Section 10: Possible problems with a clay pot and how to solve them

Cracks, burnt spots, mold, chips….

Black burned spot on inside bottom of pot

See Washing.

Outside bottom of pot is very black

With use, the bottom of your pot will become black or gray. This is WILL NOT affect the functioning. It happens as a result of a normal oxidation process as would happen with any 100% organic matter like wood, stone etc. (when heat is applied).


However, if it is looking very black and burnt, that usually means your stove heat is too high. The bottom of one of my pots is very black and crusty. This happened because I was using way too much oil, and the oil was drawn out though my pot and burnt. The pot still cooks great – and I notice the black crust getting better over time.

Brown droplets (toxins) on the outside of your clay cooking pot

This is something very beneficial – although it may first appear to be a problem. See MEC: Sometimes See Some brown droplets or bubbles being squeezed onto the outside of The Pot, what is that?


Mold or mildew – Why does it happen? How can I prevent it?

MEC made from 100% pure and primary clay is inorganic and does not promote the growth of mold or mildew by itself, i.e. you can store an unused MEC pot for years without any mold growing on it.  In fact, the anti-bacterial properties of natural clay are known and studied about. Mold or mildew occurs only in the presence of organic matter (food) and moisture, in most cases this happens if the pot was not cleaned and dried properly before storing away. Or if room/kitchen is more humid than usual or lack of adequate air circulation in the room.

Mold stays only on the surface and does not grow in between the walls because there is insufficient oxygen. You can prevent and clean it very easily. This is how:

Wash the pot thoroughly and scrub some vinegar or lemon juice throughout the walls of the pot, both inside and outside. Then rinse under water, drain and wipe with cotton towel to dry it out. Following this, dry it out on stove-top, on low setting with lid off, till the rim is warm to the touch. Let the pot cool down before putting it away. This should help get rid of the mold and prevent it from growing again.

Please store lid and pot separately to allow for adequate air circulation. It’s best to store pots that you have already started cooking with, on the counter or on a open rack or open shelf. Storing inside cabinets is not recommended once you have started using the pots. New and unused pots can be stored inside cabinets.


See proper storing techniques

See different ways of drying your pot

Chipped rim

One day I noticed a chip in the rim. In hindsight, I think this was caused by drying it upside down in my sometimes crowded metal dish rack.

I had the chipped off piece and wondered if there was some way I could attached it. MEC said there was no good way of attaching it, and I was best off living with the chipped lid. It will not effect the pot functionally. MEC recommended I apply some oil to the chipped area and rub it in.

If I wanted to, I could smooth out the chip with 210 gauge sanding paper before applying the oil. It would probably take a few rubs to smooth out.

Bottom coating coming off

This was caused by drying the pot on the stove (or in my case bowl) too much. I make consecutive batches of yogurt every other day. I was drying the pot on the stove after each batch because it looked moist. MEC says this wasn’t necessary, and the good news was bowl can be fixed and it is still very usable.

Bowl with bottom coating off
Bowl with bottom coating off. By the back burner, you can see some of the pieces that came off.

I think it dried too much and it was unevenly wet. The drying on the stove is not necessary every time. And now as the weather is changing the bowls can dry quite well on their own, especially after drying them a few times on the stove.

Let the bowl sit in water so it can uniformly soak the water for 10 to 15 mins, take out, wipe dry, and apply oil to the bottom and surrounding areas. Let it air dry completely for 1-2 days, then you should be able to continue using it.



Hairline crack

The crack itself is small and it does not go all the way through the pot. Repair is not required. However, it is a warning sign to you that you doing something wrong. Change your ways, or run the risk of the hairline crack becoming a substantial crack.

A hairline crack on the inside edge of my yogurt pot

Clay pot with hairline crack on the inside
A hairline crack – it’s just on the inside of the pot.

I think my crack was caused by heating my pot on a gas stove for too long on too high of heat without using a diffuser before the pot was fully seasoned.

The crack is only on the surface and should not affect the functioning of the pot in any way. It will heal over time.

