Nonstick pans have become the go-to kitchen utensils for most people. In 2019, the retail sales of nonstick pans in the United States rose to 1.4 billion dollars. The amount has been on a steady rise since then.
This revolutionary kitchen utensil has gained popularity over the years. It is ideal for flipping, frying, and turning eggs, pancakes, bacon, or foods that usually stick to the regular pans.
As ideal as these pans are, their chances of lasting for a long time are slim if they aren’t properly maintained. A common mistake people make is treating nonstick pans like regular stainless steel pots and pans. They use harsh detergents, tossing it into dishwashers like they would stainless steel.
Now, here’s a crucial question.
Can nonstick pans go in the dishwasher?
No. They can’t. Using a dishwasher for your nonstick pans could destroy the pan’s coating gradually. It would take away the non-stickiness of the pan. In other words, it slowly removes the coating that makes it “nonstick.”
There are high-quality nonstick pans that claim to be dishwasher-friendly. You should beware of those too. Their coating may not get tarnished on the first day, but it will eventually. You should always hand wash and hand dry your nonstick pans.
If you care to learn more about nonstick pans, keep reading.
Why Are Nonstick Pans Special?
Nonstick pans are not your regular pans. They come coated in a material called polytetrafluoroethylene, popularly known as Teflon.
Teflon is an artificial chemical made from a combination of fluorine and carbon atoms. Coating any pan with Teflon makes it easier to use and clean. Additionally, you can make healthier meals with nonstick pans. They require less oil than other pans or pots.
Teflon has been in use for several years now. Pans and pots are not the only places it serves a purpose. Manufacturers of waterproof outdoor materials like raincoats, producers of carpet protectors, cable coating, etc., use Teflon.
How To Wash Your Nonstick Pans
When washing your nonstick pans, you must take utmost care. If not, you may have to replace yours sooner than you expected. Here is how to clean your nonstick pans:
Always hand wash after use:
You know that your nonstick pan shouldn’t go into your dishwasher, even when their labels say they can.
Clean your pan after use with a soft washcloth or sponge and a mild dishwashing liquid or powder. Rinse the pan after washing with lukewarm water. Never use hot water on your pan.
Hot water and harsh washing soaps can gradually damage your nonstick pans. Some people wipe their nonstick pans with towels dipped in soapy water. Although their intention is understandable, it is an ineffective way to clean your pan.
To remove grime from your pans, use a microfiber sponge or washcloth with mild dishwashing soap. If you must soak your pan, do so in warm soapy water for 10-20 minutes.
Use baking soda:
There are times when a soft sponge may not do the cleaning trick. At these times, use baking soda. Mix baking soda with an equal quantity of water. Use a brush to spread the paste around the nonstick pan and leave for about fifteen minutes. Then rinse.
Do this instead of using a metallic sponge or any metallic object to scrub your pan. Also, bear in mind that baking soda is an abrasive substance. You shouldn’t scrub it into your pan. Just apply.
Try oil and salt:
You can do this before and after handwashing. Add a small quantity of vegetable oil into your pan (2-3 spoons) and then heat (medium heat). Follow up with about three spoons of salt, table, or sea salt.
Shake the pan until the oil and salt touch all parts of the pan. Then allow it to cool. Once it cools then hand wash the pan.
Always hand dry:
To prevent rust, never store your nonstick pan wet. Always dry it with a clean, soft rag or a dishtowel.
The Do’s And Don’ts Of Using Nonstick Pans
To fully maximize your nonstick pans for long periods, you should know and apply the following do’s and don’ts:
Always clean and dry your pans after use:
Try to avoid leaving your pans without washing them for long hours. Taking too long to wash them may cause oil to stick to the Teflon coating.
Many times when the inside of your pan starts discoloring, it is from oil and grease stains that have latched on to the Teflon coating. Once these stains become challenging to remove, your food starts to stick to your pan.
So, don’t leave your pans dirty for too long to ensure the Teflon effect lasts long. You should also hand-dry your pans immediately after washing to prevent rust.
Don’t use metals on your nonstick pans:
You can forget to apply any other non-stick pan rules (please don’t forget), but you mustn’t forget this. Metal utensils like spoons, knives, or forks would scratch the surface of your pan.
Don’t use metal forks or whisks to stir anything in your pan. Don’t cut anything with a metal knife in your nonstick pan. Only use utensils that can’t scratch your pans. Use plastic, wooden silicone, rubber, or nylon utensils with your nonstick pan.
Don’t use aerosol cooking sprays:
Generally, aerosols sprays are harmful to your pots and pans, primarily when you use them with heat. A few things can ruin your nonstick pan faster than an aerosol cooking spray.
When you use these sprays on your nonstick pan with heat, they begin to coat your Teflon-coated pan. Use it continuously, and your pans get damaged. You can use regular oils or self pump oils. You can only use aerosol spray oil on your nonstick pans when the activity doesn’t require heat.
Don’t use high heat on your nonstick pans:
Most nonstick pans come with heat warnings. Don’t ignore these warnings. They indicate how much heat the pan can take per time.
Different pans have different heat ranges, but they all fall within 375°F-450°F. Some labels may indicate higher temperatures, but it is best to keep it within this range. Also, your coating determines how much heat the pan can take. Double-coated pans can withstand more heat than single-coated ones.
Excess exposure to heat can cause the nonstick pan to lose some of its Teflon coatings. When using electrical skillets as well, be conscious of the heat range.
Don’t expose your nonstick pans to significant temperature changes:
Exposing your pans to substantial temperature changes is the reason they get distorted. For example, taking a hot pan and immediately exposing it to a cooler temperature.
Industrial pans can get through these temperature changes without distortions. However, a continued exposure would most likely distort your pan in the long run.
Using a distorted pan is difficult because of the uneven distribution of heat. Leave your nonstick pans to cool before exposing them to cooler temperatures.
Always use soft dishwashing powder or liquid:
Avoid using harsh soaps on your nonstick pan. Avoid using bleach, dishwasher detergents, Ajax, or any other harsh soap (liquid or powder). Most soap made for handwashing dishes is soft and suitable for your nonstick pan. Use them.
Avoid storing food in your nonstick pans:
Don’t turn your pan into a storage bowl. If you must keep food, don’t do it in your nonstick pan. To protect your nonstick pans from damage, you should remove your cooked food from them after cooking.
Store your nonstick pans properly:
One of the best ways to store your pan is by hanging it. This way, it doesn’t get scratches. If you can’t afford to hang your nonstick pans, don’t fret. You can easily arrange them in a way that sharp objects can’t scratch them. Also, don’t stack them inside each other, so they don’t scratch themselves.
Try seasoning your pan with oil:
Some nonstick pans come with instructions to season your pans. They tell you when and how.
Seasoning your pan with oil allows it to last longer. After using your nonstick pans for an extended period, they may start to lose their Teflon coating. This loss may happen whether you maintain it well or not. Seasoning your pan with oil allows it to last longer than it would normally.
To season your pan with oil, rinse the pan and dry it properly. Use a paper towel. After drying, use another paper towel to rub a small quantity of oil inside the pan. Then preheat your oven for 300°F.
After this process, place the pan in the preheated oven for 60 minutes. Remove it and allow it to cool. Then wipe off the oil afterward.
You can do this as often as is recommended in the nonstick pan instruction manual. Or you may choose to rub in a small amount of oil every time you want to use it.
You shouldn’t put your nonstick pan in the dishwasher. But this doesn’t mean you can’t properly clean your pan with your hands. This post shows you how to maintain and clean your nonstick pans easily.