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Old 08-06-2006, 04:00 PM   #1
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Remove grease stains from a cast aluminum pan

So I'm new to cooking. Had been learning the ropes of cooking since I moved out of the residence in my university and still doing a lot of damages to my cookin utensils.

Here is my problem: How do I remove grease stains from a cast aluminum pan? It isn't just a small grease stain, it's all over the pan. It started off with a rust or discoloration, so I put diluted white vinegar hoping it will remove the stain, but nope.

Secondly, I put veg. oil to season the pan and placed the pan into the oven for an hour and when it came out I could not remove the grease stain. It is sticky to touch instead of a smooth surface you would feel on a brand new cast aluminum pan.

Now the pan is sitting on the stove waiting for me to clean it. The inside of the pan is black and the outside has a greyish covering. I don't know if this will help, but I really, really want to save this cast aluminum pan! I don't want to do anymore damages Help!

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Old 08-06-2006, 04:39 PM   #2
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I'm not sure that I understand the "grease stain" that you are talking about. But I do love your user name!
Welcome to DC.
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Old 08-06-2006, 05:08 PM   #3
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The grease stain has an appearance of dark brown to light brown depending how long you cooked the oil. Sometimes if you leave oil too long on a frying pan, the oil or grease stain can remain behind.

Maybe I am speaking of an oil stain instead of a grease stain?
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Old 08-06-2006, 05:10 PM   #4
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First off - you really don't need to season cast aluminum ... unless you want to. If you do ... yeah, you will have "grease stains" on the inside ... the oil you used is polymerizing ... turning from liquid into a solid "plastic like" surface - same thing that happens to cast iron when you season it, or to the cylinder walls of your engine when you buy a new car drive it during the "break-in" period - and it turns dark brown. It is "stickey" because it is only "half baked" - generally happens when the oil is applied too thick or not baked long enough (this could take hours over several days if applied too thick) ... the thicker the longer. This is a common problem when people don't follow the instructions for curing cast iion ... instead of turning the pan upside down in the oven to bake it they leave it right-side-up ...

Since cast aluminum is generally very heavy-duty ... I've never seen any that wasn't - you can "burn off" the oil by running the pot/pan through a "self-cleaning" cycle in your oven. IF it has plastic/Bakelite handles - you will need to remove them first.

Andy M. had another solution he posted a couple of days ago in the thread - How to clean Aluminum.

Now - if it was just "incidental" grease residue from cooking ... you could have poured off the grease and added a liquid (like water) to deglaze the pan while it was still hot .... but that doesn't sound like what happened if you were putting it into the oven to bake.
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Old 08-06-2006, 11:45 PM   #5
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Any other suggestions beside using a "self-cleaning" cycle or ammonia? I don't have a "self-cleaning" cycle in the oven and where would I get ammonia? Is it contained in other household products I can easily get from a market? I don't think my lab would give out ammonia b/c of this situation.
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Old 08-07-2006, 12:54 AM   #6
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You can buy ammonia in the cleaning aisle of most stores. Windex for example is primarily ammonia. But you can buy the plain stuff there too.
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Old 08-07-2006, 06:25 AM   #7
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As has been said, aluminum does not require real seasoning, like cast iron. It also will not rust so you have effectively burned on your grease. Respectfully I disagree with the use of the self cleaning cycle for aluminum. Works well for nasty cast iron. I also disagree with ammonia, which is an alkali. It will discolor aluminum--although it may clean it. That is the reason oven cleaner (foamy sodium hydroxide) is not recommended for aluminum pans. I think an acid is what is required.
For the inside which sounds like burned on grease/food, I suggest you boil full strength white vinegar for 10-15 minutes, let cool, add some full stength dish soap and then scrub and scrub with stainless steel scrubby pad. Repeat
For the outside, apply full strength dish soap and scrub with the scrubby.
To polish aluminum you can use dry baking soda or cream of tartar.
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Old 08-07-2006, 02:38 PM   #8
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I tried the white vinegar for 10-15 mins, but the solution was dilute white vinegar and I boiled it until all the solution evaporated. So I guess I can give the pure white vinegar a try again and see if it will work the second time round.

Won't the stainless steel scruby pad scratch the inside of the pan? As it was quoted in this thread: How To Clean Aluminum
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Old 08-07-2006, 03:02 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Human
I tried the white vinegar for 10-15 mins, but the solution was dilute white vinegar and I boiled it until all the solution evaporated. So I guess I can give the pure white vinegar a try again and see if it will work the second time round.

Won't the stainless steel scruby pad scratch the inside of the pan? As it was quoted in this thread: How To Clean Aluminum
At the moment I think the least you have to worry about is scratching the inside of a totally blackened pan. You will have to scrub it sometime. It doesn't really "scratch"--it may "burnish".
I have had to clean pots for up to an hour with vinegar--it must be full strength.
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Old 08-07-2006, 07:56 PM   #10
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Could lemon juice be used instead of vinegar? They are both acidic but lemon juice is more acidic than vinegar.


Thanks everyone for all the help pouring into this topic
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