Last Updated on January 10, 2023
A non-stick pan is a valuable investment for any kitchen. We use these products for everything from frying foods to making omelettes. Unfortunately, just like any kitchen utensil, your frying pan’s performance can begin to suffer over time. Frequent use and washing can make your non-stick pan less effective, which means you’re dealing with a higher chance of burned-on food.
The non-stick coating on pots and pans is one of the most valuable features you can have in a kitchen. It helps food to cook evenly by allowing you to move your ingredients when necessary. Nonstick pans also last longer because they’re less likely to suffer from burned-on food and corrosion.
So, what do you do when your non-stick pans begin to lose their non-stick properties?
Here’s what you need to know about how to restore a non stick frying pan.
Step by Step Guide to Restoring a Non Stick Frying Pan
Step 1: How Do You Clean a Burnt Non-Stick Pan?
The first step in restoring and preserving the non-stick surface of your pan is knowing how to wash your utensils correctly.
If you burn food in your non-stick pan, the best thing you can do is act quickly. Most debris will rinse away if you wash it fast enough.
The non-stick quality that prevents food from clinging to your pan also helps to get rid of burnt food on the surface.
A non-stick pan isn’t designed to withstand the high temperatures and harsh environments of a dishwasher. Though many pots and pans claim to be dishwasher friendly, they’ll often last longer if you wash them with traditional dish soap in hot water.
Read the care instructions included with your non-stick pans for guidance, and consider soaking your pan in hot, soapy water after particularly problematic meals. Excessive heat inside your dishwasher may cause your slippery coating to deteriorate faster. On the other hand, if you let the pan soak, debris can slide off naturally.
When washing stains from non-stick pans, follow the instructions from the manufacturer regarding which soaps you should be using. Harsh bleaches and scratchy steel wool are rarely a good idea. A gentle soap capable of cutting through grease and olive oil is often a good choice. You can also use a soft sponge or microfibre cloth to wash away the burned parts gently.
Step 2: Using Natural Cleaning Options
Harsh chemicals, high temperatures (such as the high degrees in your dishwasher), and abrasive materials are terrible for a non-stick pan. Most of the time, experts recommend protecting the non-stick coat on your pan by using natural ingredients. If you want your cast iron pan or new cookware to withstand the oven, various ingredients, and regular washing, you need to be careful with it. Using ingredients like baking soda and water instead of harsh chemicals and bleach will often allow your pans to last longer. For instance, one of the best ways to clean the non-stick coating on cookware is with water, a nylon sponge, and baking soda.
- Wait for the cast iron pan or pots to cool, then pour a small amount of baking soda into it. Baking soda is great for carefully washing debris from the surface of a non-stick pan.
- Add just enough water to the surface of the pan to make a thick paste. You can also prepare this paste for your frying pan separately, then dab it onto the non-stick pan, focusing on burned areas.
- Leave the mixture to soak on your non-stick pan for a few hours. Some people recommend leaving the pan at room temperature overnight.
- Wet a sponge with warm (not overly hot) water and gently rub over the burnt surface. You should see the burned peeling away from the frying pan. Use a small amount of pressure and circular motions to remove the dirt.
- Rinse the pan by running it under water and allowing it to dry naturally. If you still notice burned parts, you can repeat the process.
For tough stains on non-stick pans, some people recommend using white vinegar after the baking powder and water mixture. The acidic nature of white vinegar helps to strip unwanted debris from the surface of the pan without removing the non-stick coating.
Use a microfibre cloth to apply white vinegar to the surface of your pan gently. Allow the mixture to soak for an hour or two before carefully wiping the vinegar away with water. You can then wash the pan normally, as you would after cooking any food.
Step 3: Experiment With Other Cleaning Options
You can only begin to restore your non-stick pan properly after all the stains and burned residue is removed. If you’re having trouble removing the stains on your frying pan with the methods mentioned above, you can also try using table salt and lukewarm water. A few tablespoons of salt can coat the bottom of the cookware with a slightly abrasive cleaner.
After allowing the salty water to soak for a couple of hours, you can wash the mixture away with a soft sponge and warm water.
Alternatively, use a combination of vinegar and water with paper towels to coat the pan in a cleaning agent. You can do this by filling a pan halfway with water and adding half a cup of white vinegar.
Turn the flame on to bring the solution to a boil. Depending on your cooking heat, this might take five or 10 minutes. Turn the flame off and collect the floating oil on the surface using paper towels. Once you’ve removed all the oil and grease, you can wash your pan as usual. Give the pan time to cool down after being on the stove before you wash it thoroughly.
