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Thread: Stubborn white stains on pans

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Default Stubborn white stains on pans

    I’m looking for any advice on getting rid of stubborn white mineral deposits in the bottom of sugaring pans.

    Two seasons ago I soaked my pan in a 50-50 mixture of vinegar and water and then scrubbed it out but the deposits remained. This year an old timer recommended I leaveI raw sap to ferment for three months. “ it will eat everything and leave your pan cleaned.“ it smells like vinegar and a lot of stuff was loosened up. I hosed it out, scrubbed a bit but the white deposits are also still there.

    What do you do to get rid of them?


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  2. #2
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    I just use white vinegar, full strength, I heat it until warm and let it set, then I wipe it, if not loose yet I warm it again. In the cold weather I warm it until it starts "steaming off". While it is not really steam it looks like steam coming from the pan, in reality it is likely 100-120F. I do not drain the pan until the pans will wipe clean. I use a weed burner torch under the pan to heat it, keep moving the flame to warm it all. Once it will wipe clean, I drain the pan, wipe it down and then flush using permeate (if you don't have permeate, use good soft water), I have a 3 gpm pump that feeds my tankless water heater and I flush with a hose and make sure it is totally clean.
    A white film shows that you most likely have mineral deposits on the surface.
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  3. #3
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    I use the sap method and I have the white powder left on mine too. I usually just leave it set until I'm getting ready to set up for the next season then I simply wash it down with a 20-1 bleach solution. then it's disinfected and ready rock. I use a kitchen scrub pad, but not a course abrasive one. The white usually come right off. I have actually rubbed it off dry with a rag. You may have more mineral in your sap than I do if it is sticking. I glue a scrub pad on a paint stir stick for the flues. The fermented sap will get all the organic material and sugar and some mineral, but if you have heavy mineral you'll have to dissolve that with vinegar. The white mineral I have left has always come right off with very little effort. I don't know if letting it set and dry for a few months helps that or not. Actually when I drain the snot out I powerwash, I don't just scrub. If you got good fermentation on your old sap it should be so thick you have to almost dip it out after a couple months. If it was thin you didn't get good fermentation and it won't work well. Be sure you use raw sap after a pan is completely cool. If you use boiled sap that has just been let cool down it won't work as well. You can mix in raw sap with the left sweet, but I always finish my last sweet.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by maple flats View Post
    A white film shows that you most likely have mineral deposits on the surface.
    Agreed. If all you have is a white film or white spots that aren't strongly adhered to the pans after the water dries, then don't worry about it.
    Dr. Tim Perkins
    UVM Proctor Maple Research Ctr
    http://www.uvm.edu/~pmrc
    Timothy.Perkins@uvm.edu

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrTimPerkins View Post
    Agreed. If all you have is a white film or white spots that aren't strongly adhered to the pans after the water dries, then don't worry about it.
    Here’s what the stain looks like. It is strongly adhered to the pan.

    Last year I did a 50/50 vinegar water soak for a couple of days and it didn’t really make a difference.



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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkL View Post
    Here’s what the stain looks like. It is strongly adhered to the pan.

    Last year I did a 50/50 vinegar water soak for a couple of days and it didn’t really make a difference.



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  7. #7
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    An acid wash is about your next choice if you want it off. Phosphoric acid should dissolve it. If it still is there you can use muriatic acid, but it will have to be diluted and it will etch your pan some. Most don't recommend it, but I have used it on really bad spots and it will get most everything. Just be very cautious and safe.

  8. #8
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    You can also try a caustic (high pH) such as an RO soap in an area to see if that does it. Caustic works on organics including fats in case it has an organic base. I would try a little area first to see if it helps. if it works do the whole pan with it but make sure to do an acid wash after to rinse out the caustic. Caustic should always be followed by an acid on stainless steel or organics will stick pretty bad.
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  9. #9
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    ...and do a final rinse with permeate or deionized water if possible. Likely those are mineral deposits from hard water.
    Dr. Tim Perkins
    UVM Proctor Maple Research Ctr
    http://www.uvm.edu/~pmrc
    Timothy.Perkins@uvm.edu

  10. #10
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    I had the same thing on my pans this year. Vinegar didn't help, lots of elbow grease didn't help, I finally tried the CDL pan cleaner and it lifted those stains off as one big sheet after sitting overnight. Just be sure to run a baking soda solution through your pans after you drain the cleaner to neutralize the acid.
    Mike

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