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How to Clean Nonstick Pans So They Last Longer + The Kitchen Staple That May Be Making Your Pans Even Harder To Clean

Hint: Put down the cooking spray!

If you love to whip up grilled cheese sandwiches, omelets or salmon, you probably have some nonstick pans in your kitchen. Not only do they make flipping foods a breeze, they’re also ideal for low-fat cooking since they require much less oil. That special nonstick coating that makes the cookware so appealing, however, is something that you have to be careful with when cleaning. That’s because harsh scrubbing with abrasive materials or metal utensils can scratch or chip the coating, reducing its effectiveness and potentially causing it to release harmful chemicals into your food. That’s why we asked experts to share how to clean nonstick pans properly so that they’re safe to use and long-lasting.

The benefits of nonstick pans

For anyone who prefers to cook homemade meals, nonstick pans are great cookware options to have on hand. The reason: “Food easily slides off, which means you’ll spend less time scrubbing,” says Cheryl Lane, cleaner for DeluxeMaid. “And if there is some residue left, you won’t have to put in as much elbow grease to get it off.”

Nonstick pans are typically made one of two ways: They’re either Teflon-coated or PFOA-free. These are what allow you to cook food on them without it clinging to the pan and creating a mess later. Despite the fact that they’re made of different materials than other pots and pans, many people treat them the same when it’s time to get them clean. But the pros say the de-griming process is actually pretty simple!

How to clean nonstick pans

hand cleaning a non stick pan
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After you’ve finished whipping up lunch or dinner, you may be tempted to get a head start on lifting grime and grease from your pan, but you should wait before you clean it, explains Lauren Allen, who posts food recipes on Tastes Better From Scratch. Let the pan cool fully to room temperature, then wash it. “Dramatic temperature changes can cause the nonstick coating to crack or peel,” explains Allen.

Once your pan has had time to cool, a gentle cleaning approach is best. The experts say the safest method is gentle hand-washing with mild dish soap and a soft sponge, microfiber cloth or a soft-bristle brush. (Note: You’ll also want to stick with warm water).

Related: Ironware Expert: Despite What You’ve Heard, It’s Fine To Wash Cast Iron With Soap

paper towel for how to clean a non stick pan
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How to clean nonstick pans if you’re In a rush and don’t have the time to wait: Give it a quick clean with one household staple: A paper towel! In this case, you’ll want to get the towel damp and wipe the pan’s surface (carefully) while it’s still hot or warm.

How to clean nonstick pans if food still got stuck: Although the coating on the pan was created to make clean-up a breeze, certain ingredients or overcooked dishes can actually result in the pan not living up to its name, leaving you with stuck-on food. The solution: Fill the pan with hot water and let it sit for 20-30 minutes. “This will loosen any baked-on residues, allowing you to wipe the pan clean gently,” shares Allen. “Avoid aggressively scrubbing stuck-on food.”

Whether you gave your pan a quick clean or had to let it soak for a bit, you’ll want to make sure you rinse thoroughly and dry it off immediately. “It’s important to remove all soap residue after washing,” explains Allen. “Fully dry the pan with a soft towel to prevent mineral deposits from building up.”

@home_reimagined

How To Clean A Non-Stick Pan 🍳 Tips for non-stick pans like my @caraway_home : 👏🏼 1) never put them in the dishwasher ❌ 2) never use a rough sponge 🧽 or scrub brush. You can damage the non-stick coating and it will not work anymore 3) wait until the pan has cooled completely before cleaning. Quick changes in temperature on pans can crack them! 😳 4) Let the pan warm up for 60-90 seconds before adding any oil or butter (and only put a little) 🧈 5) store with shelves or dividers in between. Pots and pans should never be stored stacked directly on top of each other. It makes them prone to scratching, which can cause damage the pans, remove parts of the non-stick, or cause decay of the product quicker 😡 What tips do you have for non-stick pans? 🥰 follow for more cleaning tips! #cleaningtips #nonstickcookware #cleaninghacks #cleaningkitchen #cleantok #cleaningtiktok

♬ Summer Breeze – Tobu & Jordan Kelvin James

Burnt oil not coming off? Scrub it with salt! It’s abrasive enough to remove the burnt oil but dissolves fast so it won’t scratch the pan. The YouTube video below shows how easy it is to use:

What *not* to do when cleaning nonstick pans

Though nonstick pans are easy to get clean, you should take a few precautions to ensure you don’t damage the cookware. For example, Allen recommends avoiding using hard scouring pads or steel wool as they can scratch the pan’s finish. (Tip: Avoid harsh cleaning detergents too!)

Another no-go? The dishwasher! “While some manufacturers claim their pans are dishwasher-safe, the truth is that the dishwasher can actually damage the nonstick coating,” advises Lane. “The heat and chemicals in the dishwasher can gradually wear down the surface, diminishing their nonstick properties over time.” Sticking to hand washing them helps keep your nonstick pans just that…nonstick! Accidentally put your pan in the dishwasher and it came out warped? Try these tricks to fix it!

Also smart: Experts agree that using cooking sprays on nonstick pans is not only unnecessary, but can make cleaning even more difficult. In fact, most cooking sprays, like PAM, can also damage the nonstick coating. That’s because they usually contain an emulsifier like lecithin, which adheres to the nonstick surface. It’s not easy to remove emulsifiers with soap and water, so they start to build up on the pan. Eventually, the buildup degrades the surface and leaves your nonstick pan, well, sticky.  Click through for more on what you can use to cook with on nonstick pans.

How to keep nonstick pans in the best condition

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Following the right cleaning approach is important to ensuring your cookware stays in great condition. But there are some things you can do to help prolong the life of your pans. First, experts say you should consider occasionally re-seasoning them. Why? “Over time, the nonstick properties can wear off,” says Allen. “Periodically applying a small amount of cooking oil and heating the empty pan will help restore its non-stickiness.”

According to the YouTube video below, it’s recommended to add 2 teaspoons of any low-smoking oil to your pan and spread it around the base and up the sides. Then heat your skillet up on medium heat for 4 minutes.

Finally, proper storage for your pans can increase their longevity. Allen suggests nesting them upside down in a cabinet or using pan separators. This will prevent scratches on their delicate surfaces.


For more kitchen utensil cleaning tips, keep reading!

How to Clean a Waffle Maker: Pro Tips Make It Easy to Get Off Even Stubborn Stuck-On Food

Ironware Expert: Despite What You’ve Heard, It’s Fine To Wash Your Cast Iron With Soap

The Brilliant TikTok Hair-Dryer Hack To Cleaning Out a Toaster Removes Crumbs No Amount of Shaking Can!

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