Can I sand the coating off a non-stick pan (and have a usable pan at the end)?

I have a nonstick pan - All Clad d5 , 12" skillet, very heavy, very well made, balanced, conducts heat like a dream, has a perfectly fitting heavy lid.

But it has a non-stick surface (teflon or teflon-ish material) that is no longer non-stick.
(It was a gift - I wouldn’t have bought such an expensive non-stick pan for myself).

It has served me well for about 8 years, and while it is no longer useful as a nonstick pan, it is potentially still a fabulous pan.

Can I sand off the remaining “non-stick” finish, using ordinary tools and human power, and get a usable pan at the end?

Could I actually get it smooth enough? (I’m not concerned about cooking in aluminum cookware, in case you’re worried that the layer I expose will be aluminum)

If yes, what kind of tools might I need?

If not, what kind of non-human-powered tools might let me accomplish this?

The thing cost almost $200. The [del]cheap[/del] frugal yankee in me balks at discarding it.

A little more info - I have actually found several versions of how-to instructions for sanding it off.

What I haven’t found is info about how usable the pan is afterward. Stainless and aluminum pans are very smooth.
I’m having a hard time picturing the end results of me hand-sanding the pan being smooth enough to work well.

Would it need polishing of some sort after the sanding?

Those pans have a lifetime guarantee. Before I did anything, I would contact their customer service and see if they will repair or replace it for you. I glanced at their warranty and, while they do say

they do not say they won’t honor their warranty if you don’t have the proof of purchase. They also are clear to state the warranty is only valid in the country in which the cookware was sold, so that may be why they want the Proof of Purchase. Obviously, they aren’t going to honor the warranty if you take sandpaper to it.

Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) is a potentially nasty chemical with a reputation for killing birds that inhale smoke from overheating.

I’d at least wear a respirator.

I’ve done it to a steel wok, used steel wool, started with coarse finished with fine. Seasoned the pan by using it, worked fine for me.

Sure, but they specifically don’t cover heat-related damage to non-stick, wear and tear, or damage from metal utensils.

That said, I found this whlie googling:

Where did the “worn-off” teflon go?

In the case of my pan, I assume it’s either coated with something (see bump’s post) or has partially worn away, in which case it went into my food or down the sink with the dishwater.

I suspect what I have is wear and tear and/or heat-related damage. Miraculously I don’t have any actual scratches!

I just tried the baking soda trick. The baking soda did turn brown. I gave it two scrubs, and while the surface does feel nice and smooth, I’m not convinced it looks any different. I’ll try this off and on all weekend (provided I remember to buy more baking soda)

Nitpick for All Clad customer service: Equal parts baking soda and water does NOT make a paste. It’s more of a slurry.

Yeah, I’d have thought that maybe “enough water to make a paste” made more sense.

“Equal parts” of two things with different densities is ambiguous. Similarly, hydrogen is 2/3 of water counting by atom, but only around 1/9 by mass.

They really recommend Barkeepers Friend for nonstick? It’s a powdered cleanser like Ajax - I use it for porcelain and stainless steel, but would have thought it was too abrasive for Teflon.

My guess is that it’s an in extremis type use; they probably do not recommend it for regular use, but it’s probably mild enough to use every now and again when your non-stick pans quit working right.

I remember looking around a while ago when I was wondering about doing the same thing to one of my pans. I remember someone saying you can leave something acidic in the pan for a long time (like tomato sauce) and it will eat away at the teflon. I also remember someone saying the pan is rough because they want the teflon to be able to grip, so it might not be a great pan afterwards.

I have an old Silverstone coated pan (Club brand), the coating has completely worn away from the flat bottom of the pan. It’s shiny aluminum now. I am not sure how it got that way, other than scrubbing or the dishwasher. I use it regularly and have suffered no ill effects. I say give it a whirl if you can’t get Allclad to help you replace it. Of course it won’t be non-stick anymore. You can season it over time, though.

I’d just put it in a big ziplock and send it back to them. They will either send you a new one or e-mail you with options.

All-clad, like Coach, is expensive specifically because they are expected to support it forever. Both are also very profitable because very few people ever hold them to it.

It’s not PTFE that’s nasty – it’s incredibly nonreactive and benign (which is why they make things implanted into the body out of it). It’s the precursors used to make it that can be nasty, and the degradation products if you partially combust it when removing it.*

  • It’s really hard to break it down chemically, since you gotta snap all those C-F bonds, although you could do it with some very powerful oxidizers.

Yes, this. The PTFE is the least worrisome thing in this picture. It’s safer then the aluminum is, and probably anything else in there. Respiratory protection is generally a nice idea when sanding stuff, but the PTFE is about as safe as it gets, unless you were taking your belt sander to a pile of Saltines.

Barkeepers friend is barely abrasive. It’s cleans and polishes by acid, Oxalic acid, which is a medium-strong acid, at least compared to most kitchen stuff. It you are leaving the paste thick enough to work as an abrasive, it’s pretty strong in that formation.

Shoot, I’d get some brillo pads and just scrub. Use some elbow grease. It might work.