How to clean non-stick pans the safe and easy way

A great nonstick pan is a kitchen essential, but these stovetop workhorses can be temperamental and one wrong move can leave you with a ruined pan. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of room for user error when it comes to cooking, cleaning, and storing a nonstick pan.

Non-stick pans have very specific rules when it comes to cooking, cleaning and storage. To break down the proper use, cleaning, and storage of nonstick cookware, we spoke to experts Wendy Dyer, product director at All-Clad, and Nate Collier, director of marketing communications at Le Creuset, who explained the do’s and don’ts of caring for nonstick cookware. Surfaces.

Non-stick pans need special care to last a long time. There are cooking utensils that are safe to use on a nonstick surface, and it’s important to know what they are. Likewise, when cleaning a non-stick cooktop, certain cleaning products and tools are to be avoided. And finally, storing a coated pan correctly is crucial to avoid damage. These cooking, cleaning and storage products are the right ones for use with nonstick pans.

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Le Creuset Silicone Craft Series Utensil Set with Stoneware Pot

The choice of cooking tool is crucial when it comes to using a nonstick pan safely. “Creuset silicone tools are recommended,” says Collier, adding, “You can also use tools made of wood or heat-resistant plastic.”

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Mooues wooden cooking utensils with utensil holder

Wooden cooking utensils can also be used for deep cleaning; Dyer recommends cooking a 50/50 mixture of white vinegar and water and gently scraping any stubborn residue off the pan surface with a wooden spoon or spatula.

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Palmolive Essential Clean Liquid Dishwashing Liquid

Both Dyer and Collier recommend washing nonstick cookware by hand rather than in the dishwasher — even if the pan is dishwasher safe. “To maximize the life of your nonstick coating,” says Dyer, “avoid using a dishwasher because of the harsh detergents, high temperatures, and residue that’s left behind.”

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Scotch-Brite Dobie all-purpose pads

Dobie Pads are non-scratch scrubbing pads that are safe to use on non-stick surfaces.

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Swedish tea towels

If you don’t like sponges, try our popular Swedish tea towel. This option is extremely absorbent and comes in a pack of fun colors so you can target specific wipes for specific tasks. Read more in our review here.

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Flour sack tea towels

After washing a non-stick pan, dry it thoroughly with a lint-free dish towel before storing it away. Flour sack tea towels can also be used to protect non-stick pans during storage; Simply place the towel in the pan before stacking another pan on top.

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Heinz All-Natural Distilled White Vinegar

White vinegar can be used to thoroughly clean a nonstick cooktop.

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Arm & Hammer Pure Baking Soda Shaker

A paste of baking soda and water can help gently remove stubborn buildup from non-stick surfaces.

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Reeqmont Heavy Duty Pot Rack Organizer

A pot rack organizer can help protect non-stick cooktops during storage. Never stack pots and pans directly in a non-stick pan to avoid damaging the surface.

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Rovo stackable pot and pan protectors

Felt and silicone pot and pan protectors are another way to ensure a coated pan doesn’t get damaged when not in use.

“For general cleaning and maintenance,” says Collier, “chill the pan for a few minutes before cleaning. Do not immerse a hot pan in cold water. Although the pan is dishwasher safe, hand washing is recommended.” Collier and Dyer recommend washing a non-stick pan as follows:

Step 1: After cooking, clean the pan shortly after when it is cool to the touch.

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Step 2: If there is significant residue in the pan, soak it in warm water and dish soap for a few minutes before rubbing it in with a sponge. If not, simply wash the pan with a sponge and hot, soapy water.

Step 3: Wipe the pan clean with a sponge or tea towel.

Step 4: Rinse with warm water.

Step 5: Dry with a soft towel.

To remove heavy residue, Dyer recommends two methods for thoroughly cleaning a nonstick pan:

Method 1: Cook a 50/50 mixture of white vinegar and water in the pan while gently removing any stuck bits with a wooden spoon. From there, soak the pan in hot, soapy water to help release the food.

Method 2: Make a paste of baking soda and water and use a dobie pad to scrub the nonstick surface. Dyer notes that this method should be used sparingly: “This should only be used on rare occasions for grooming, not everyday cleaning.”

Collier and Dyer shared the following tips for properly cooking, cleaning, and storing a nonstick pan.

“Before first use,” says Collier, “you should remove all packaging and labels. Wash the pan in hot, soapy water before rinsing and drying thoroughly. Condition the inner non-stick cooking surface by rubbing a film of vegetable or corn oil over the entire cooking surface with a paper towel. Rinse the pan with hot water and dry thoroughly. The pan is now ready for use.”

  • Use low or medium heat when cooking on a nonstick surface, as nonstick coatings are more delicate than bare metal surfaces. The pan should not be used for preheating or for cooking on the highest level. Too high surface temperatures will damage the non-stick cooking surface.
  • Add a small amount of oil or fat to the cooking surface before heating to enhance the flavor and browning of the food.
  • When the oil or fat gets hot enough to smoke, cool the pan before continuing. If oil or fat smokes, it is a sign that your pan is too hot.
  • For fat-free cooking, preheat the pan on medium for about two minutes before adding the food.
  • Never use cooking sprays; They leave a residue that permanently adheres to the nonstick coating, reducing its adhesion.
  • Always use wooden, silicone, or nylon utensils when cooking on a nonstick surface; In general, it’s best to avoid using metal utensils.
  • Metal tools, spoons or whisks can be used with care but should not be used roughly or scraped over the non-stick surface.
  • Do not bang utensils on the top edge of the pan.
  • Knives or other utensils with sharp edges should never be used to cut food on the non-stick surface.
  • Hand held electric or battery powered mixers should not be used on the non-stick surface.
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  • Do not use metal or scouring pads.
  • Do not use abrasive cleaning agents.
  • Clean thoroughly between uses. Dyer notes that “while pans look clean, they actually have oil residue that can build up over time and reduce the release of your nonstick coating.”
  • If the pan is regularly cleaned in the dishwasher, says Collier, “there may be some darkening of the rivets and outer ring of the base, or a powdery white coating may form. This is normal and does not affect the performance of the pan. The dull or white deposits on the surface can be removed by gently cleaning the affected areas with a soft nylon pad and detergent. Rinse and dry thoroughly after cleaning.”
  • If you clean a non-stick pan in the dishwasher, Collier recommends reconditioning the cooking surface with vegetable or corn oil before next use.
  • Use a pot rack instead of stacking to avoid scratching metal to metal.
  • If you must stack, use a towel or pan protector between each cookware.

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