. Should I go with the "regular" stuff?

                      1. re: avrecko

                        You don't need to soak it -- in this case. I would just try to dip some distilled white vinegar onto a paper towel, and then use the paper towel to rub against the spot until they are gone. If you have Bar Keeper's Friend, then you can dissolve some Bar Keeper's Friend in water and then do the same thing. Bar Keeper's Friend is a bit stronger and more effective. The soaking method works better for stainless steel.

                      2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        I think you were clear the first time.

      2. My de Buyer Mineral pan is supposed to turn black over time. I don't suppose a Carbone Plus pan would be much different.

        1. Don't worry about them. This is a tool, not wall hanging.

          1. Like paulj said,I wouldn't worry about it.After it's properly seasoned and well used it will look like this anyway..

            2 Replies
            1. re: petek

              :) Showing off. By the way, what is your dish? I see a lot of onion. Is there beef too?

              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                Showing off..who me?? :) kinda I guess.
                Only photo I have of my carbon pan,I just happened to be caramelizing some onions that day..

            2. gonna get black before you know it. these will blend in

              1. My carbon steel pans look like recycled Army material at this point, and they cook wonderfully. They discolor with use, and the only thing to worry about is avoiding rust, so make sure they are dry and stay dry.

                1. Back to Avrecko's question...By all means start seasoning it so you can use it. I like the flaxseed oil seasoning technique in the oven. Our friend Chemicalkinetics likes the stove top method. Find which works best for you, and do it. Just know that your shiny pan will eventually become black and dull with plenty of "patina". Petek has a good picture of what to expect. Let's just say that a well seasoned carbon steel pan has a lot of "wabi"...no pun intended.

                  These pans are built to be work horses. Black and nasty means they are well seasoned. The DeBuyer carbon steel pans have become the go to pans for everything but frying eggs in my kitchen.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: wabi

                    <The DeBuyer carbon steel pans have become the go to pans for everything but frying eggs in my kitchen.>

                    No matter what I do,eggs still stick to my deBuyer pans.
                    I have a dedicated non stick for eggs only,I use the carbon steel for everything else.

                    1. re: petek

                      Agree with wabi and petek.

                      I like carbon steel pans just as much as anyone here. I can get the eggs stickless to my carbon steel pan at a certain temperature range with sufficient amount of oil. However, my carbon steel pan is not going to as nonstick as a true Teflon nonstick pan which is nonstick at any temperature with little to *no* oil.

                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        Imho the no-oil thing is bullshit. There are many health benefits of "healthy" oils.


                        ...the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats found in olive oil and other vegetable oils, nuts, whole grains, other plant products, and fish -- are good for your heart....

                        Hydrogenated oils are the ones that are bad for your health.

                        There is nothing bad in doing your eggs with lots of cold-pressed, non-refined, non-hydrogenated oils.

                        Ghee, Butter (High fat 80%+), Coconut Oil, EVOO...etc. So many healthy options and yet people go with little to no-oil. WTF!!??

                        1. re: avrecko

                          I don't really mean people such cook with "no cook". At least, not most people. What I mean is that Teflon is so ridiculously nonstick at it remains nonstick even without a trace of oil.

                          Are you able to partially remove the spots? You may not able to completely remove them, but they should be partially removed, and you should able to season and cook. Good luck.

                          P.S.: I see your answer below. Thanks.

                        2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                          Awww, but that little pat of buttah makes those eggs just slide around the pan. My 10 inch Carbonne skillet is my go-to pan for all kinds of eggs. Actually, I never ate eggs until getting the pan! I had to keep making eggs for my husband, the corgis, and my daughter because I loved the pan so much and it was so much fun. Scrambled, omelettes, small fritattas.

                          1. re: breadchick

                            <Actually, I never ate eggs until getting the pan!>

                            Never? You never ate eggs or you never cooked eggs? I will be very surprised that you had never eaten eggs until then.

                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                              With the exception of deviled eggs, or egg salad - no, I never ate eggs cooked in a skillet. I would cook them for others, but never was interested in the eggs prior to buying the c/s.

                              Something about the the pan makes the eggs so pretty that I finally gave them a go. I honestly think they taste different cooked in c/s. ;-)

                    2. Thanks guys for the tips! Really appreciate it.

                      Wow, what an experience. The pan has spirit. It is amazing to see how the surface reacts so quickly to stuff.

                      I used organic Apple Vinegar 5% and wow a rainbow of colors. Now I used regular White Vinegar 9% and it cleans much much better.

                      I also did the first flaxseed oil coating using stovetop method. I now see the added value of the oven method - you can also treat the bottom. But I'll still go with the stovetop.

                      I totally botched the first coating. Now I cleaned it and going for 2nd try.

                      Flaxseed works great, I only managed to have a small spot with super thin layer. That layers is like rubber to the touch but the rest is thicker and is like a glue on touch. Definitely you need to be precise other-wize it is useless. Amazed on how resistant the coating is when cleaning it.

                      I also am using now medical gauze instead of paper cloth much much better for distributing the oil.

                      Definitely worth the investment in time and money.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: avrecko

                        <That layers is like rubber to the touch but the rest is thicker and is like a glue on touch.>

                        Ok, if it feels like glue to touch, then it is too thick and it is not completely seasoned. Are you using the oven or the stovetop method? Either way, try to heat the pan up again and season it without any additional oil (or very very little oil).

                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                          Yeah, I've completely removed the coating. Now I am going again.

                          1. re: avrecko

                            <Yeah, I've completely removed the coating. Now I am going again.>

                            Oh I didn't read carefully. Sorry. The most common error is to use too much oil for the oven method. It is usually less of a problem for the stovetop method. Good luck.

                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                              Thanks. What I really like about this cookware is that if you screw up you can try again at the cost of cleaning it completely.