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Saucepan handles, a warning

Applies to screwed on handles only
Dishwasher detergent can completely destroy a steel screw, unless made from stainless steel.
Check the screw for signs of corrosion as this can lead to failure with potentially nasty consequences.

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Welcome to the Choice Community.

Some of our saucepan handle screws work loose, regardless of dishwasher cleaning, so not a bad idea to keep an eye on the handles for that reason too.

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Noted some saucepans and pans use rivets in place of screws.

ScanPan brand products appear to use aluminium rivets with a Stainless cap on the inside/food side and bare alloy on the outside. These too will ultimately fail due to caustic corrosion from regular dish washing tablets and powders.

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You could replace the steel screws with stainless steel screws to prevent the problem unless the saucepans are also made of stainless steel in which case that may cause another problem with the stainless steel items “galling” together…

Whilst buying some stainless steel items at a local specialist fastener business some years ago, I asked about a lubricant displayed on the counter and I was told it was to stop stainless items “galling” together, and when it occured, I would definitely know about it as the item would break without turning.

After we bought our current home, I needed to remove a shade sail only to find a turnbuckle had frozen solid.

When I replaced them and other seized turnbuckles, I used “Inox” on them. It is rated as food safe but it may not last long in a dishwasher.

Many years ago, we had a set of saucepans with bakelite handles which the screws would get loose but the handles started to disintergrate before the screws failed.

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Modern non-stick pans are often the culprits re alloy rivets, but it needs to be kept in mind the pans only last (most cases) from 2-5 years before their surfaces are gone and they need replacing anyway. OTOH the stainless pans in my cupboard all have stainless rivets and in all probability will last longer than I.

As long as the rivets last as long as the pan I am not getting excited about that aspect. It is usually evident when alloy rivets erode well before it becomes a safety issue.

As for safety we have had expensive pans with silicon rubber covered handles fail suddenly where the actual handle suddenly rotated under the silicon cover resulting in an expected and sudden spill. (Those ~5 year old pots were replaced under warranty.)

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Have had a resin or Bakelite non metallic handle fail catastrophically breaking just behind the fastener. Fortunately the saucepan was only just lifted from the burner and it dropped back without spilling. The saucepan was years old but looked like either the heat or the hot products of combustion (cooking on gas) had caused degradation close to the area of attachment. Any way replaced with new pan with stainless handle and rivets.

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This is great post as it makes one inspect ones cooking tools or appliances regularly to ensure they are fit for purpose and not likely to fail. This may include tightening screws through to identifying things that don’t look right.

We often forget that things wear and can fail…not due to product quality but through usual wear and tear use which causes some products to eventually wear out.

Whether a handle, power cord or cracks, inspecting regularly may prevent an ‘accident’ occuring which could otherwise have been prevented.

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Mrs she-loves-cooking (I’m lucky) doesn’t like cleaning around rivets, so only a couple of non-stick Aluminium items have them which are relatively new & not often used. The rivets usually outlast the non-stick. All the rest are welded stainless.
I seen some SS riveted brands advertise rivets as a strength advantage. I don’t think it matters in domestic use. We’ve had one weld failure in 20 years, & that budget item lasted 10 years or more. The newest SS items have 25 - 30 year warranties. Likely to outlast us.
BTW, When was the last time choice did a cookware test?

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