Although cast iron is most people’s favorite cookware piece, nonstick pans have also found their way in many kitchens. Nonstick pans are a healthier alternative to the usual pans since they require less oil.
However, not many people know that this cookware requires a lot of attention. Its average lifespan is 5 years. However, you could be forced to swap out your pan for a new one sooner than you thought if you don’t take proper care of it.
Here are 9 things that you may be doing that are damaging your nonstick pan:
1. Cooking in High Heat
Unlike cast iron pan, non-stick pans are not designed to handle very high heat because of their nonstick surface. Cooking on high heat can cause the pan to have uneven heat distribution and reduced performance. Additionally, high heat can release harmful chemicals that can affect your health.
For this reason, it is advised to cook in low or medium heat. If you want to cook foods that require high heat, opt for cast iron pan, stainless steel pans, or Dutch ovens instead. Sauté cookware or induction cookware are great for scorching hot cooking like searing and sautéing.
2. Using Cooking Spray
Although cooking sprays have their benefit, they are not ideal to use on non-stick pans. When used on nonstick pans, cooking spray can build up on the surface over time. This can create a residue layer that is almost impossible to get rid of.
Oil or butter is advisable when using nonstick pans. They don’t cause a buildup of residue, making them safe for your pan. If you have to use sprays, make sure that it is nonstick or contains oil only.
3. Cleaning with Scouring Pad
Cleaning your nonstick pan using a scouring cleanser pad can wear off its polymer coating. You should therefore use soft sponges or a plastic scourer. If the residue has dried on the pan, allow it to soak for a while before cleaning with a soft sponge, warm water, and mild soap.
Also, you could be ruining your nonstick pan if you clean them with harsh cleansers. Just like metal scouring pads, harsh chemicals can wear the coating on the pan.
4. Washing in a Dishwasher
Similarly, you should avoid washing your non-stick pan in a dishwasher. The variation in temperature and the chemicals used in the dishwasher will eventually flake off the coating.
Although most brands label them as dishwasher-safe, it is advisable to wash your pans by hand to protect their surface. The best way is to wash both the inside and the outside of the pan.
5. Cooking Highly Acidic Foods
This is another mistake that may ruin your non-stick pan and accelerate its aging. Highly acidic foods like citrus and tomatoes have an acid that will disrupt the chemical structure of the coating and cause your pan to blister.
Therefore, avoid acidic foods if you want your pan to last long. When preparing these foods, choose another type of cookware.
6. Pre-heating Before Adding Oil
Although the traditional way of cooking or sautéing is to add oil or fat in a hot pan, it is not advisable to do this with non-stick pans. When dry non-stick heat is placed over heat, it is likely to release harmful chemicals into the air.
To protect the pan’s synthetic polymer coating, it is recommended to add oil or fat when the pan is still cold. This also helps to improve the pan’s slick surface.
7. Improper Storage
You are ruining your nonstick cookware by not storing it the right way. Most people stack their pans and pots together and store them in a cupboard. However, doing this for your non-stick pan puts them at risk of scratching by metal and other abrasive objects.
The best way to store your nonstick cookware is to hand them on hooks while ensuring spacing from other cookware. Alternatively, you can place a towel, trivet, or mitt over the surface of the pan to protect it from scratching when placing other cookware on top.
8. Using Metal Utensils
If you want your non-stick pan to last long and deliver good cooking performance, avoid using metal utensils at all costs.
Metal cooking utensils like spatulas, tongs, whisks, and ladles will scrape the polymer coating on the surface. This is also true when you use a carving fork or steel knife to cut serving portions.
Wooden utensils are a nonstick best friend. You can also use a rubber or silicone spatula to remove food from the surface.
9. Sudden Temperature Change
Sudden pan temperatures can result in warping and the coasting will start to peel off. Do not immerse in water until it has cooled down first. Otherwise, placing a hot pan in cold water will lead to thermal shock, which will cause the pan to peel or warp.
Nonstick pans can be a great investment for your kitchen. While we don’t guarantee that nonstick cookware will last forever, taking proper care of it helps prolong its life. Take note of these habits that are likely to damage your pan. Also, it is advisable to replace your pan after 5 years of use.