Cleaning brown spots from stainless pan

dmloveSeptember 24, 2006

I followed the pesto recipe in Cooks Illustrated, which called for "toasting" pine nuts and then garlic in a dry pan on medium heat. The pesto came out great, but the pan (Calphalon stainless) is much worse for the wear! It's all brown-stained and I can't get it off, even with SOS. Any ideas for me? Thanks.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I just did pesto tonight.....put the pine nits on foil to roast.
I suggest you do what I do....and that is to say..." these are tools and tools often show the marks of use....and so be it."
Rather like worrying because your hammer shows marks of where you struck the nail.
That's what it's A few marks are OK.
Linda C

    Bookmark   September 24, 2006 at 10:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Try Barkeepers friend.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2006 at 10:14AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

whatever you do, don't use chlorine bleach; it'll make little pits in stainless.

Barkeeper's friend is pretty good, that and some elbow grease.

Also try a whitening toothpaste if it's just a localized area.

But I've also found that people who make a fetish out of sparkly clean cookware tend to be less than wonderful cooks. Let the spots show and don't worry about them.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2006 at 2:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Before using anything else--give baking soda a try. It's an amazing cleaner and the first thing I always reach for. Very effective (even gets koolaid and grape juice stains out of formica).

Besides being a great cleaner--baking soda is non-toxic to family and pets, doesn't scratch, is cheap, kills germs, safe for the environment. Hard to find anything else with as many advantages.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2006 at 7:55AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'll try baking soda, and I'll try Barkeepers Friend, I definitely won't try chlorine bleach (LOL), and if none of them work, I'll just live with it. Thanks everyone.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2006 at 12:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think the Barkeepers Friend will work.

Brown (and blue) stains usually are the result of too high a temperature, especially when you have little volume of food in the skillet. You might try working over lower heat next time.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2006 at 3:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks gardenlad, I wondered about that.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2006 at 6:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

BTW, Barkeepers Friend comes in both liquid and powder forms.

While I'm sure others will disagree, in my experience the powder works better. Just be sure and follow the instructions, and never pour it directly into a dry pan.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2006 at 8:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks. I already have the powdered form, but I haven't tried scouring the pan yet. I'll read the directions first!

    Bookmark   September 28, 2006 at 12:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

dmlove, I have been using powder BKF on my SS pans for a few years. It does not scratch the pan. Picked up the tip here. Also, my All Clad SS pans came with the directions to use BKF.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2006 at 9:35AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

eandhl, what kind of "scrubber" you use with the BKF - green or blue scrubby? Dobie? Regular sponge? Steel wool?

    Bookmark   September 29, 2006 at 1:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I don't use any kind of scrubber on my stainless cookware. What I do is pour some BKF onto a soft, wet cloth, and pat it into a paste. Then I use that to rub the pot. Works like a charm.

You especially don't want to use steel wool; it will scratch the cookware. I don't guess a Scotchpad or Dobie would do any harm.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2006 at 4:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

gardenlad, forgive me if I'm being a butthead but why does it matter if you pour it directly into the pan? It's not likes it's acid. I pour it directly in the pan, then pour in some water then use a cloth towel to polish the pan and have had no problems :)

    Bookmark   September 29, 2006 at 9:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

According to the directions: "If applying BKF directly to metal, porcelain or plastic, make certain surface is wet---then rub gently until rust or discoloration disappears. Rinse."

My understanding is that although BKF is a very mild abrasive, applying it dry can cause scratching.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2006 at 10:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

you are correct sir, I will conform and wet the pan from now on even though it probably doesn't matter :)

    Bookmark   September 30, 2006 at 10:22AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It says on the label that BKF contains oxalic acid. Here's a link that talks about oxalic acid,

I've been using BKF for years and it's great stuff.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2006 at 8:23PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

dmlove, I have my pan wet and moist paper towel with BKF on it. I have never needed any sort of scrubbie.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2006 at 11:19AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Go with BKF. I tried the baking soda and the dishwasher detergent regimen(which do work to a certain extent), but to get high-heat, "burned-in" brown spots, use BKF. I decided to sear a steak with my KA Distinctions SS pan/De Dietrich 309x on high and thought I ruined the pan. Tried the baking soda and DD route, but neither got the pan back to its original state. Picked up BKF at BBB, put it on a damp dish towel,worked into a paste and without any pressure the brown spots disappeared!

    Bookmark   October 2, 2006 at 5:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

A friend of mine fills her SS pans with water, puts in a fabric softener sheet, and lets it sit overnight. She says it works well.

Personally, I don't even like the idea of fabric softener on clothes (what's in that stuff anyway?), so I wouldn't try it, but I thought I'd share it anyway.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2006 at 1:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

Wow. I use my pans until they are either, warped, or too gross to use any more. Then I throw them out. A few spots don't bother me. However, I could never have a hanging potrack because the pans ain't pretty.

But, my very best cookie sheet is dark brown. I love it! Oven fried foods crisp up beautifully on it in a very short period of time. The pan was fairly dark when I bought it though.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2006 at 5:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I cannot get the brown spots off of the bottom of my All-Clad ss roasting pan status post huge goose last night. Used BKF and Dawn Power Dissolver. The varnish-y stuff came off, but not the brown. I roasted, per recipe, at 375 degrees. Goose was great, pan looks terrible. Since roasting uses high heat, and the AC roasters are solid stainless, should it be so difficult to clean them after roasting? I'll continue to try to clean the pan tomorrow, but I believe it should not be so time-consuming. OTOH, I do not like putting dirty-looking pots and pans back in my cupboard.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2006 at 10:33PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Kitchendetective. I used to sell high-end cookware lines. Our ultimate, last-resort cleaner was simmering for a few minutes a solution id powdered dishwasher detergent, a couple tablespoons in a quart of water, then letting the pan sit an cool overnight. Rinse the next morning. Use a little vinegar water rinse to remove any detergent residue.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 4:09PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Mauviel m'150s and m'250c
I'm looking at some pans in these two lines -- I understand...
Help with Induction Cookware
I just bought a Samsung Induction cooktop, and I need...
Is there lead in this antique brass pitcher?
Hello, I have a fondness for antique metal cookware...
pie crust in a Breville all in one food processor
Can a pie crust be made in a Breville all in one food...
Sue Molitor
which cookware to choose?
hi. i just joined the forum today. we're a newly wedded...
Sponsored Products
Hand-tufted Coliseum Wool Rug (6' x 9')
Elah Area Rug - 5' x 8'
Grandin Road
LBL Lighting | Hunter 24 Outdoor Wall Light
$340.00 | YLighting
Clizia Pendant
Grand Splendid | Black XL Uncut Cowhide
Progress Lighting Wall Mounted Lighting & Sconces Ashmore Collection 3-Light
Home Depot
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™