Is this pan toasted or what?

loriafopianoMarch 22, 2005

I just invested in lovely new pans for our new glass cooktop; we bought Kitchenaid 5-ply clad stainless. Last night while cooking a couple of burgers in a frypan, I noticed they were cooking too hot (even though the heat was only on "medium"). So I turned down the heat, flipped the burgers. Turned the heat down some more, flipped again. Repeat. Repeat.

Now I notice the burner is flaming red HIGH, no matter how low I've turned the burner (at this point as low as you can go). Of course by now the burners are blackening and the smoke alarm is sounding, and my pan is decidedly scorched.

Turns out our month-old Wolf electric cooktop is having a burner malfunction. Couldn't turn the thing off! Long story short, a service appointment has been made but in the meantime, this is what my new pan looks like:

And this is after soaking, using Dawn Power Dissolver, scouring with Comet, etc. Needless to say, I'm P.O'd. When I talked to Wolf, they suggested I contact Kitchenaid customer service to replace the pan; I told the rep I didn't think that was right, as the pan would never have had the problem except for the burner malfunction.

2 questions:

-Is there any way to restore the pan?

-Do you think Wolf or Kitchenaid should be responsible for replacing the pan in the event I can't restore the pan?

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Wolf should give you the cost of the pan so you can buy a new one. Kitchenaid was not at fault if the burner malfunctioned. Give Wolf some grief and I'm sure they will comply.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2005 at 7:33PM
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You got me thinking here. Which is always a dangerous thing!

Here are a few crazy ideas, which might work, or might ruin the pan beyond all recognition:

* Put it through the diswasher's pot-scrubber cycle a few times, with extra detergent. (Dishwasher detergent is pretty aggressive. Costco's Kirkland-brand detergent is REALLY aggressive--it took all the decoration off my glassware before I realized what it was doing. I wouldn't use it for anything else, but it might work for this.)

* Hit the burned-on stuff with a blowtorch, in the oxidizing part of the flame, to burn it off.

* Run it through the oven's self-clean cycle.

* Oven cleaner.

* Paint stripper.

* I had really good luck cleaning up a cast-iron saw table with either xylene or MEK, which took off the cosmoline really well; I don't know if that would work as well on carbon deposits, but it might.

I hope this helps. Let us know--I have no doubt I'll have the same problem some day.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2005 at 5:31AM
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I'd try the spray on oven cleaner first. I've used it very successfully on burned on gunk. Spray it outside on some newspaper and give it time to work. Clean it up afterwards with Barkeepers Friend.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2005 at 8:52AM
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Wolf should pay for the pan although their warranty probably excludes incidental damages -- the ruined pan is an incidental damage.

You have some likelihood of success by going up the food chain with Wolf's customer service.

I personally don't think I would go to extreme measures to clean a frying pan since they aren't THAT expensive to begin with and my time is better spent dealing with other stuff.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2005 at 9:10AM
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I think once the Wolf service person comes to make the repair and I have a copy of the work done, we'll contact Wolf customer service and see what they can do. If I have no luck, I will try some of the ideas you've suggested for sprucing it up. Replacement cost of this one pan is $110, so I feel justified in pursuing replacement.

Thanks all for your suggestions!

    Bookmark   March 23, 2005 at 11:13AM
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You might try baking soda. Get the pan wet but empty all the water. Sprinkle on baking soda (be generous). Let it sit a while then scrub with the baking soda.

In any case, I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for wolf to give you the price of the pan.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2005 at 1:29PM
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I would use a soap filled SOS pad......
And I don't expect you will recover the cost of the pan....after all you did have the option of removing the pan from the burner when it got too hot.
Which is just another reason why I love a gas cook top!
Linda C

    Bookmark   March 23, 2005 at 1:50PM
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Lori, I would still push wolf to replace that pan. Unhappy customers are not worth the grief that a check would alleviate. If you don't try, you'll never know. Just don't hold your breath either.

I would try soaking it over night or nights with dishwasher powder and water. dh never believes me but that really does work on a lot of stuff. I also read something recently about using X to take the chemical reactions stains out of pots and pans (we still have copper in our water) and while I forget what it was, maybe dh remembers.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2005 at 2:51PM
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I'm not usually such a moron when cooking...I KNOW I should have removed the pan from the burner when things kept cooking high. I just had all burners going (and everything else was cooking just fine!), a new puppy running around, and a teenager needing to talk to me... all at the same time. And after all, the cooktop had been working great since it had been installed about a month ago. So I do accept SOME responsibility for the pan scorching...but again, it never would have happened if the burner was working properly. Do I sound a little defensive? Perhaps...

Lowspark, I have tried the baking soda trick; that usually works for me, too. Maybe I should give it more time?

Lindac, I have tried a scrubby but not an SOS pad; will try that now.

Maureen, please let me know if you or your dh remember the name of the product you use for stains; it sounds hopeful for the yellowing around the edges! I shall try the dishwasher soap in the meantime.

Thanks, everyone, for trying to help! Will let you know if anything works...including talking to Wolf!

    Bookmark   March 23, 2005 at 3:39PM
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I'd avoid the SOS pad for a while--that will definitely scuff up the pan, and make things stick more in the future. See if one of the other approaches works first.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2005 at 4:06PM
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Have you tried Barkeepers Friend?

