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Problems with cleaning a SS pan set

I purchased a set of SS pans, and I followed the directions outlined in this video to season them:


The technique worked well, and during cooking I had nary a problem. BUT, the bottoms of my pans stained a brownish color, I assume, from high heat (see the pic).

I am currently soaking the pans in Palmolive to try to remove the discoloration and re-season the pans as necessary.

Is this discoloration due to using too high of a heat? I was at setting 2 out of ten on my range! At setting 3, the coconut oil I used was smoking!

Will any oil do in terms of seasoning a SS pan? I initially did it with extra virgin olive oil, but may try it with the coconut oil once the stains are gone.

Normally, stains wouldn't bug me, But I live in an apartment with little storage space, so the pans reside on an open shelf that guests walk by often.


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  1. You don't need to season stainless steel. I use stainless all the time, and I've never seasoned it. Why would you?

    If you want a non stick surface for a frypan or skillet, purchase a non stick or carbon steel pan. You would season carbon steel or cast iron. But stainless?

    A stainless frypan is not going to give you a slick surface when heated, but it is usable for frying or sauteeing. You have to learn to manipulate the heat.

    What brand/line of pans did you buy?

    1. I have found the stainless steel curly scrubber does an amazing job on the inside and outside of SS pans--a lifesaver since I found them.

      12 Replies
      1. re: escondido123

        would this mess up the pans? I'm so paranoid about messing up my all clads :$

        1. re: darrentran87

          That is much coarser than I would use on my AC.

          Also, many of those plastic pads are actually MORE abrasive than fine steel wool. If I have a hard to clean spot in one of my SS pans, I use a Brillo/SOS which is very wet and I add dish detergent as a further lubricant. Light touch to start so you can figure out how much your SS can take.

          1. re: hambone

            Soak in hot water and baking soda, then use Barkeeper's Friend. Finish with Brillo as a last resort, it has a finer grade of steel wool than SOS. I think the brown & yellow stains will come out, but the darkening of the SS is probably due to high heat. I notice that my stockpot has a blueish cast on the bottom inch or two from turning the burner on high for boiling water.

          2. re: darrentran87

            Using a stainless steel scrubber like the one in the picture will definitely scratch your pan. I'm not sure if surface scratches count as "messing up."

            1. re: taos

              I don't find that it scratches them in any way that is noticeable. Just get them nice and clean with little effort.

              1. re: escondido123

                My experience is that this depends on the original cookware finish. If the original cookware has a rough or semi rough finish, then you don't notice anything. However, if the original cookware has a polished mirror finish, then you will notice the scratches.

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  Also, if your cookware is about 12 years old, it won't matter because all the scratches from those years of use blend together nicely, giving the pan a weirdly brushed appearance.

                  Who am I kidding? I've used SOS on my pans when the occasion called for something industrial.

                  1. re: DuffyH

                    Kinda like I read about the French attitude towards stains on marble - it's just a memory :)

                  2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    Mine is not old. If I had burned oil to the point of brown on the metal I would be able to get if off with the scrubby in seconds. The idea that soaking it in Palmolive will do the trick--hope you have years to wait.

            2. re: escondido123

              Barkeep's Friend. This is what Williams Sonoma uses on their All-Clad that they use for demonstrations. That plus the kind of stainless steel curly scrubber shown by secondido123. I have bought used and abused all-Clad at the flea market and completely restored them using these two products.

              I would caution against using steel wool. Brillo or SOS. Of course these products should only be used with rubber gloves, but they are not allowed in our kitchen because of the danger they present in terms of tiny, broken pieces of metal that can become imbedded in your hands. (signed, ex-hand surgery survivor).

              1. re: mangeur

                I use Barkeep's Friend on my All-Clad, too. Works wonders, and is not too abrasive on the surface. Quick soak in the sink, sprinkle of BF, and quick scrub is all that is needed.

                1. re: jeanmarieok

                  Thanks to all who recommended Bar Keeper's Friend. I bought some after work and it decimated the stains in seconds!

            3. Barkeeps Friend is another cleaning product that works well on SS to remove oil residue. As does an SOS pad for the SS portion only (not for copper-clad portions).

              I've cooked with stainless steel for many years and never "seasoned" them.

              5 Replies
                1. re: MidwesternerTT

                  In addition to Bar Keeper's Friend, I have Bon Ami on my counter. Bar Keeper's Friend works by chemical reaction with anything on the steel; Bon Ami is a (very mild) abrasive. The combination of the two, along with OxyClean (another chemical reactor) I've been able to solve any cleaning problems that have come up, including discoloration on the bottoms.

