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With all due respect to my husband, one of the best things about getting married was the wedding shower. We shot for the moon, registering for an entire set of All-Clad pots and pans — even the roasting pan! And, thanks to our family and friends, we got every single piece we coveted. That was 20 years ago this October, and those pans are still in constant rotation in my kitchen, as sturdy and reliable as ever. Not a single pot is warped or pitted. And let me tell you: I’m a professional recipe developer and tester who works from home, so they get a lot of use!
All that is to say, I really trust the All-Clad brand. So when I saw that the company sells a special cleanser and polish for their pans, I had to try it. Because, while my pots are still in perfect shape, they do have their fair share of brown splotchy marks!
I’m not one to scrub the stains from my cookware often, so I had plenty of ugly looking pans to try it on. The All-Clad cleanser is a powder, packaged in a plastic container with two openings: one for sprinkling and one for spooning. Although I try to avoid plastic, it was kind of a comfort to know that the powder would stay dry even if the container got wet (not the case with cardboard containers). The instructions said to just sprinkle the powder on a wet pan, or for heavy stains to mix it with water to make a paste. Then, scrub with a sponge — but not steel wool.
I followed the instructions on my worst pan: an aluminum sauté pan. The cleanser got a fair amount of stains off the bottom, but it couldn’t budge the most burnt-on stuff. For comparison’s sake, I tried using Bar Keepers Friend Cookware Cleanser & Polish, which is a wildly popular and beloved option online. It too had trouble, but with it I was able to make a little more progress. I tried making a paste with each and letting the mixtures sit on sections of the pan for 30 minutes before scrubbing, but not much changed.
Maybe that pan was too far gone. I decided to try it on a different pan: a large stainless steel frying pan that was well marbled in brown stains, but not blackened with them. On one half of the pan, I tried the All-Clad, and it definitely worked. However, it took a good minute of scrubbing to get the stains off and the toughest ones took a bit more concentrated effort and pressure. Then, I tried the BKF on the top half, and it was much easier. The stains seemed to melt away. In 30 seconds, I had the top half of the pan clean without having to scrub hard at all!
I consulted the labels: All-Clad’s label says it contains natural minerals and doesn’t say much more than that. The BKF label says it’s made with mineral abrasive, oxalic acid, surfactant, and water-softening agent. I couldn’t exactly compare, but I have to assume that the two are similar.
Bottom line: The All-Clad cleaner gets the job done, but it’s not the most efficient or cheapest option out there. I’m going to stick to All-Clad for my cookware (nothing wrong with that, it’s what they do best!) and let BKF handle the cleaning.
Have you tried the All-Clad cleaner? Share your experience with us in the comments below.