Miriam’s Earthen Cookware

Hairline cracks on the bottom of a pot

Clay pot with a hairline cracks on the bottom
Clay pot with a hairline cracks on the bottom

My friend thinks it’s because she water logged her pot (soaking rice in it for a few hours) and then cooking the rice in it with too high of heat. (Miriam says it’s not necessary to soak rice if cooked in clay.)

Miriam says the bottom looks very dry. She recommended covering the entire outside of the pot with vegetable oil and letting it sit upside down for a day or two before washing and using. The oil will also help fill in the cracks a bit.

Substantial crack

Anything more than a hairline crack. If the crack is serious, it goes all the way through the pot and you see (and hear) the pot dripping liquid when cooking. The good news is most of the most serious cracks can be repaired.

Options for repairing the crack

See I see a crack, is there a way I can fix it? (MEC).

Copper wire under rim

If the pot is leaking, the copper wire is mandatory. If the crack doesn’t go all the way through, the copper wire is still a good idea. There have been cracks where I wish I’d had put the wire on sooner. The wire provides extra stability for the pot.

Usually it is best to put the wire rim on after the crack is repaired. However, if my crack is really bad, I like to use it first, to reduce the crack size, before I go about repairing the pot.

Helpful hints for attaching the wire

  • At first I tried using a copper wire which was too thin, in the tightening process the wire broke. Use at least 16 gauge wire.
  • Miriam’s instructions say to place the wire immediately after filling in the crack. I’ve had a crack so bad, that in order to heat the paste mixture in the pot, the wire had to be put on first. After the paste was applied, I tried to tighten it some more.
  • Putting the wire around the pot is ideally done with two people. One person squeezes the crack together, the other people twists the wire.
  • It is best to have the wire twisted together directly opposite the crack.
  • If you can move the wire horizontally (not vertically) on the pot, it is too loose – try tightening by 1/2 or one complete turn.

The pot will continue to heal with repeated use; however, take it easy on your pot for some time

  • cook at medium low temperatures
  • avoid watery broths
  • avoid oven use

Crack in my large broth pot

Large clay pot after wrapping a copper wire under the rim.

I think my crack was due to two things:

  • Making multiple batches of broth back to back, the clay gets very water logged. When you heat a water logged pot full of bones and water, the heat forces the water in the clay out. This can cause cracking as well. Miriam suggests between broth batches that you dry out your pot on the stove. Just put the empty pot on the stove and use low heat for 5-10 minutes.
  • I usually get three batches of quality gelled broth when I include pig’s feet. Sometimes I don’t get all three batches done in the same day, and I put my pot and bones outside overnight (instead of the refrigerator). I was in a hurry and thought I could very gently heat the pot. Miriam says to always bring the pot to room temperature before heating it.

My worst crack so far

Clay pot with a very bad crack
My worst crack so far – using the pot on a faulty glass-top stove burner

I loaned my small clay pot to a friend. She had just moved and wasn’t familiar with her glass top stove. The burner she placed it on was erratic and malfunctioning, and even though she used the SimmerMat, a giant crack appeared.

Can you use clay power to fill in the crack?

It does not work: clay powder can not fill and close up a crack on a finished, fired clay pot that is now stone. Clay powder cannot even be used to close a crack or fill a hole on a piece that is not fired yet. The integrity and strength of a pure clay pot is during the making, it cannot be fixed or mended with clay once it is more than 40% dry.

I would love to hear from you.
Scroll down to share your experiences & Wisdom.

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8 months ago

My pot chipped on inside bottom trying to make tempering for vegetable curry. I thought that I purchased the wrong pot. I’m wondering if it’s safe to still cook soupy dishes. Sadly, else it would make a planter.

5 months ago

I was preparing jeera rice in my pot with lid closed in very low flame.suddenly with sound my pot lid cracked.

Kirsten Bickley
Kirsten Bickley
5 months ago

I got a clay pot from a friend it already has a crack on the side/bottom and leaks water.
is there a way to fix this?

Last edited 5 months ago by Kirsten Bickley
Mary Kooklin
Mary Kooklin
2 months ago

Hi there I just bought a clay pot brought it home and immediately set it down and broke a very clean piece off the lid. Wondering if u think it can be fixed. It’s like a 2″x 6″ ish off the corner. If I set it on there 7 can’t even tell it was broken. Lol