                  1. re: nokitchen

                    For my money a bit of Oxyclean powder and hot water soaking is better than both. I would never use the coiled scrubber on the outside of my shiny SS pans.

                  2. re: MidwesternerTT

                    Another person I know recommended Barkeeper's Friend. I'll check into that. Thanks!

                    1. re: J_Tay81

                      Bar Keeper's Friend is acidic. It may not work. If not, then use something basic to remove the oil residue -- like ammonia.

                  3. Yes, never try to season stainless steel--it doesn't work.

                    I agree with the other poster--Bar Keepers and steel wool to remove that mess.

                    1. I will answer in two different angles, but both are informative.

                      1) As others have noticed, it is not worthwhile to season a stainless steel. The main reason is that the seasoning layer does not attach well to stainless steel surface

                      2) The seasoning layer is the brown/black color. Therefore, it is counter-productive to "season the cookware, then remove the seasoning layer".

                      20 Replies
                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        Thanks for your reply. It's frustrating that there are two opposing view points on seasoning SS. I knew people did this to cast iron but SS was news to me so I thought I would try it.

                        1. re: J_Tay81

                          Hi, J:

                          Yes, there *are* two opposing views on seasoning SS (Vollrath is in my camp). I for one think it helps, but it's different from seasoning carbon steel or cast iron, and *definitely* doesn't look like what's shown in your photo.

                          I think your mistake was taking your oil past the smoke point. And maybe another was using EVOO. You now need to scour out the pan completely to start.

                          Try this using any high smoke-point oil: Preheat the pan to the point you can't hold your hand on it any longer. Then pour in enough oil so that the pan is 1/8 to 1/4" deep, and swirl the pan (or use a paper towel) to make sure the walls are all coated well. Keep it on the heat until just BELOW the smoke point of the oil. At this point I may put in enough kosher salt to make an oil/salt slurry and scrub that around in the pan and up on the walls. Then you turn the heat off and let the mess in the pan cool completely (like overnight). When you come back to it, you can warm the pan slightly if you want (but it's not necessary). Then just wipe the oil and salt out completely, and you're done. It won't *look* like anything other than a slightly oily pan, but don't worry.

                          Others are correct that SS doesn't *hold* this treatment for long (it doesn't hold it AT ALL of you scour the pan or scrub it in strong detergent). Better just to deglaze with hot or boiling water, or clean with another oil/salt scrub over heat.

                          If you try this, please post your results.

                          EDIT: Another poster, who advises you not to clean your pan back to bare before re-seasoning, is fundamentally wrong on that point. Re-seasoning on top of your mistake is doomed to fail.

                          That poster is also flat out wrong in asserting all seasoning discolors the pan. It does not, as a well-seasoned SS or aluminum omelet pan demonstrates. Anyone who honestly says this must be confusing seasoning SS and aluminum with high-heat polymerization-type seasoning on cast iron or carbon steel.


                          1. re: J_Tay81

                            I think you have to chose your path forward. If you do decide to season your stainless steel cookware, then you should not try to clean off the discoloration. It will get discolored. All seasoned cookware are discolored. For example, a brand new carbon steel pan is shiny sliver, just like a typical stainless steel cookware.


                            After it is first seasoned, it will be lightly brown.


                            After many cooking, it will be black.


                            On the other hand, if you want to keep your cookware shiny, then don't attempt to season the cookware.

                            Finally, if you do want to clean it, then use a scrubber to clean it or use something like oven cleaner to dissolve the oil.

                            In my opinion, I agree with majority of the responders. I think it is better NOT to season the stainless steel cookware. You will put in a lot of time and with little gain. If you really want to season a cookware, then buy a carbon steel or cast iron cookware, even a bare aluminum cookware is better for that.

                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                              Is it off-topic to ask, if restaurant's cookware isn't shiny and new looking, why would we want that in our homes? This has probably been asked and answered many times here but searching has proved problematic.

                              1. re: c oliver

                                I think there are two reasons. People want to have beautiful cookware to present to guests. Shiny cookware can represent two things to guests. First, shiny cookware means that these are expensive cookware. We know 18/10 stainless steel is more shiny than 18/0 cookware and that is more shiny than aluminum cookware. The price also go in that direction. Second, shiny cookware also imply the host being attentive. This is certainly true in old time when people hire servants to polish their copper cookware. A shiny copper cookware actually does not cook better than dull copper cookware. Nevertheless, dull copper cookware implies the host is not attentive or he/she does not have money to hire enough hands to shine the cookware.

