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I've got a well seasoned, never soap washed iron frying pan that I love and take care. This pan used to work well and not stick at all. Untill now.

There are now small white stains that make potatoes sticking to. Just potatoes (the last I bought, "agatha" variety), not other food.

To correct that I tried to heat up salt (2mn) and re-seasoning (1mm of olive oil, until smoke appears, I put it under cold water and wipe with paper towels)

It didn't work, white stains are still there and potatoes still stick to.

What may I do? Do I need to wash it with soap? I don't want to do that in order to not break the seasoning, but if I can't do anything else...

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    A well-seasoned pan can take a bit of washing usually. – GdD Apr 11 '17 at 13:57
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    I'd wash it thoroughly enought to get rid of the stains, then reseason a few times - ideally with flax oil at least once, as this will 'dry' and create and impermeable layer very easily – canardgras Apr 11 '17 at 14:00
  • @GdD what do you call a bit? A bit of soap? A bit of elbow grease? a bit of sponge scraper? – Pierre Apr 11 '17 at 14:02
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    @Pierre, some gentle scrubbing with a sponge scraper and dish soap should not ruin your seasoning. – GdD Apr 11 '17 at 17:36
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    It won't ruin your seasoning completely - don't worry. Flax oil is IMO the best oil for seasoning, it smells when it's liquid but not once hardened – canardgras Apr 12 '17 at 7:00
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These are hard-water deposits, mineral residue from your water that can build up over time, and interfere with the pan's non-stick properties.

You can get rid of them with a paste of equal parts baking soda and vinegar applied to the discoloration, and left to do it's work a half hour or so. Attack it with a nylon scouring pad, and finish off with a thorough rinse and dry.

You shouldn't need to re-season the pan when you're finished, but a fresh coat of oil and some time in the oven afterwards couldn't hurt.

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    it's true that there is a lot of limestone in the water... But why white stains didn't appear before? Baking soda and vinegar seems quite hard, you think I will not break my seasoning? I know that acid is good for limestone, but why baking soda? – Pierre Apr 11 '17 at 14:21
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    No, it couldn't hurt, no. I did it. The white stains did go away, and my seasoning too. I was wondering why does the rinse water was becoming black... But, my seasoning was not completely ruined, when I saw that my pan was sticking, I decided to follow your advice (the fresh coat of oil and the oven), and it finally sticked less. I cooked a one-piece omelette, so not so bad... Fortunatly, my guest was not so hungry (although I realized later in the evening that finally she was). I've maybe done something wrong (too much vinegar, not enough baking soda maybe?). – Pierre Apr 13 '17 at 13:34
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    Finally I guess that anyway, if you get rid of the stains, you'll have to re-season a bit. Vinegar and baking soda works well, so thanks @RISwampYankee! And oh yes! thank you for pointing that the (hard-)water is guilty, I will wipe my pan more carefully for now on. – Pierre Apr 13 '17 at 13:46

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