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Old 03-01-2007, 12:12 AM
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 3,475
What did I do to my aluminum pot when I put chlorine bleach in it?

I needed a vessel to hold a little chlorine bleach while I attacked some bathtub mold. I used a crappy, but still usable, old aluminum (or aluminum alloy, I suspect) cooking pot that once was coated with teflon. The teflon is mostly worn away, so that there is largely bare metal at the bottom of the pot now.

I added the bleach. There was no immediate noticeable reaction, but after I was done, about 20 minutes later, I noticed that a tough, white, almost plastic-like coating had formed on the metal pot bottom. I also noticed that the bleach was not as effective as it usually is.

Did I effect some sort of reaction between the bleach and metal that rendered the bleach less potent? And what is the white deposit? Can I remove it? Must I remove it if I want to keep using the pot for cooking?

Thanks all, in advance.
Old 03-01-2007, 12:41 AM
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Yes
Posts: 20,327
You made Aluminum hydroxide and aluminum chloride out of your pot.
Bleach has a pH of about 12, which is high enough to disrupt the aluminum oxide layer on your cookeware.
Naked aluminum is reactive stuff.
Old 03-01-2007, 08:44 AM
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 3,475
Okay. But can I still use the pot for cooking? If not, what, if anything, can I do to make the pot usable?
Old 03-01-2007, 09:10 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Hey! I'm located! WOOOOW!
Posts: 36,659
If I was you I'd throw it away. It's likely to be pitted (microscopic perforations, which at this point will most likely not go all the way through) and not last much. Would you rather throw it away now and "lose" some hours utility, or do so after it's started "peeing" hot contents on your hand?
Old 03-01-2007, 09:42 AM
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Yes
Posts: 20,327
If it's one of those (ex)teflon pots made out of 1/8" thick aluminum, just scrub the heck out of it with a scouring pad to remove the white stuff.
Old 03-01-2007, 10:29 AM
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: NH, Escaped from MA
Posts: 2,866
Don't throw it away. It happens to brewers (new ones anyway) all the time.

Clean it well, use a light scour pad (green 3M pads work great). Fill full with water, and bring to a boil.

It'll restore the finish to the inside, and render any remaining acids/bleach/etc too dilute to do any harm.

Rinse well, and DON'T repeat!

Chemicals for cleaning (bleach, ammonia, etc) should be used in a PLASTIC pail, and never combined.

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