This post was most recently updated on February 17th, 2020
Nonstick pans are so good to cook with — see why in my guide to ceramic cookware. You want them to last forever, but how? Here are 3 basic rules to help you enjoy the benefits of your nonstick pans for longer and avoid getting them scratched and ruined.
Rule 1 – Care When Cooking
The first rule starts with not using metal utensils.
This also means not using a fork to flip or a knife to cut ingredients in the pan.
Be sure to use a wooden spoon or bamboo or silicone spatulas and kitchen tools on your nonstick pans.
It includes not overheating the pans. Stick to low to medium temperatures and avoid high flames.
Rule 2 – Care When Cleaning
The second rule starts with not putting them in the dishwasher.
The pans can get knocked by the dishwasher arm or affected by harsh dishwashing chemicals.
Much better to handwash.
It includes not stacking the nonstick pans in the sink with other gadgets and cutlery.
It’s a good idea not to put the pan in the sink with other gadgets but rather clean it separately.
Nonstick pans are so easy to clean with just a quick wipe with a paper towel, there’s no need to take up space in the dishwasher or in the sink for that matter. The only time is when the nonstick surface has already deteriorated and you are no longer treating it specially.
Rule 3 – Care When Storing
Third rule — Don’t stack your cookware.
You can stack your dishes, but never your non stick pots and pans. This will just wear the surface.
If you do, be sure to use pan protectors. Put these between the pans, if you don’t have space and need to stack the cookware.
Are Scratched Nonstick Pans Dangerous?
Is it OK to use scratched non stick pans?
I touched on this in my article on ‘what to know about Teflon and ceramic pans.
I explained why it’s best to avoid food contact with aluminum cookware in my article on what is the healthiest cookware.
If my nonstick pans are scratched, do I need to throw them out?
If the pan loses its nonstick feature, i.e. becomes stickier, when the surface becomes scratched and worn, of course, you can still use them.
They’ll last you forever. But what you typically are left with is an exposure of aluminum in the cooking surface (see above) and a pan in which food sticks without a decent amount of oil or butter. And, that’s not ideal.
You may have heard, there is a way to repair them…
How To Fix A Scratched Nonstick Pan
How do you get scratches out of a non stick pan?
There are sprays available that claim to repair Teflon nonstick cookware. I have not used these. My first thoughts are: Would I want to? Is it worth it? Would there be toxic fumes?
There are sites giving this as a solution to fixing scratched pans. You may want to check these out. But, my recommendation would be to simply discard them or better still, recycle them.