How To Clean & Care For Non Stick Pans
Despite the boasts of the shopping channels, there is no miracle non-stick that stays at optimum non-stick forever. Better formulas will last longer though – you get what you pay for. And the best will still be usable when the non-stick fades – you’ll just need more oil. If you’re going to invest in good non-stick cookware, there are a few simple rules to follow if you want to get the maximum non-stick lifetime from it.
How to clean your non-stick pan
Hand wash your non-stick
Dishwashers will subject your non-stick to high temperatures and subject them to a process that will reduce the effectiveness of your non-stick in no time. Far better to hand wash. Ideally, wash your pan while still warm so food doesn't dry-on. Then simply...
1. Empty the pan
Use a wood or silicone spatula to scrape as much leftover ingredients into the bin as possible. Remember never to tip oil down the sink - it will block your pipes - excess oil needs to go into a container and into the rubbish.
2. Rinse your pan
Give the pan a rinse before you wash it properly. If there are loads of bits, rinse into a sieve and throw these in the rubbish to prevent blocking your drains.
3. For really caked-on food
(This step is only necessary if food is really baked-on to the pan, otherwise, skip to Step 4)
Put a few tablespoons of white vinegar into the pan and fill two thirds full with water. Bring to a simmer and you'll see oil rise to the surface of the water. Put a piece of kitchen towel over the surface of the water to collect the oil, collect with a pair of tongs and throw in the bin.
4. Give your pan a bath
Fill your sink or washing up bowl with hot water and a squeeze of washing up liquid and leave to soak for a few minutes.
5. Wipe your pan clean
It should be super easy to remove any leftover residue at this stage. You need only wipe with a sponge or a cloth - scrubbing with anything more abrasive will reduce the lifespan of the non-stick.
6. Rinse the pan and dry
Rinse your pan with clean water and dry with a tea towel. We recommend beautifully soft organic cotton tea towels if your pan and hands deserve serious pampering!
How to make a non stick pan last longer
Use silicone or wooden utensils
Many non-stick pans boast that they’re metal utensil safe. The manufacturers will also tell you your non-stick will last longer if you don’t use metal utensils with your non-stick pans. Metal will scratch your pans and its abrasive nature will wear down the non-stick coating prematurely. Silicone or wood is non-abrasive and the way forward for longer lasting non-stick.
Use at low to medium heat
Use the right pan for the right purpose. If you have a gas hob, you really need to take note of this if you’re to avoid a lifetime of throwing away pans, as gas will get your pan ferociously hot with incredible ease. For searing (an entirely different thing to frying), invest in a cast iron frying or griddle pan that will be perfectly happy at high temperatures.
Less of an issue, but for boiling, perhaps go for a steel stockpot or saucepan. These won’t give you that slippy quality that makes frying garlic without burning it easy, but again, you can use steel at higher temperatures without worrying about reducing your non-stick’s efficiency.
Drizzle rather than spray when cooking
Oil sprays may be great for adding a mist of oil over salad or something you’re about to bake and keeping the calories low, but such a fine layer of oil (particularly olive oil, which has a low 'smoking point') over a pan burns incredibly easily. When it does, it can be hard to shift.
Care For Non Stick Pans FAQs
How to clean non stick pans with burnt on food
Fill the pan with water and a few drops of washing up liquid. Simmer for half an hour, empty, then wipe the surface with oil.
How to clean non stick pans with baking soda and vinegar
Fill the pan almost to the top with water and add two to three tablespoons of white vinegar. Add two tablespoons of baking soda and stir. Heat and bring it to a boil for a couple of minutes. Empty and wash as normal.
Can non stick pans go in the dishwasher?
Our advice is to invest in the best pan you can afford and hand wash it. It isn't just about longevity - you'll enjoy your cooking experiences so much more! A dishwasher will fire chemicals at the non-stick surface that will prematurely diminish its non-stick performance.
Can you make a pan non stick again?
This depends on how far gone it is, and whether it's food stuck to the pan or the non-stick layer has just worn away. If it's the latter, nothing will restore it, and manufacturers generally don't resurface pans, as when you take into account carriage and time it'll usually be cheaper to make a new one.