For many bakers, their KitchenAid stand mixer is their most prized possession. It has helped you through countless manic holiday seasons, legions of school bake sales, and endless trays of sweet treats and has never let you down. However, if there’s one problem that seems to plague many KitchenAid users is that the enamel on the coated attachments is extremely prone to chipping.
It never fails to pain me when I noticed the powder coat on my KitchenAid mixer attachments starting to chip and wear away. After going through my fair share of replacements, I thought it was about time I started to pay more attention to what was causing the chipping and learn what I can do to help prevent this widespread problem.
If you have encountered this problem yourself, and want to find out why this is such a common problem, you are in the right place!
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Why does the powder coating chip?
The white (or sometimes silver) flat beaters and dough hooks are coated with a food-grade polyester-based powder coating. While this finish is prone to chipping if not used or stored properly, powder coating is actually one of the most durable finishes you will find. It’s far superior to the alternative of conventional liquid painting.
Powder coating is a high-grade finish that is used on a wide range of metal components that require a durable surface, like car and motorcycle parts, outdoor furniture, and kitchen appliances. The coating is applied as an electronically-charged dry powder spray, which causes the powder to stick to the application surface. It is then cured and set in heat, which creates a hard and shiny finish.
The end result is a paint job that is thicker, stronger, and more durable than traditional paint. It also guarantees a smoother finish too, with no drips or runs as you would get with a liquid alternative.
As great as it is, powder-coated KitchenAid mixer attachments are notorious for chipping. It can happen to any part of the attachment and can occur for a number of reasons. Here are a few of the most common culprits for chipped KitchenAid attachments.
Hitting the attachment on the side of the bowl
This is probably the main reason why people find their attachment’s coating chipping. As the flat beater rotates around the bowl, it is inevitable that some batter, especially tough batter like cookie dough, would get caught in between the crossbars.
When the mixer has stopped mixing and there is some batter residue on the paddle, many of us will hit the attachment on the side of the bowl to release any remaining batter (guilty as charged).
This can not only cause the coating to chip but also, over time, can cause the paddle to bend out of shape if you are hitting it with force. Not to mention that you can also damage your bowl by doing this.
Stainless steel bowls are a bit more durable and you’ll probably get a scratch or two. But, if you are hitting the attachment on a ceramic bowl, you will no doubt end up chipping it as well.
How to prevent chipping:
Instead of hitting the attachment off the side of the bowl, try removing any residue batter with a silicone spatula. Silicone spatulas are great for this kind of job as they are flexible enough to get the batter off the crossbars.
Another thing you can do is remove the batter with your finger. Just run your finger along the sections of the paddle where there is batter and it should come right off.
Bowl clearance not adjusted properly
All KitchenAid stand mixers are factory set to clear the bowl by about a 16th of an inch. This leaves some room for the attachment to rotate without hitting the bottom of the bowl.
The more you use your KitchenAid the bowl clearance is likely to shift, causing the attachment to either be too low or too high. If the attachment is too high, you shouldn’t have any issues with chipping. But, when the attachment is too low it will hit. the bottom of the bowl. This can cause the enamel coating to chip while also scratching the bottom of your bowl.
How to prevent chipping:
Learn how to adjust your Kitchenaid mixer. This can be done yourself without needing to take your mixer to a professional. Once you know how to do it, it only takes a few minutes and can save your attachments and bowl from further damage. The best way to ensure you have the correct clearance is with the Dime Test.
Here’s how it’s done.
Not adjusting the bowl properly
The KitchenAid bowl clips in the base of the mixer to keep it in place while you mix. It is really easy to do and only takes a few seconds, but sometimes the bowl might not be locked in properly.
When this happens, the bowl will be slightly raised. This can cause the attachment to hit the bottom of the bowl while mixing and chip the enamel coating.
How to prevent chipping:
Make sure that you have locked the bowl into place properly before you start mixing. The KitchenAid bowl should sit flush with the base, with no gaps in between.
Forcing attachment on the beater shaft
If you have noticed that the top of your attachment is starting to chip, it might be because you have been forcing it on the beater shaft.
The attachments are meant to lock on easily, so there is no need to use force when attaching or detaching them. If you do find that you need to use a little bit of force, then there is likely something preventing the attachment from fitting properly.
It is important to take care when attaching and detaching the attachments as you can damage both the attachment and the beater shaft.
How to prevent chipping:
Before you lock your beater or dough hook in place, make sure you locate the notch on the beater shaft and align it with the keyhole on the attachment. Be gentle when doing this and don’t force the attachment in.
If it feels like there is something preventing the attachment from attaching properly, make sure to give your mixer, and attachment a good clean.
The solution to KitchenAid enamel chipping? Stainless steel attachments!
The great thing about the enamel attachments is that they are all dishwasher friendly. But, once the enamel begins to chip away it is no longer dishwasher safe. This is because the aluminum alloy underneath the coating will oxidize, causing it to discolor and shed that hobble grey powder.
Chipped attachments can also begin to flake into your batter. Although this does not pose any health issues, it’s not exactly ideal serving your guests a cake full of aluminum oxide that has shed from your beater.
If you find that your attachments are chipping more often than not or you are worried that the enamel will flake into whatever you are mixing, then it is probably a good time to look into stainless steel attachments.
Stainless steel attachments are significantly more durable and won’t chip or bend out of shape. They are also dishwasher shape, so you will never have to worry about destroying your precious attachments again.
While they may be a bit more expensive, stainless steel attachments are definitely worth the investment if you are looking for durability.
Here are some of my favorite stainless steel KitchenAid attachments.
- 4.5 and 5 Quart Stainless Steel Flat Beater (Tilt-Head)
- 7 Quart Stainless Steel Flat Beater (Bowl-Lift)
- 7/8 Quart PowerKnead Dough Hook
When it comes to attachments, there are pros and cons to both enamel and stainless steel. It really comes down to personal preference and what you are looking for in an attachment. If you want something that is cheaper and dishwasher safe, then enamel is a good choice. You really need to take extra care of your enamel-coated attachments if you don’t want them to chip.
But, if you are looking for something that is more durable and doesn’t chip then stainless steel is the way to go!