How to Clean Hard Anodized Cookware

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Do you know how to clean hard anodized cookware? If you use this type of cookware, learning how to clean it correctly can ensure that it lasts for many years, is safe to cook in, and stays looking sleek. 

Here’s how to clean hard anodized cookware: 

  • Choose the right cleaning product. 
  • Clean the interior with a non-abrasive sponge. 
  • Keep the exterior bright by using a cleaner specifically for non-anodized cookware.
  • Never put it in the dishwasher. 
  • Don’t immerse hot pots in cold water. 

What Are Hard Anodized Pans? 

“Hard anodized” is the process that the material the pot is made of goes through. The aluminum used to craft the pot is submerged into a chemical bath, and an electrical current is applied. 

This process causes the aluminum to oxidize, which then hardens, making the pot durable and anti-corrosive. To make the material harder, the pot will be subjected to a higher voltage at a lower temperature for a longer period. 

Most hard anodized pans have a non stick layer coated on top. This will normally be Teflon, but there are Teflon-free alternatives.

The Advantages of Using Hard Anodized Pans 

If you’re not sure that buying a hard anodized pan is worth it, here are some advantages to cooking with them. 

  • These pots can withstand the rigors of kitchen use and cook many dishes per day.
  • Distributes heat evenly when cooking.
  • The pots are strong, won’t chip or break and are lightweight.
  • If you look after the pots, they’ll last a lifetime.
  • Anodized cookware cleaning is easier. 

To preserve the pot’s non-stick coating, you should only use wooden, plastic, or silicone utensils.

How to Clean Hard Anodized Cookware 

If you want to have your cookware around for a long time, you should know how to clean anodized aluminum pans. There are several steps you can take to ensure that your cookware won’t get damaged.

Choose Your Products Carefully 

You would have to choose your cleaning products carefully as you can’t use any abrasive materials. It’s best to get a mild cleansing detergent, as harsh detergents can damage the surface. Use a heavy-duty non-abrasive sponge to clean the interior.

You’d also want to avoid using cleaners that contain baking-soda or alkaline on the pot’s interior, as these can damage the hard anodized cookware. If you do need a little more elbow grease, then you can use a soft-bristled brush on the inside of the pot.

Cleaning the Interior 

If you think the pot’s inner contents may be more challenging to clean, you can first soak it in warm water before washing. You can then use a gentle cloth or a non-abrasive sponge to remove any of the contents. 

You can use scouring powder to clean the interior, and if you have tougher stains or burnt food, you can always simmer the pot. To do this, you’d fill the pot with water, add some detergent, and leave it on the stove for 20 to 30 minutes. 

Allow the pot to cool and then use a brush or sponge; this method should help you remove those tough stains from the inside.

To restore hard anodized cookware interior, you’d need to season your pot. 

You’d do this by warming the pot up on the stove, while still on the stove coat the pan with some oil and leave it overnight.

Most non stick coatings can’t be restored. If your nonstick coating is damaged – I recommend binning the pan.

Cleaning the Exterior 

If you’re wondering how to clean hard anodized cookware exterior, it isn’t be all that different from washing the interior. You can wash the pot’s exterior without it losing color or shine by gently cleaning the outside. 

You’d still be using non-abrasive detergents and sponges for the pot’s exterior, and you can’t use steel wool to remove stubborn stains on the outside. You can use a powder cleaner with oxalate acid— or oxalic acid—which works on a molecular level to remove tough stains. 

To remove dullness and minor scratches, use a heavy-duty dry sponge or scourer pad and rub in the same direction as the grain of the pan. Then wash it with the oxalate acid cleaner and dry it like normal. 

Things to Avoid When Cleaning Hard Anodized Cookware 

When you store your pot, place the lid upside down on the pot, as this will help prevent any odor that could build up. There are also a few things to be mindful of so that you can keep your pots looking new and enjoy them for years to come. Be careful because if you get these wrong, you won’t be able to restore hard anodized cookware to its original state if it gets damaged. 

Putting It in the Dishwasher 

Firstly, if you do use the dishwasher, make sure to follow my guide on correctly loading the dishwasher. In particular it’s important that the inside of the pans doesn’t touch anything, since that will wear away the non-stick coating.

But, you might not want to put your hard anodized cookware in the dishwasher. Some brands will say they’re dishwasher-safe, but the general consensus is that you’d shorten their lifespan.

The detergent that’s used in dishwashers can be harsh, add that to the temperature of the dishwasher, and the pressure of the water, and you could damage the non-stick coating. 

The dishwasher could also cause the non-stick coating to peel off, chip it, or reduce its effectiveness, which would lead to a lot of burnt meals. If the hard-anodized pots come with a warranty, you don’t want to jeopardize that. 

I’ll confess at this point, that this is a case of do what I say not do what I do! I’ve often put all sorts of cookware in the dishwasher, including hard anodized. I know! It’s a bit naughty of me, but with two children – what can I say?

I do try to make more effort these days to use the dishwasher less for non-stick cookware since it’s so easy to clean.

At least make sure the manufacturer claims the cookware is dishwasher-safe

Using the Wrong Cleaner 

When cleaning your hard anodized pots, you don’t want to use products like oven cleaner, bleach, or an aluminum etching cleaner. These products can contain corrosive ingredients that would do serious damage to the non-stick coating, as well as the pot.

Using corrosive or abrasive products will also make your pots and pans look dull, and even seasoning the pot again may not undo the damage from the chemicals. 

Immersing Hot Pans in Cold Water 

To prevent your pots from warping, it’s best to let them cool down before you attempt to wash them. If you put your hot pots into cold water, this will cause them to warp, and that’s irreparable. 

If you feel you can’t wait and need to soak the hot pot immediately, then boil water in your kettle and add the boiling water to the pot; this will allow you to soak the pot without warping it and will make it slightly easier to clean later once it’s cooled. 

What Next?

Buying pots can be expensive, especially if you have to replace a set every couple of years. Hard anodized cookware may need some extra love when it comes to cleaning, but they’ll last a lifetime if you take good care of them.

Now that you know how to clean hard anodized cookware, you can look forward to cooking many delicious meals in them.

Why not check out my guide to hard anodized cookware to see if there is a new set there that takes your fancy?