How to Restore an Aluminum Pressure Cooker

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Restore an aluminum pressure cooker to look and cook good as new.
Restore an aluminum pressure cooker to look and cook good as new. (Image: Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

Before there were microwave ovens, pressure cookers were the fast way to cook a meal. Quick cooking in the pressurized environment helps the food keep its flavor as well as its nutritional value. Pressure cookers were also invaluable in the days when a family would preserve the harvest from their garden by canning everything from green beans and tomatoes to peaches and applesauce. If you've been fortunate enough to have acquired Granny's aluminum pressure cooker, it may need a bit of cleaning, but you'll be amazed at the quick and tasty meals you can prepare with it.

Things You'll Need

  • Dish soap
  • Dish towel
  • Baking soda
  • Steel wool scouring pad
  • Cream of tartar
  • Water
  • Silver polish

Wash the pressure cooker and the lid inside and out with warm, soapy water. Dry the entire cooker thoroughly with the dish towel.

Fill the pot nearly full (up to 2 inches below the rim) of warm water and dissolve 2 tablespoons of the cream of tartar in the water.

Bring the water to a boil over high heat, reducing it to medium high once the water starts boiling. Allow the water to boil for at least 10 minutes or until the interior of the pot is no longer discolored.

Pour the water from the pan and allow the pan to cool enough to be handled. If there are stains remaining in the interior or on the exterior of the pan, use the steel wool pad to gently scrub them away. Take care not to scrub too aggressively.

Apply the silver polish to the exterior of the pressure cooker and the lid. Rub it on using a dry dishtowel or other soft cloth and follow the instructions on the packaging.

Tips & Warnings

  • If boiling the water and cream of tartar solution doesn't quite do the trick of making your pressure cooker sparkle, try adding 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to the mixture and bring to a boil again. Sometimes stubborn oxidation needs the boost of citric acid to be fully eliminated.
  • Try to find the finest grain of steel wool available. Although it is often necessary to scrub the interior and even the exterior of an aluminum pressure cooker, steel wool that is too coarse can scratch the surface of the cookware.
  • To maintain the rubber ring on the pressure cooker, regular applications of vegetable oil after use and washings will keep the rubber seal pliable and intact. If the seal on your cooker is stiff and/or cracking it is best to purchase a new rubber sealing ring from a cookware supply store.

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