                                Another reason is that people simply like new-looking cookware. It makes them sad to see their cookware grow old.

                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                  CK, that is one of the most cogent thing I've read on CH ever. Thanks.

                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                    I prefer being "attentive" to other things and people :)

                                    1. re: c oliver

                                      Some of us like those things *and* clean, shiny pans. :-)

                                      1. re: mcf

                                        I'm lucky that I have plenty of storage space so not forced to decorate with cookware :) The only times mine are out is when I'm cooking with them.

                                        1. re: c oliver

                                          Mine are all inside cabinets, too. But I like them clean, shiny and unsticky at all times. Just mah thang. :-)

                                          1. re: mcf

                                            I like 'em clean and unsticky :)

                                                1. re: mcf

                                                  So I guess it is: clean and unsticky -- shiny optional. :)

                                              1. re: mcf

                                                I get this whole zen thing going on when the ceiling lights reflect in wavering patterns on the oil shimmering in a bright, shiny pan. Doesn't work so well with my cast iron and carbon steel. But it's real pretty in stainless steel.

                                          2. re: c oliver

                                            Hey! I like shiny stainless steel. Scratched and well-used, for sure, but shiny*.

                                            I've always had a bit of magpie in me. ;)

                                            *Except the pan bottoms. They get a quick pass when I'm using BKF, otherwise I wait until they're really gunked up, then hit 'em with oven cleaner once a year or so.

                                    2. re: J_Tay81


                                      I'm squarely with Kaleo on this. I do this to my SS pans frequently. It works very well, but I've never, ever had any of the oil bake on to my pans. I've always used lard, canola or peanut oil.

                                      I use the method outlined in the video you linked. I won't restate the points Kaleo made, just read closely what he wrote about oil and smoke point. And realize this is meant to be temporary, not anything like what you do to cast iron or carbon steel.

                                      1. re: DuffyH

                                        Hi, Duffy:

                                        Bring Rather out of retirement, we agree!

                                        Actually, I haven't met a surface that this "seasoning" method doesn't improve. Even the reviled black enamel coating on LeCreuset benefits. I've even done it to my new silver-lined rondeau. Personally, I think the collective hedonic calculus would show a spike if everyone just considered this to be part of routine maintenance.


                                        1. re: kaleokahu

                                          Hey Kaleo,

                                          <Bring Rather out of retirement, we agree!>

                                          Well, sure, if you call starting your own network retired. LOL, I'm kidding. We agree on a lot of things. Just not so much lately. :)

                                  2. You "seasoned" SS cookware?

                                    That was a big mistake, sorry. You just burned oil on to it.

                                    Don't use a stainless steel scrubber, it will scratch your cookware. Use plastic.

                                    But what you really need is a can of BARKEEPERS FRIEND powder. It will get rid of almost any stain on SS pots and pans. It's a miracle product

                                    1. If you want to keep that shiny new look, use the harshest oven cleaner and wipe with a cloth or paper towel.

                                      I have used everything from pumice to beach sand to copper and stainless scrubbies for the last 40 years on my Al-Clad and have yet to wear through to the aluminum .

                                      Season it every time with a little oil or grease as needed for your recipe. And please don't let it burn in before adding your ingredients.

                                      1. It's not recommended to season SS. Unfortunately, you found someone's "better idea" on you tube. Now that you have this brown stain cooked onto your pan, it is very hard to remove. I've burned a film on to one of my stainless pans accidentally. When Bar Keepers Friend didn't seem to touch it, the best way I found to remove it easily was with a bit of Easy Off oven cleaner. It's not recommended by the manufacturers of stainless pans but it works. Don't leave it on for more time than it takes to remove the crud, seconds to a few minutes. Wear rubber gloves and wash the pan thoroughly after cleaning. That's my "better idea" so proceed with caution, try a small test area, and good luck.

                                        15 Replies
                                        1. re: Cam14

                                          When my SIL burned oil onto her all clad skillet (it was black) she was going to throw it away but I took a crackat cleaning it.

                                          I had to use oven cleaner, too. But i left it on overnight (outside on the porch). I had to do that for several days.

                                          But it and the BKF and elbow grease did work in the end. Looks like new.

                                          1. re: Cam14

                                            I appreciate the suggestions! Looks like I have a new project to work on. Hopefully the damage is reversible, and it will be a lesson learned.

