- Why do attachments oxidize?
- How to stop/fix oxidized KitchenAid attachments
- Option #3: Use a aluminum cleaning agent
- Are all KitchenAid attachments prone to corrosion?
- Why are KitchenAid attachments made of aluminum?
I love my KitchenAid mixer. Not only does it look great, but it takes all the hard work out of preparing for the endless homemade goodies I’m forever whipping up.
While these mixers are extremely handy when it comes to baking and cooking prep, it’s not always sunshine and rainbows. Like everything, KitchenAid stand mixers are prone to experiencing a problem or two.
One of the most common issues is with the aluminum attachments. These burnished aluminum attachments have a bad habit of developing a black residue which makes a horrible mess and turns batter or dough grey. Does this look familiar?
This usually happens for one main reason:
You, or someone else, have put the attachment in the dishwasher.
Even if you have taken care of your precious attachments and washed them by hand, this can still happen if you have left them soaking in the sink or haven’t properly dried them before popping them back in the cupboard.
What you are seeing is a chemical reaction called oxidation, which is the result of the burnished aluminum reacting with oxygen.
If you have experienced this problem, you are certainly not alone. Plenty of bakers have made this mistake at some point and learned a painful lesson because of it.
If you take a quick look at reviews of KitchenAid aluminum attachments, you will see this is a pretty frequent occurrence. For many, this will likely happen with the wire whip that comes standard with every KitchenAid stand mixer. For those who have a higher-end model, like the Artisan Design, then your dough hook and flat beater are prone to oxidization too.
Thankfully, there are some tricks you can try to fix your oxidized KitchenAid attachments. Here are a few of my favorite methods for fixing your attachments and how to ensure this never happens again!
Want to upgrade? I recommend stainless steel attachments so you never have to worry about oxidizing or chipped attachments again!
Why do attachments oxidize?
In a similar way that iron rusts if it is exposed to oxygen and moisture, burnished aluminum reacts with the hot water and the chemicals in the dishwasher soap.
This causes the aluminum to oxidize and results in that gray powder that sheds from your beater. That gray dust is actually aluminum oxide.
The good news (if you can call it that) is that you don’t have to worry that your KitchenAid is trying to kill you. Aluminum oxide is only toxic in extremely high concentrations. In fact, we regularly consume aluminum in small concentrations in our tap water and food, so we are all consuming small amounts of aluminum already.
That said, I wouldn’t recommend continuing to use your attachments if they are shedding aluminum oxide. It’s time to fix those bad boys.
How to stop/fix oxidized KitchenAid attachments
First thing first. Prevention is always better than a cure. The best way to prevent KitchenAid attachments from oxidizing and shedding gray dust into your dough is to hand wash them. Unless you purchased stainless-steel or nylon coated attachments, you should always hand wash all your aluminum attachments.
That said, accidents happen, and if you have subjected your aluminum attachments to a traumatic dishwasher cycle, here are the three most popular remedies for treating oxidation I can recommend. Unfortunately, these remedies will stop the aluminum oxide from shedding, although your attachments are never going to recover to that shiny new look.
IMPORTANT: Avoid using bleach, cleaning agents, or dish soap that are not designed to remove oxidized matter. This will undoubtedly make things worse!
Option #1: For attachments with recent buildup of residue
Simply soak it in warm soapy water. Then gently remove the residue using a nylon scrubber (avoid brushes with wire bristles).
Clean, rinse well, and dry it completely before you store it away.
Option #2: For attachments with deeper levels of oxidation
White vinegar is the secret ingredient to get rid of that unappealing gray dust sticking to your beater.
- Heat water (3 inches) in a large pot or soup pot. This should be non-corrosive pot, so stick to stainless steel, glass or ceramic if possible.
- Now add 3 cups of white vinegar and bring to a boil. Add the beater or whip. Soak the attachment in boiling water for 10-20 minutes, depending on how badly it’s oxidized.
- Remove and rinse well in cold water. Wipe dry with a cloth before you store it away.
You can also use lemon juice instead of white vinegar and follow the same steps for removing residue. For tougher spots that are hard to remove, use a lemon slice dipped in salt and rub it against the whip or beater. Rinse well and dry immediately.
Cream of tartar is another option you should try for cleaning your oxidized attachments.
Option #3: Use a aluminum cleaning agent
KitchenAid actually recommends the use of a powdered cleaning agent which is specially designed to remove aluminum oxide from aluminum products.
Remember to wear gloves when you handle commercial cleaners. Ensure that your cleaner doesn’t contain ammonia, or trisodium phosphate, basically any chemical that can damage your attachment.
As I mentioned earlier, even after using these remedies, resorting to that shiny coating on your attachments is really difficult. Here’s what to expect your attachment to look like after fixing the oxidization.
Notice how much duller the sheen of the metal is?
Are all KitchenAid attachments prone to corrosion?
Most KitchenAid attachments are made with aluminum. However, many come with a protective powder coating that prevents them from oxidizing. These attachments, such as the dough hook and flat beater, can be safely cleaned in the dishwasher.
The regular attachments leave nasty streaks on your hand when handled. If you’re worried about residue leaching onto your food, you’ll need stainless steel attachments. Unfortunately, most tilt-head mixers offered by KitchenAid have aluminum-based attachments. Only a few bowl-lift mixers come standard with stainless steel attachments.
Why are KitchenAid attachments made of aluminum?
If your KitchenAid attachments have oxidized, I feel your pain. After the inevitable tantrum and venting your anger at anyone in your near vicinity, you will probably turn your anger towards KitchenAid.
Given the high price of these machines, why are KitchenAid selling attachments that are not dishwasher safe??
There are numerous reasons for this:
Although both aluminum and stainless steel are the two commonly used materials for making metal utensils, aluminum is the cheaper of the two materials. The main reason for this is it’s widely available and has a lower melting point, meaning less energy is required in the manufacturing process.
As less energy is required to work with aluminum and it’s far easier to shape, the production costs are reduced compared to stainless steel usage.
As manufacturers are always looking to keep costs down and prefer to work with materials that don’t require specialist tools to shape, aluminum remains a popular choice with them.
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There you have it. Next time you see flaky, gray residue on your aluminum attachments, don’t get too alarmed.
Use any of these easy remedies I have mentioned to remove the nasty oxide from your beater or whip. Better still; buy stainless steel attachments when you can!
The best way to prevent this oxidation buildup is to stop putting your aluminum attachments in the dishwasher. Stick to hand washing instead.