Help me save my Farberware
August 7, 2016 9:50 AM   Subscribe

Can I salvage a skillet I left on burner and a skillet I ran through the dishwasher?

I have two Farberware nonstick aluminum skillets that I did stupid things with:

1) after cooking a fried egg (using cooking spray rather than butter or oil) in my small skillet I forgot to turn the medium-heat burner off. A good 30 to 60 minutes later I discovered what had happened. ("Oh that's what that strange smell was...") No amount of scrubbing with a Scotch-Brite Dobie pad will remove the cooking spray and fried egg residue. I know not to attack a teflon pan with steel wool - what are my options?

2) I put my large skillet in the dishwashing machine along with several other pots and pans - the stainless ones came out okay but the bottom of the aluminum skillet is now stained. A trip to Google tells me it was the dishwasher soap that oxidized the aluminum finish. Any recommendations on which metal polish to use? I have a bottle of Brasso somewhere.
posted by Ranucci to Home & Garden (3 answers total)
Best answer: I think skillet #1 is ruined, sorry. Even if you get the burned-on residue off, it will probably take most of the Teflon with it. My rule for nonstick cookware is to not spend too much money on it, since it typically is not too durable (although some of the new ceramic coatings seem to be better). I just replace the old cheap skillet with a new cheap skillet and move on with no regrets.

Skillet #2 is still usable, even if it's no longer shiny. I put my aluminum in the dishwasher all the time and it comes out kind of tarnished and dull but it works just fine. So if you're only concerned about performance, you'll be fine. If you want to restore the shiny appearance as it came from the factory, it may or may not be possible depending on the type of aluminum. Bon Ami, or some other very fine and mild abrasive, might work. Brasso might also work - give it a try. Even toothpaste (a very very fine abrasive) might work. However, I've never been able to get that "factory shine" and I've also noticed that when I try to polish aluminum, it doesn't last - it tarnishes even faster the next time I use it. Good luck!
posted by Quietgal at 10:18 AM on August 7, 2016

The nonstick skillet is ruined. There is nothing you can do that will reverse the thermal damage to the nonstick coating. Throw it away.

The aluminum skillet isn't ruined, it just has cosmetic damage. The bad news is that there really isn't a way to get it back to a mirror-shine. But if you want it to be bright again and you don't mind scratches, you should be able to use something like Barkeeper's Friend.
posted by slkinsey at 11:43 AM on August 7, 2016

Response by poster: Thanks, Quetzal and slkinsey. Pretty much confirmed what I thought. I'll toss the small pan and try polishing the underside of the big pan to clean it up a bit.
posted by Ranucci at 12:23 PM on August 7, 2016

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