                                            1. re: Cam14

                                              Hey, Cam, Vollrath recommends it.

                                              1. re: kaleokahu

                                                Which do they recommend? Seasoning or oven cleaner?

                                              2. re: Cam14

                                                Following the instructions in the video results in a very slippery, shiny pan, with no color on it. Done right, this method does not burn anything onto the pan, as happened to J.

                                                I do it all the time, because it works. Just today I dry-fried a burger for lunch in my seasoned 8" SS frypan. From the moment it hit the pan, it slid around like a frozen puck on fresh ice.

                                                1. re: DuffyH

                                                  Okay, no more sweeping generalizations. The manufacturer of MY SS cookware says heat pan, add oil, then food. That works for me. My 8" AC is my favorite pan for a 2 egg omelet. No dry fry here though. Just the mundane heat pan, let cool just a touch, add butter, then food.

                                                  Can you still develop a fond if you are slip sliding away? My deBuyer crepe pan is the only thing I get a slide on for my buckwheat hotcakes.

                                                  1. re: Cam14

                                                    Don't know if you're old enough to remember but Jeff Smith, the Frugal Gourmet, used to say "hot pan, cold oil, no stick." That's worked for me for over 20 years.

                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                      Hey c,

                                                      I cook "normal" style in my SS, too. Just not all the time. There are plenty of times when I want to use one of my SS pans, but don't want a lot of oil. Fried potatoes springs to mind. A few weeks ago I was cooking breakfast. I needed to fry up some potatoes, so grabbed my 10" SS and tossed in some barely oiled chopped red potatoes. Worked great, with no extra oil in the pan. I was able to toss the potatoes in that pan, something I can't do with a heavier pan, and something I won't do when I cook potatoes in more oil.

                                                      To me, it's just another cooking method. Give it a try sometime, you might find you like it for some foods. :)

                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                        I have heard this mantra before, and wanted clarification. The 'cold oil' bit is odd to me: do I add food to the oil in the pan after it has heated or do I do so when it is cooler?

                                                        1. re: J_Tay81

                                                          After it's heated, J. For most purposes, you'll want that oil to show a wisp of smoke, then add your food.

                                                          1. re: DuffyH

                                                            I appreciate it! I'm a novice home cook!

                                                          2. re: J_Tay81

                                                            Heat the pan until a few drops of water skitter across the surface, add the room temp. oil, then add the food when the oil barely shimmers. With butter, you will add the food sooner as it can burn more quickly, or add a bit of oil along with the butter to raise the smoking point. You don't need to put your burner on high, medium will do the trick.

                                                          3. re: c oliver

                                                            Yes, I'm old enough to remember and old enough to have forgotten. That would have made my first weeks with stainless much easier. TG for Barkeeper's Friend!

                                                    2. There is a lot of misinformation out there about seasoning cookware. The YouTube video you found is another case of this with its notion that stainless steel can, or should, be seasoned.

                                                      To clean off the burned on oil, I suggest soaking the pan overnight with a thick paste of Bar Keeper's Friend and then take to it with a scrubbing pad like a green 3M pad.

                                                      Good luck.

                                                      1. I finally got the time to watch the video. I see what this really is now. This isn't really seasoning. It is called hot oil coating. People who know carbon steel and cast iron cookware know of this trick for a long time. This isn't what we call seasoning. The hot oil coating makes the pan temporary less sticky.

                                                        1) Heat the pan
                                                        2) Pour oil in the hot pan and get to barely above smoke point
                                                        3) Pour oil off the hot pan

                                                        This method is often used for all kind of cookware particularly for seasoned cast iron or seasoned carbon steel woks as you saw in the below video, and even for nonstick Teflon cookware -- although it isn't very useful for nonstick Teflon cookware.

                                                        Watch the first 10 second in this video:


                                                        or the first 40 second of this video:


                                                        Noticed that they both poured the oil out. The carbon steel woks have long been seasoned. What they did is the hot oil coating. Once you heat up a cookware and pour in oil and then pour out, there is always residue oil on the pan. This residue oil is not the same as fresh oil and can keep the cookware nonstick in short term.

                                                        12 Replies
                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics


                                                          I'll admit I know squat from woks and have never heard of hot oil seasoning. Here come the questions. :)

                                                          To me the wok vids look like the chefs are oiling the pan for use, yes? Leaving as much oil in the pan as needed to cook the food?