    Bookmark   March 24, 2005 at 11:47PM
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It might be worth giving the baking soda another try. I burned a newish SS pot very badly, so tried a generous amount with water overnight and then scrubbed. Only some of the burned food residue came off. I think I tried this a couple of times, then lamented the apparent loss of the pot. But left a big amount of baking soda in the pot, again with water (I think it was just thinner than pasty).... stuck it in the garage, thinking I'd probably end up discarding it (the pot). Forgot about it, and months later, found it again. The water had evaporated, and a "crust" of baking soda just sort of flaked off the pot along with the burnt stuff! A bit of scrubbing and the pot was good as new... appearance-wise anyway, and as far as I can tell, performance-wise too. I was SO glad I hadn't chucked it prematurely.

Hope this helps.... good luck!

    Bookmark   March 25, 2005 at 3:17AM
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I've tried some of the milder remedies you all suggested to no avail; the dishwasher detergent actually added a new type of discoloration. Oh well, nothing ventured nothing gained.

Well, we had the Wolf service rep out today. Apparently I've won a kind of lottery; I own the only cooktop they've ever seen this kind of problem with! Here's a pic of the cooktop problem; if you look on the lower right, you'll see from the dial that the upper left burner is turned off (the dial is all black), but if you actually look at the upper left burner... it certainly is on (HIGH)!

I showed the rep the toasted pan, and he thought Wolf headquarters would take care of it. He says they have really good customer service, so I'm hopeful.

Meanwhile, the parts they suspect are needed to fix the cooktop are nowhere in New England so... it's a waiting game at this point. Of course, we're having Easter here. I'm very thankful we installed our old range in the basement so I'll have access to extra burners. Can't sweat the little stuff.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2005 at 6:44PM
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Dawn Power Dissolver should take care of the pan.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   March 26, 2005 at 1:19AM
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I think BarKeepers Friend would get your pan back to looking like new.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2005 at 9:57AM
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I've used the Dawn power dissolver already; that got the pan looking as good as it does. I'll have to buy some Barkeeper's Friend to try, but wouldn't Comet be stronger (which I already tried)?

    Bookmark   March 27, 2005 at 5:21PM
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Comet is stronger than BKF. BKF is recommended by manufacturers of stainless steel because it somewhat "scours" without the abrasiveness of more traditional scouring powers like Ajax and Comet. I can't imagine BKF being stronger than Comet scouring powder.

Have you tried metal scouring pads -- a last resort since they will probably leave some scratching but you probably don't care.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2005 at 8:07PM
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BKF also has a chemical component that seems to help when cleaning stainless steel. Whether that will help in this specific case, I don't know, but it's not strictly speaking true to say that Comet it stronger. Comet is more abrasive, but I don't think it has the chemical component that works so well on SS.

Whether or not BKF helps with this particular disaster, I give a wholehearted recommendation for BKF for shining up discolored stainless steel. It works like a champ!

    Bookmark   March 27, 2005 at 8:48PM
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Dow Oven Cleaner does a great job on all my stainless steel. Why scrub?

    Bookmark   March 29, 2005 at 11:32AM
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I burned some rice in one of my copper pots the night before last. It was a very thick, burned on coating nothing could penerate, and looked much worse than what's left on your pan. Since the lining is tin, I didn't want to use oven cleaner on it. I soaked it overnight with a couple of Tablespoons of fabric softener (I think it was Downey Enhanced) with enough water to cover the burned on bottom. This morning I scraped it with a wooden spoon to see if it would come off. (It certainly didn't LOOK like anything was loosening up when I did that.) Anyway, I got a little SOS pad, and scrubbed the burned stuff right off, pretty easily in fact. It looked like it had emulsified, and was easier to remove than I expected. I followed up with a light scrub of Barkeepers Friend and my pan was good to go.

I read about this trick long ago, and have used it with success several times. I would think it would work on your SS pan fairly well, since your pan doesn't look bad at all compared to what I had to worth with!

If you try it, please let me know if it worked for you.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2005 at 4:04PM
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BKF is IFFERENT from Comet... a milder abrasive but the cleaner is a reducing agent (I believe oxalic acid) rather than an oxidizing agent like comet.
When....and if they replace your pan....then try the more abrasive compounds.....and you will have 2 pans!
Linda C

    Bookmark   March 29, 2005 at 4:47PM
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Make that DIFFERENT.....
Linda C

    Bookmark   March 29, 2005 at 4:48PM
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Yay! I spoke with customer service at Wolf last night, and they have graciously agreed to pay replacement cost of the pan. They have been great to deal with, in spite of the original problem with the cooktop.

Thanks everyone for the suggestions on fixing up the pan. I've been reluctant to try some of the harsher ideas for fear of making things worse, but now I'll give some of them a try. I'm getting the feeling that the brownish discoloration of the stainless (not where the food was) is a chemical change that may not be removable. Will let you know if I have success with any of the methods.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2005 at 6:51PM
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I really would try the BarKeepers Friend. Make a paste with a liberal amount of BKF and work it aroung the pan with a blue scrubber, then let the pan sit for a while and scrub it a little more and rinse. You may have to repeat this procedure a few times but I'll bet it works. You've probably already lost the mirror finish that came with the pan so you may want to hasten the process by using a green scouring pad instead of the blue scrubber.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2005 at 7:25PM
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