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I've baked some pie on my anodized aluminum pie pan but things went awry, and some dough was stuck to the pie in the end; I assume it was overbaked? I could remove the pieces but stains were left behind. Here are pictures:

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Are these stains a big deal? Do they mean the pan or anodization has been damaged? What can cause them, or how to avoid them?

I've looked around on how to clean and remove these stains, but have found contradictory advice on using baking soda, or other methods.

Is it possible to remove these stains, and if so, how?

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This looks like you are starting to getting a layer of polymerized oil on the pan, like the seasoning on a cast iron pan.

I wouldn't try removing it. The usual methods are either using a strong base (which works really well) or mechanical forms of removal, which are less effective. But the strong base will corrode your pan, and the mechanical removal will scratch and damage the anodized layer.

You can try the baking soda, but it is so weak a base that it is unlikely to have much of an effect.

I would just continue to use the pan as it is.

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  • Huh. So it's becoming 'non-sticky' in the same way as a cast iron pan? And this does not damage the anodization? – Fimpellizieri Mar 18 at 12:50
  • Yes, it is the same mechanism. However, I doubt that this partial polymerization will give you the full advantage of a proper seasoning, besides you not needing half of it (rus tt protection). It shouldn't actually damage the coating, it is sitting on top of it - but removal attempts might damage it, that's why I would not be too zealous in trying to remove it. – rumtscho Mar 18 at 14:44
  • Thank you. It shouldn't impart any funky flavors too, right? That's weird, I'd think 'seasoning' aluminum pans for non-stickiness (and protection against reactions with acids on non-anodized pans) would be something more commonly spread in this case. – Fimpellizieri Mar 18 at 15:49
  • I don't know why it would be widespread. The primary reason people season iron and blue steel pans is to prevent rust. Aluminium doesn't rust. Anodized aluminium is even better than bare aluminium, which is very rare nowadays. People who want the pan to be nonstick can buy teflon, which works much better than seasoning. And I doubt that the people who used to use bare aluminium a lot were aware of, or cared about, acid reactions. Nowadays there are more people who don't want that, but those who want to care for a seasoned pan are a tiny minority. – rumtscho Mar 18 at 16:19
  • Makes sense. Where I'm from anodized aluminum is not really something common or know much. – Fimpellizieri Mar 18 at 17:23
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I sometimes spray Coca-Cola to wash such stains. It works!

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