                                                          When I treat my SS pans, I let the oil cool, pour it out, then wipe off the pan. While there is residual oil in the pan, it's an ultra thin film, not nearly the same amount as I'd need to say, sear a chicken breast the normal way. Why does the oil act differently?

                                                          Would it still work in SS if I poured the oil off while still hot, then added my food to the hot pan? I suspect the answer is no, and I'm hoping you can tell me why.

                                                          1. re: DuffyH

                                                            <Leaving as much oil in the pan as needed to cook the food?>

                                                            I have tried to pour the oil of my carbon steel cookware (wok or fried pan) and then wipe it with paper towel. This hot wok coating still seems to help after wiping. I use this particularly for new carbon steel or cast iron cookware when the seasoning has not been strongly established.

                                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                              Thanks, CK.

                                                              Do you know why this treatment makes pans so slippery, while the normal way we use SS pans gives us meat that sticks like glue when we use small amounts of oil?

                                                              1. re: DuffyH

                                                                If your meat is sticking like glue, it'slikely your technique and not your pan that's to blame.

                                                                1. re: DuffyH

                                                                  I have done so in stainless steel, carbon steel and cast iron. It works pretty well. I suspect this is because the hot oil form a thin layer on the metal. After removing much of the oil, there is still a thin layer of it which help prevent the meat from sticking. Afterall, you know this method won't work if you use detergent and really remove the oil from the pan, so I suspect this has to do with the hot oil attaching to the pan. However, this is nothing like normal dark black seasoning which cannot be readily removed by detergent -- not one wash anyway. Otherwise, we won't have so many questions of "How do I remove the seasoning layer? Oven cleaner? Self-cleaning oven?"

                                                                  There are obviously a lot of misconceptions here. It is wrong to suggest this "hot oil coating" method is any way similar to what most people called seasoning a cast iron or carbon steel cookware. Seasoning a cast iron or a carbon steel cookware involves polymerize the oil and some carbonizing. The cookware turns black over time. As you can tell, this hot oil method from the original poster video is much closer to the hot oil coating method from two other youtube video (woks). I linked. They don't require heavy oil polymerization and they don't require carbonation as well. Moreover, these methods are short term and not as durable as what most people call seasoning. You can decide what to call the method, but it is nothing like the traditional seasoning.

                                                                  This method works, which is why I also use for brand new carbon steel and cast iron cookware as well, seasoned or not.

                                                                  <while the normal way we use SS pans gives us meat that sticks like glue when we use small amounts of oil?>

                                                                  That may have to do with temperature of pans as Hamster has suggested.

                                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics


                                                                    <I suspect this has to do with the hot oil attaching to the pan. However, this is nothing like normal dark black seasoning which cannot be readily removed by detergent -- not one wash anyway.>

                                                                    Exactly what I've always said, except the part about the oil attaching to the pan. But that sounds a lot like temporary seasoning to me.

                                                                    I *do* always take care to call it temporary and use quote marks. "Seasoning". Like so.

                                                              2. re: DuffyH

                                                                Hi, Duffy:

                                                                What *I'm* talking about is not the same as just pouring out the oil after a few seconds of heat. As you point out, it's obvious that more is left behind than just a thin film of fresh oil. People can *say* this is not "seasoning", but that would be, again, completely wrong.

                                                                Another error would be to take the oil to or past the smoke point for SS and aluminum--that's what got the OP in the pickle in the first place. Once you reach the smoke point, you're screwed because the oil will start to polymerize, leaving a gunky, sticky mess. It starts with little specks and runnels ("tears") on the pan's walls, and it will get worse every time you use the pan, until it looks like the OP's pan.

                                                                It's a misleading comparison to point out chefs oiling already-seasoned carbon steel woks.


                                                                1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                  Hey, Kaleo,

                                                                  I'm still in your camp. I know this isn't a permanent seasoning, but we know that something is going on.

                                                                  Whatever people want to call it, I'll continue to do as I have, call it "seasoning" (using the quotes) and always pointing out that it is temporary.

                                                                  1. re: DuffyH

                                                                    Thanks, Duffy:

                                                                    Strange to hear how some think this seasoning is "nothing like the traditional seasoning" when the purpose, result and the seasoning agent are identical.

                                                                    You make our camp fun.


                                                                  2. re: kaleokahu

                                                                    Ok this is my question. I have a calphalon anodized aluminum skillet with high (3") sides which I use for fried chicken and spaghetti sauce. I has tears on the side. Sticky blackish. What would clean that off? Will it ruin the pan? Tears not on the bottom of pan so it works fine.