Step 4: Season Your Pan
If your non-stick pan is losing its non-stick coating, you don’t necessarily need to buy a new frying pan straight away. After you’ve washed your pan thoroughly with a few tablespoons of baking soda, vinegar, and water, make sure it dries thoroughly, then you can prepare to season the pan. When you season your pan, you repair the non-stick function of the surface.
You may need to reapply and update the coating every once in a while. However, knowing how to season your pan with the right amount of oil can reduce your expenses when it comes to replacement cookware. When you’re ready to season, wash the pan again to ensure that no dust or debris is inside that could end up sticking to the surface or coating.
Next, pour some of your preferred oil into the pans you want to season. You can use all kinds of oil for your non-stick coating. Most pans perform best when you use oils like canola oil. Vegetable oil and olive oil can work, but these rarely have the best impact on the long-term outcomes of your pans. If you’re not sure which vegetable or oil is safe, read your pans’ instructions.
Once you’ve found the right oil, pour a decent amount into the bottom of the pans you want to restore. Coating the bottom of the pan in oil and the sides of the inside of the pan should help your cookware last longer. You will need to heat the pan on medium heat for a short while to fully allow the oil to soak into the pan.
If your food is still sticking after this process, you may need to add a second or third coat. The process of seasoning your cookware can differ depending on the kind of pans you use. For instance, it’s often best to season a cast iron pan at a much higher temperature than an enamel pan.
Step 5: Look After Your Pans Correctly
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Seasoning your pan can help to reduce the risk of food sticking to the surface. Every time you use your pans after reapplying the non-stick coating, make sure you add the right amount of vegetable oil or another kind of oil to protect against burned-on food. You may not have to season some non-stick pans as often as cast iron pans, but regular oiling should prevent some damage.
Once your non-stick pans are back in good condition, you should be looking after them to ensure the non-stick qualities remain for as long as possible. Try not to use your pans in the oven unless they can handle high oven heat. Follow instructions for cooking in your oven, and don’t go above medium heat without the right coating on your pan.
Other Ways to Protect Your Cookware
Here are a few more ways you can preserve your cookware for future use.
Use a Special Spray to Help Restore the Pan
There are spray coating options specially designed to work with your oven utensils when they begin to lose their non-stick functionality. These sprays can help to defend your products against the high heats in your oven and make them last longer. Don’t rely just on cooking spray for protecting your pan, however, as this doesn’t give the pan enough moisture.
Don’t Put Your Pan or Pot in the Dishwasher
After coating your pan in butter and other greasy substances, it’s tempting to take it out of the oven and put it in the dishwasher. However, coated cookware doesn’t work well in dishwashers. Though your pan will be clean, it will also end up being stripped of its non-stick surface. Use your sink and warm water to protect the pots and pans and keep the metal clean.
Avoid Abrasive Substances
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Just as you shouldn’t expose your high-quality pans to excessive heat on the stove, you also shouldn’t use abrasive products to remove sticky substances. Save your pans from unnecessary scratches by using a soft material or sponge to clean the coated metal. If you start to notice scratches on the bottom of your pot from your utensils, this could be a sign that you’re too harsh with metal implements.
Wash Pans Quickly
Don’t allow the stains to harden on your pan for too long before you start washing them. Adding a cup of hot water to your pot after cooking could prolong the life of your pan by stopping burns from sticking. You can then come back later and use the tips above to save your metal with proper cleaning processes.
Use Oils Properly
If you invest in a quality pan, don’t spray it with low-quality oil when cooking. Remember that good oiling is crucial to the process of preserving your pan. If you notice a sign or two that your cookware isn’t as non-stick as it used to be, try re-seasoning the pan before replacing it with something new. Your cookware could have more life in it than you think.
Making the Most Of Your Non-Stick Pans
We all love the versatility of non-stick pans for cooking. Unfortunately, without regular care and maintenance, any pan can lose its appeal. Making sure you know how to clean stains away and re-season your pan will prolong its life when it loses its non-stick quality.
If you’ve tried all of our tips on how to restore a non stick frying pan and it’s still not giving you the non-stick results you hoped for, then you might need to consider buying a new pan. If that’s the case, take steps to protect this new pan better than the last.
Rebekah is a writer who loves to explore new products and find hacks that make life easier. She has a knack for all things home improvement, health and fitness. So you’ll often find her on Pinterest or browsing Houzz for ideas.
She’s always looking for the next thing to fix up around the house or what gadget might be just right for her lifestyle. Rebekah enjoys exploring new recipes, taking care of her family, and making sure she stays healthy with regular workouts at the gym.