Ring around the Saucepan

We’ve all seen this, aluminum sauce pans with a rainbow of black and grey on it. Aluminum is soft and easily reactive, in cooking this is usually caused by exposure to tomato or vinegar sauces. With small saucepans, it is almost always caused by boiling eggs in the shell. Eggshells are nearly all calcium carbonate, which reacts with the aluminum and causes the black discoloration. On a thicker pan going after it with any sort of abrasive process will remove the discolored layer. But with a thin little saucepan, it is so easy to warp the pan or cause uneven wear, I just really wanted to remove the discoloration without removing an entire layer of aluminum.


Needless to say, soap and water merely laughs at this corrosion, as did vinegar, salt and baking soda. They would have done SOMETHING but it would have taken a very long time, as it is they were just shining up the corrosion nicely.

I did have some success with Bar-Keepers Friend and steel wool, but that was way to0 abrasive and scarred the little pan too much in my opinion. This is a sweet little saucepan pan has measurements embossed into the side and nicely riveted handles and I want to keep it for myself.

Never Dull/Magic Wadding worked a treat, and I could have done the entire pan inside and out with it. I t JUST removed the black corrosion without scratching off a layer of aluminum. However it is something you have to have at hand, and if you don’t have it, buying can is much more than the saucepan is worth.

Since Never-Dull worked I figured I would try WD-40 which is essentially mineral oil and mineral spirits. It started to work a little with a rag so I added a green scrubbie pad. It worked so nicely, that I did the entire pan with it. It sort of split the difference between working chemically with a limited amount of elbow grease and hardly any abrasion.