                                                                    1. re: jwg

                                                                      Hi, jwg:

                                                                      This is a close call. Here's what Calphalon has to say:

                                                                      "Allow pans to cool completely before washing. Never immerse a hot pan in cold water as this will cause irreparable warping.
                                                                      Hand wash only – not dishwasher safe. NEVER place cookware in an automatic dishwasher, or use abrasive cleaning pads or cleansers that can damage the pan and void the warranty.
                                                                      DO NOT USE abrasive cleaners or cleaning pads, oven cleaners or other caustic cleaning solutions, baking soda, bleach, or liquid household cleaners used for floors, porcelain, etc. to clean the pans. These types of cleaners will damage the finish and void the warranty.
                                                                      Clean the pan with a liquid dishwashing detergent such as Dawn® and a non-abrasive sponge or soft bristle brush.
                                                                      For stubborn, burnt-on spots, allow your pan to cool, then soak in hot, soapy water for 10 minutes. Burnt-on foods will lift off after soaking.
                                                                      Maintain with Bar Keeper’s Friend® cleanser and a Scotch-Brite™ pad, being sure to rinse thoroughly.
                                                                      Dawn® is a registered trademark of Procter & Gamble. Bar Keeper’s Friend® is a registered trademark of SerVaas Laboratories. Scotch-Brite™ is a trademark of 3M."

                                                                      I think this is inconsistent advice, since Bar Keeper’s Friend and Scotch-Brite are abrasive and acidic, and abrasive. Here's what I'd do if Dawn doesn't work, *despite* what Calphalon says: I'd boil a dilute vinegar solution for 5 minutes to loosen the grease, then scrub with Dawn and a scrubbie. If *that* doesn't work, I'd *lightly* scrub again with baking soda. Bar Keeper’s Friend would be my last resort.


                                                              3. I have a lot of SS (30 yr old Cuisinart when it was still made in France) and I use baking soda and/or vinegar. A paste of baking soda and water will clean off most things and a spritz of vinegar restores the shine. The residue you have might require several paste scrubs.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. From what I understand, you DO season French carbon steel pans like Matfer Bourgeat. They are a thin gauge and require either lots of butter or seasoning.

                                                                  You do NOT season heavy gauge stainless steel pans like All-Clad.

                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                  1. re: mangeur

                                                                    Hi, mangeur: "You do NOT season heavy gauge stainless steel pans like All-Clad."

                                                                    Au contraire! Try it, you'll like it.


                                                                    1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                      LOL. While I willingly use curly scrunge wire on my All-Clad, putting a semi-permanent burned on oil film on it, like I put on my cast iron omelet pan, is not something I could do without great psychological damage. Just couldn't do it. But if it works for you, I share your joy.

                                                                      Not discussed or, I believe, considered upthread is that one of the reasons you use an All-Clad saute or fry pan is to obtain a fond, which you eventually deglaze and use in a sauce. Non-stick, which includes a seasoned pan, does not create the same intense fond. To add a seasoning layer to my All-Clad defeats my purpose.

                                                                      1. re: mangeur

                                                                        It's not "semi-permanent". It's temporary. Hot water will remove a lot of it. The smallest amount of soap and it's history.

                                                                        It's not "burned on". Heat the pan, add oil. When oil BEGINS to smoke, take it OFF THE HEAT. Let cool. Wipe.

                                                                        If that damages your psyche, I'm wondering how you cook anything at all in that pan. Fond is more permanent than this.

                                                                        1. re: mangeur

                                                                          Hi, mangeur:

                                                                          In your joy, you are misunderstanding. The seasoning I'm talking about is not "a semi-permanent burned on oil film..." It's not even really visible.

                                                                          There are as many reasons to use a frypan as there are foods to put in it. As you say, some preps benefit from a stickier surface. Many, such as eggs, do not.

                                                                          If you were to try this, I think you would find that it is no impediment to forming fond, because this "seasoning" would not survive a high sear. You apparently do it backwards from my way: omelets in thick bare aluminum "seasoned" this way. Whatever works for you. It is a categorical overstatement, however, to say: "You do NOT season heavy gauge stainless steel pans like All-Clad."


                                                                      2. When my AllClad pan bottoms had a layer of the greasy brown gunk cooked on to their bottoms, I used vinegar to get rid of it. I nested the offending pan into a larger one, and poured vinegar in between. I heated the pans on the stove until the vinegar boiled, then left to sit overnight. In the morning, I was able to scrub most of the residue away using a Scotchbrite pad. A little BK got rid of the rest. Spots needed some elbow grease, but it was well worth it. Ended up looking brand new!

