How To Fix A Scratched Nonstick Pan | 3 Basic Options

This post was most recently updated on March 12th, 2020

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Ceramic nonstick pans are a low fat and healthy way of cooking — see why in my guide. But nonstick surfaces wear with time once they get scratched. We all want to enjoy their benefits for longer. So how do I stop my nonstick pan from getting scratched and worn? How do I fix a scratched nonstick pan? Can I continue using the pan? Read on for breathing life into these pans.

best to replace nonstick pans once surface is worn

How To Make nonstick pans last longer

How do I extend the life of my nonstick pan? You can fix a scratched nonstick pan by refinishing it. The pan itself will last forever. The thing is, to retain its healthy cooking benefits for as long as possible, your nonstick pan requires some easy-care considerations.

I cover three options to fixing that scratched nonstick pan.

How To Fix A Scratched Nonstick Pan

Here is a video showing you how to fix a scratched nonstick pan by completely removing the nonstick coating…

Probably not what you want if you prefer a healthy option.

So…How do you get scratches out of a non stick pan? Can you fix non stick pans? There are cookware repair sprays promoted as a means of fixing scratched nonstick cookware. With these you clean the cooking surface, spray it on and air the pan for 30 mins, and then you bake the pan in the oven for the required time (about 40 mins).

I’m not sure whether these sprays are still available.

I have not used them. 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 google and check these out. But, my recommendation would be to simply discard them or better still, recycle them.

Do Nothing – Continue Using Them

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. It’s just that you may not have the healthiest option.

If my nonstick pans are scratched, do I need to throw them out?

When to throw away non stick pans? Nonstick pans will last you forever. But what you typically are left with is an exposure of aluminum in the cooking surface and a pan in which food sticks without a decent amount of oil or butter. And, that’s not ideal.

I talk more about this in my article on the different cookware material.

How to Prevent your nonstick pan scratching

There are 3 basic rules to preventing scratches on your nonstick pan…

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.

avoid a scratched nonstick pan, nonstick pan metal utensils avoid
Bamboo or wooden utensils are good to use

Care when cooking also means not overheating the pans. Stick to manufacturers instructions. Generally this means low to medium temperatures and avoiding high flames.

See my article on what to know about Teflon and ceramic nonstick cookware.

This care rule also relates to use of oils and fats when cooking with nonstick pans. Once again this will vary with the product and it’s always best to follow the manufacturers recommendations (important for warranty).

But basically, a little oil or fat is generally acceptable and in some cases recommended. The main thing is to avoid overheating the oil or you will ruin it – the cooking surface. This is also unhealthy for you.

I go into this in more depth in my article about using oil in nonstick cookware.

Rule 2 – Care When Cleaning

The second rule starts with not putting nonstick pans in the dishwasher.

Even though the instructions might say they are dishwasher safe, the pans can get knocked by the dishwasher arm or affected by harsh dishwashing chemicals.

It is much better to hand wash, which is simple anyway.

How to clean nonstick pan

How to clean nonstick pans? 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.

Care when cleaning also means 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.

how to clean non stick pan
Avoid putting nonstick pans in the sink with other ware and cutlery etc.

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.

You can stack your dishes but never stack your pans unless you use protectors

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.

See my full guide to using, caring and storing nonstick cookware.

How to Make a Ceramic Pan Non Stick Again?

How to fix a sticky ceramic nonstick pan? You can try adding a little oil to ‘re-season’ it, to improve it’s nonstick nature. This involves coating the ceramic nonstick pan with oil and heating it over low to medium temperature.

Never overheat the oil – avoid the point where the oil starts to smoke or this will ruin your pan rather than fix it.

Once cooled, wipe the pan with a paper towel to remove the extra oil.

It is entirely up to you whether you use this method, which is often suggested. The results will certainly depend on the state of your pan to start with.

Are Scratched Nonstick Pans Dangerous?

Is it OK to use scratched non stick pans?

Can you fix non stick pans
Scratching and wearing of the nonstick surface exposes the aluminum base

One harmful chemical that has been used in nonstick pans, is PFAS. Nonstick cookware, sold in the US today, by law can not contain PFAS. But if your pan has been around for a while it may contain this compound.

I touched on this in my article on what to know about Teflon pans.

I also explained why it’s best to avoid food contact with aluminum cookware in my article on what is the healthiest cookware.

In Summary

So in summing up, there are three basic options for fixing a scratched nonstick pan.

  • Prevention
  • Refinishing or Doing Nothing
  • Replacing

Resources

Cookware Considerations | Review on PFAS |

Related

For more, see my article on keeping your ceramic cookware like new.

Crystal Hodge

Hi, This is Crystal Hodge, a believer in healthy eating starting with the cooking. I'm an outdoor-loving mom and I love helping people make informed choices about healthy cookware. I'm a wholesome living wannabe. All I wanna do is: Live. Love. Cook. Healthily!

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