How to Prevent Scratches on Non-Stick Pans?

Among all the kitchen tools that I use daily, non-stick pans are among my favorites.

They make cooking a breeze allowing me to whip up pancakes, eggs, and other food without worrying about them sticking to the pan.

Just as nothing lasts forever, non-stick pans can also be prone to scratches and damage. 

In this article, I will be sharing some informative tips that will help prevent scratches on your non-stick pans.

From using the right cooking utensils to cleaning and storing the pans, I will tell you everything you need to keep your non-stick pans in top condition.

Let us dive in so you can enjoy the non-stick pans for years to come.

How to Prevent Scratches on Non-Stick Pans?

According to America’s test kitchen, with proper care, your non-stick cookware can have a life span of about 5 to 7 years.

These are mostly made up of aluminum or other material and have a PTFE or ceramic coating on them.

Here is a table summarizing the tips on how to prevent scratches on non-stick pans:

Use Non-stick Friendly utensilsChoose utensils made of silicone, plastic, or wood to avoid scratching the non-stick coating.
Cook on Medium heatCook on low to medium heat to avoid damaging the non-stick coating.
Avoid long exposures to acidic foodsUse acidic foods at low to medium temperatures for short-duration cooking/heating. It is better to opt for a stainless steel pan for acidic food preparations.
Don’t use cooking spray.Cooking spray can build up and cause the non-stick coating to break down over time. If you must use it, choose a product specifically designed for non-stick pans and use it sparingly.
Use a Lid 
Avoid the ovenStick to using your non-stick pans on the stovetop, and use other types of cookware for oven cooking.
Cool the pan before cleaningAllow your pans to cool down before cleaning to prevent warping or damage to the non-stick coating.
Clean the non-stick pan gentlyUse a soft sponge or cloth with warm, soapy water, and avoid using steel wool, abrasive sponges, or harsh cleaning products.
Store pans with careAvoid stacking your non-stick pans, or use a soft cloth or paper towel between them to prevent scratches.
Skip storing foodStoring food in your pans can cause scratches and damage to the non-stick coating over time. Transfer food to a different container for storage.
Choose high-quality pansIt is best to opt for branded pans as the non-stick layer lasts longer. Cheaper pans may have thin coatings that scratch easily
Replace pans when necessaryReplace your pan if you notice scratches or damage to the non-stick coating.

Let me share with you a few ways for your non-stick to stay smooth till the end.

Use Non-Stick Friendly Utensils

When taking care of non-stick pans, the types of utensils you use play a crucial role in preventing scratches on their surface.

Do not use metal utensils, as these easily scratch the surface. Th non-stick-friendly utensils are wood, silicon, and nylon.

These are gentle and do not scratch the coating.

Also, avoid cutting food inside the pan, as this can leave permanent marks on the surface.

Cook on Medium Heat 

Using the right temperature is crucial for preventing scratches on non-stick pans.

Non-stick pans work best on medium heat. Prolonged exposure to high heat can damage the non-stick coating and even cause scratches. 

Also, avoid overheating the pan or leaving an empty pan on the stovetop. Overheating causes the coating to break down over time.

Using fats in oils not only brings flavor but also acts as a heat transfer agent. The fat or oil layer helps to heat the food evenly and cook it without scorching.

If you have time and don’t want to use oil, let the pan heat up slowly for an even distribution of heat.

Sticking to the manufacturer’s guidelines for temperature settings can prolong the life of the cookware.

Also read: Induction Cooking Temperature Guide (with settings and controls)

Avoid Long Exposures to Acidic Foods

Non-stick coatings are susceptible to acidic foods. Avoid cooking acidic foods in a non-stick pan for a long duration.

You can cook for a short duration or to heat your acidic food. The lesser duration, the better for the non-stick layer.

Heating or cooking acidic food at high temperatures is a big no.

Some examples of acidic foods are tomatoes, lemons, and citric fruits.

Do Not Use Cooking Sprays 

Cooking sprays leave a residue on the non-stick coating. The residue becomes sticky over time and harms the non-stick layer.

It is best to use vegetable oil with a high smoking point. These oils will prevent any sticking or burning on the non-stick layer.

Also read: How to Remove Cooking Spray Residue From Pans

Use a Lid 

It is better to use a lid when cooking food in a non-stick pan.

The lid helps to trap the moisture and heat so the food gets cooked more evenly and quickly.

This helps to prevent sticking and reduce the risk of scratching. 

Avoid the Oven 

Although most non-stick pans are oven safe, I would recommend you skip cooking with them in the oven. 