                                                                        1. I clean my All-Clad SS skillet with a very fine steel wool with dish soap and water when I go a little overboard when cooking and causing it to stain.Shiny bright after a little elbow grease. It's a very durable pan.

                                                                          1. Hi J_tay,
                                                                            My kitchen is Granma's Wagner Ware cast iron that came from Great Granma, it's been round the block more than once.

                                                                            After cooking on these nearly 3/4 of a century I can honestly say I'm a master of seasoned non stick cooking surfaces, that being said I am stuck with a suck a_ _ electric range so I purchased my first stainless steel piece,a Presto 1.5 KW stainless wok, I must admit from every aspect I've been pleased.

                                                                            Since I didn't know you shouldn't or couldn't season SS alloys, being the consummate ignorant redneck I just treated it like any other iron based utensil, follow the rules and it will treat you right!

                                                                            1, Never Never Ever use soap or detergent! To strip damaged seasoning or prepare iron for seasoning a very strong ( like 1/2 box to 1quart ) solution of baking soda and hot water just under a boil @ least 1/2 hour, replenish water as required. ( The solution will do about 3 skillets ) Pour solution into the next pan to clean or discard. Rinse thoroughly with hot water.

                                                                            2. Using Kosher salt, a curlicue or scotchbrite pad scrub as required, ( You will be surprised at how little effort is required )
                                                                            Rinse thoroughly with hot water and dry with paper towels Immediately, don't dally rust begins almost instantly on air dry.

                                                                            3. immediately coat warm pan with bacon fat or lard, put into a 325 deg oven, If you can do this all day, re-coat the pans every hour or so. I did say Bacon Fat (clear rendered) or store bought Lard.
                                                                            They are the only all natural shortenings
                                                                            ( just for fun open another tab in your browser, do a wiki for making vegetable oil, after I did I threw out everything but the olive and expeller cold pressed coconut oils)
                                                                            All vegetable, Olive and Coconut oils will result in a yellow brownish coating that always is "tacky or sticky" and will not carbonize into the substrates pours.

                                                                            To maintain a seasoned surface is so easy..really!
                                                                            Resist All Temptation To Use Soap Or Detergent!
                                                                            Immediately after cooking rinse and wipe out with paper towels, if it needs scrubbed, Kosher salt and scotchbrite pad
                                                                            rinse, dry, re coat with Bacon Fat or Lard and stuff it in the oven. Honestly it's been years since I've had to scrub a pan, just wipe out, re coat and stuff in a 325 oven, what could be easier ? I treat the SS wok the same but don't stuff it in the oven, it get plugged in and run up to 325, Don't know if it's right or wrong but it seems to work fine, see no need to change kitchen protocol for now.

                                                                            Just for the record I'm 73 years young and cook at least twice a day for myself and a few neighbors and their kids, I still love it.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: OlChicago

                                                                              Its perfectly fine to use dish soap on a well-seasoned skillet.

                                                                              Ive been doing it for 30 years and mine are shiny and slick.

                                                                              I dont use soap every time but I never hesitate when there is loads of gunk in it.

                                                                              I wouldnt use soap until the seasoning has built up, though.

                                                                            2. Unfortunately I fried many round sausage patties in my new stainless steel pan and burned them because the stove was way too hot. Dog still loved them but my pan did not soak clean. Today I tried boiling vinegar in it with limited success. I have severe arthritis so scrubbing is out of the question, Remembered that an acid is created by adding salt to vinegar so tried it... lots of salt. Boiled a little more then let cool a bit. With just the blue scrubby side of my sponge I rubbed a little and it came completely clean...like new.

                                                                              9 Replies
                                                                                1. re: katie45


                                                                                  For really burned-on gunk, I don't just soak. If deglazing won't work, I boil water in the pan right away, let it sit through dinner, then dump and add really hot soapy water. Let that soak for an hour and lift it with a thin metal spatula, followed by a blue scrubby if needed. Stuff floats away.

                                                                                  There hasn't been anything that won't come off that way in the 12 years I've been cooking on SS.

                                                                                  1. re: katie45

                                                                                    Is caustic soda widely available in the US? It's very nasty stuff indeed, and nothing organic gets in the way of a strong solution. It really should be on some sort of sale restriction here in the UK, but it isn't.

                                                                                    Probably best not to use it on aluminium, but it will clean anything off SS and enamel. Take great care. Wear goggles & gloves.