The oven is a hot chamber, and the heat can break down the non-stick layer.

It is better to stick to stovetop cooking with non-stick pans. Use other cookware for the oven instead.

If you do decide to use your non-stick pans in the oven, make sure that the pan is oven-safe up to the highest temperature you will use it at.

Also read: Can Ceramic Cookware Go in the Oven?

Cool the Pan before Cleaning 

One important thing to remember is to never shock the non-stick pan with temperature changes.

Let the pan cool down after cooking before you take it to the sink for washing. 

If you fear the food residue will stick, add hot water to the hot pan and let them cool down together. This goes a long way to protect the non-stick coating.

Clean the Non-Stick Pans Gently

Non-stick pans need to be treated with care.

As the old adage goes: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Make sure to always hand wash your pans with mild soap and some warm water. 

Use a soft sponge and steer clear of abrasive sponges. Abrasive sponges like steel wool cause scratches and damage the coating.

You can also use a soft silicon bristle brush to clean the pans.

Never place them in the dishwasher, as the high heat will damage the non-stick coating.

For tough buildups, add some water to the pan and place the pan on the stovetop on a low simmer. Once the water begins to simmer, add some vinegar and baking soda

Continue simmering the water for a few minutes. The hard crust would have dissolved. You can now take the pan to the sink and wash it with warm soapy water and a soft sponge.

After you are finished washing, dry thoroughly using paper towels or a clean dishcloth – this helps prevent rusting from occurring.

Store the Non-stick Pans with Care

The nonstick layer of the pan is delicate and needs to be protected from scratches while storing.

Store it away in a safe place that is cool and doesn’t have any sharp objects near it. This will ensure that no unwanted nicks occur while putting away or taking out the cookware from its designated spot.

When storing non-stick pans, avoid stacking them directly on top of each other.

Instead, consider using hooks, a pegboard, or pan organizers for proper storage. This helps prevent scratches on the non-stick surface caused by friction and pressure from other pans.

In case you have to stack non-stick pans with other pans or cookware, make sure to place a cloth or paper towel on top of the non-stick layer. 

The paper towel or the towel acts as a buffer/barrier and prevents other cookware from scratching the non-stick surface.

Another thing to remember is to dry the non-stick pans completely before storing them.

Moisture can damage the coating. Use a kitchen towel to dry the surface removing all traces of moisture.

Also read: How to Organize Baking Pans?

Skip Storing Food

This is something we are all guilty of.

It isn’t a good idea to store food in your non-stick pan. 

Storing food will cause you to spoon food in and out of the pan. Some foods turn sticky, while some can react with the non-stick layer. 

Additionally, the pan may absorb odors and flavors that can be difficult to remove.

Skip storing food in the non-stick pan to avoid damage or scratches and foul odors. Choose a food container instead to store food.

Choose High-Quality Pans

Cheaper non-stick pans wear out faster. They may have a thin or compromised coating. Such non-stick layers are more prone to scratching.

It is best to opt for well-known brands and invest in high-quality non-stick pans.

Among good brands, choose a pan giving a long-term warranty. This ensures the non-stick layer is thick and durable.

Also read: 10 Best Non-Stick Pans for Induction Cooktops

Replace Pans When Necessary

Even with proper care, the pans will eventually wear out.

The non-stick layer will damage over time. If you notice scratches or damage to the non-stick layer, replace your pan.

Once the non-stick layer gets damaged, the pan will start sticking food and will no longer serve as “non-stick” cookware.

It can also leech out metals from the underlying metal layer.

Investing in a quality non-stick pan from reputable brands, such as Made In, All-Clad, or Calphalon, can extend the life of your pan and provide a better cooking experience.

Replacing your worn-out pan with a new one will ensure you continue to enjoy effortless cooking and easy food release, enhancing your overall kitchen experience.

Final Words 

In conclusion, it is easy to prevent scratches on non-stick pans. With the right care, your non-stick pans can be a good companion. 

It is all about using the right utensils and following the right method of cooking, cleaning, and storing non-stick pans.

 By following the tips above, you can ensure that you will be able to enjoy cooking meals in your non-stick pan for years. Happy cooking!

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Hey there! I'm Sasha, just your regular mom-turned-kitchen-appliances enthusiast. When I gave my kitchen a makeover, I took a shine to new kitchen appliances like Induction Cooktops, Air Fryer, Instant Pot, Microwave, and Oven. I'm always up to some fun experiment, whipping up a storm, and writing about common questions people have about the efficient use of these kitchen gadgets