                                                                                    1. re: Robin Joy

                                                                                      In my experience, in the states we call it lye.

                                                                                      That is some nasty stuff. I used it when I worked in food service.

                                                                                        1. re: Robin Joy

                                                                                          I used it to clean out a walk-in fridge. In retrospect, I didn't get paid enough for that.

                                                                                      1. re: Robin Joy

                                                                                        As Hambone says, Caustic soda is widely available in the states, one trade name is "Louis Lye" usually found with drain cleaners, This should be an indicator of the aggressive qualities,
                                                                                        You can also find "Food grade Lye" which is used in making pretzels, bagels..... PS, Do Not ever introduce caustic soda and aluminum, the caustic soda holds high animosity for aluminum!

                                                                                          1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                                            Yup, oven cleaner is my last resort. Works every time.

                                                                                    2. Fuller Brush makes a stainless steel scrubber that is, in my experience, the best scrubber in the world. I've seen them anywhere from $5 to $10 for a box of 3. Thirty years ago I bought one box for myself. Ten years ago (+/-) I bought a new box for myself and a box for each of my two children.

                                                                                      The only reason I needed new for myself is that I gave two to friends and I got lazy with the one that was mine (I didn't rinse food out of it and it just reeked of ransit fat --- I wasn't going to trust it after that).

                                                                                      I still have two of the three scrubbers in the sleeve - the one that is currently in use looks like it has another 10 years in it before I'll need to put it to rest.

                                                                                      7 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: Harts52

                                                                                        Thank you for the Fuller Brush lead, I forgot all about these when I left Chicago, just found 'em 3 for $8.49 at,

                                                                                        If they ever become nasty and "Odouriffus" (thanks to grandsons unique vocabulary) Just stick it in the dishwasher.
                                                                                        Hope this is some assistance for you, once again thank you!

                                                                                        1. re: OlChicago

                                                                                          Ah, dishwasher ---- I will remember that! Thx!

                                                                                          1. re: OlChicago

                                                                                            Are these better than the ones you buy at the supermarket? I keep one of those, but only for cast iron.

                                                                                            My "go to" cleaning for SS is a soak with baking soda and hot water, a squirt of dish liquid, use a spatula to scrape what's loosened, repeat, and then Bar Keeper's Friend with a sponge or green scrubbie. And since I got a new dishwasher, I love love love putting whatever fits in it, the SS comes out clean as a whistle after a good soak.

                                                                                            I also have arthritis in my hands, so I tend to soak, boil, soak until I absolutely have to scour. A little Brillo in a pinch, but that's very lightly. I'll try Easy Off next time. Thanks for the tip, y'all.

                                                                                              1. re: blaireso

                                                                                                Dear blaireso,
                                                                                                It makes my heart heavy to hear arthritis, I'm dealing with Parkinson’s, how these insidious disorders take our abilities, talent, crafts from us, a little bit at a time...Just Insidious!

                                                                                                Hearts52 and I agree, far superior to supermarket fare, when I worked in my families Pizzeria we got scrubbers called "Curlycues" at Diversey Ave Store Fixtures. In comparison to grocery store look alikes they were pro grade with maybe a 90 day life expectancy.

                                                                                                One night Bari ( the woman I should have married, what a putz I am ) well, she came to take me home and Aunt Rose came with her, I'm busting suds on the sauce pots and iron,
                                                                                                looking at the scrubber Aunt Rose says "what are you using honey OY! what a schlock! they give you this to work with!" she just happened to have a Fuller pad in her bag, she was an incredible pro cook and this was part of her kit.

                                                                                                "Dear I'm not one to kibitz, use this I'll get more it will last forever, Finish up lets go home"

                                                                                                This is how the Fuller Stainless scrubber found me

                                                                                                Thanks Aunt Rose, you taught me so much

                                                                                                1. re: OlChicago

                                                                                                  Wow...that's such a nice Fuller scrubber story :-)

                                                                                                  1. re: OlChicago

                                                                                                    thanks for the recommendation. I'll check them out.

                                                                                                    My SS pans are the result of arthritis--After using my Farberware for 37 years, they finally began to delaminate and it was time to replace them. I'd been lusting after All Clad, had saved up for them, but to my dismay they are just too heavy for me to handle now. So, Cuisinart was the best choice. They're fine, although....hey, I'm still here, right?

                                                                                                    Sometimes you gotta work smart, not hard. I'll get some Fuller scrubbers!