9 Ways You’re Ruining Your Nonstick Pans – How to Correct?

When your nonstick cooking pan is in top condition, preparing fried eggs, burgers bacon, etc., becomes a breeze. The only problem is maintaining this top condition that allows making those delicious foods you are so used to possible.

From the outlook, nonstick pans look pretty tough. Rather surprisingly, they are quite delicate and require extra care to maintain. Of their properties, it is the nonstick coating that is most susceptible to scratches and wears off after some time. After that has happened, the cooking becomes messy and crumbly.

The great news is that taking care of the pans is easy. However, you have first to know The Ways You’re Ruining Your Nonstick Pans and know how to correct them in order to succeed. Once you figure these out and follow the rule of thumb of never leaving them in shared cupboards, then you’re good to go.

Ways Ruining Nonstick Pans

9 Ways You’re Ruining Your Nonstick Pans – How to Correct

1. Washing It in the Dishwater

Technically, it is safe to use the dishwater to clean a nonstick pan after use. It is the reason you see them labeled as dishwater-safe. Plus, it is always tempting to dump everything in there after a tiresome day at work coupled with a prolonged evening spent preparing dinner.

The problem is not the dishwater, but the hot water and the harsh detergents the nonstick pan is exposed to. These two conditions cause the wearing down of the critical nonstick coating over time. As the coating wears off, your pan becomes ineffective and this renders it useless eventually.

Correction Measures

Despite the efficiency of your dishwater, you should stop using it for cleaning your nonstick pan. Instead, you are better off cleaning it (them) by hand. It might sound like a lot of work, but the longevity of your pan will be a welcome relief.

To stop ruining them, use soapy water for the washing purposes. Better still, you could use water and baking soda to scrub any residue remaining on it.

2. Heating the Pan Without Any Contents

Because of a hectic life schedule, it is a common practice to first heat up the nonstick pan before figuring out what to prepare using it. If you have ever done this at some point, then you are ruining your pan without knowing it.

When you heat a pan without any contents (regardless of the set temperatures), the heat causes it to buckle. This buckling occurs mostly at the flat bottom leading to an uneven surface. In the end, your eggs cook unevenly or take too long to cook.

Correction Measures

If you want to prevent the eventual peeling off of the nonstick coating, ensure the bottom of the pan does not buckle under heat. To do this, every time before turning on the heat, add oil to the pan first. In this way, you will be keeping your pan for the long run.

3. Setting the Temperature Too High

However tough they may seem; nonstick pans do not work well under extreme temperatures. It could be with or without any contents, although the lack of contents aggravates the degrading inside.

The ultra-high temperatures ruin a nonstick pan in some ways. First, high temperatures degrade the coating with time. Some users always assume that the coating and the metallic part of the pan are the same things, which is wrong.

Secondly, the type of nonstick coating affects how it behaves under high temperatures. There are certain types which on exposure to ultra-high temperatures decompose to release toxic vapors.

Correction Mechanism

Resist the temptation of using your pan for searing of fish or pieces of meat. For these purposes, preferably use a cast iron skillet instead. Alternatively, use low to medium heat if possible. Also, do not think about putting the pan into the oven.

The best way of being on the safer side is always following the manufacturer’s instructions on cooking. The right temperature range should always be provided.

4. Using Metallic Utensils

Metallic spatulas, tongs, whisks have a professional appeal to them. But they are not always friendly to your nonstick pan. By using these metallic utensils to stir, scrape residues of food, and turn food in your pan, you are scratching and ruining the critical coating on the pan.

Unless you have a dense pan crusted with diamond, refrain from using these sharp utensils inside the pan. Do no use metal knives to cut food in the pan, cut pizzas inside the pan or turn pancakes with metallic spatulas.

Correction Measures

If you must stir your food while cooking in the pan, you probably need to use a scratch-friendly utensil. There are numerous alternatives you can use. Wood, silicon, nylon and rubber materials are some of the readily available options.

Of late, there is a growing number of silicone whisks you can use for quick blending in the pan. Watch out for some rigid plastic spatulas. These might have sharp edges that might still end up scratching the pan coating.

5. Cleaning the Pan With Metallic Scouring Pads

As I had earlier mentioned, the best cleaning practice is to hand wash the nonstick pan. Doing the cleaning yourself introduces another way of ruining your pan: using a metallic scouring pad. The pad could be metal based or has a harsh cleanser.

As you scrub the food residues to clean the pan, you are also inadvertently scrubbing of the coating which makes your pan do its job. In the end, the pan may look sparkling clean, but that is because it’s now a coating less pan.

Correction Measures

The reason for the harsh pad is to clean the pan quickly. However, if you want to prolong its life-span, exercise a little patience. Soaking the pan for a moment loosens the food residue after which you can use a soft cloth, warm water and mild cleaners to wash it clean.

Make sure the pan is given a thorough cleaning as any remaining residue will harden up the next time you cook. The pan may become not so nonstick as a result of this. In this way, the pan stays clean, while its functionality remains intact.

6. Suddenly Pouring Cod Water into a Hot Pan

Pouring cold water into a hot pan or placing the nonstick frying pan into cold water results in sudden temperature changes. It is this sudden temperature decrease that is detrimental to your pan’s lifespan and not the water itself.

By drastically reducing the pan’s temperature, it warps as a result. In the process, the nonstick finish buckles and peels too. In addition to the peeling, the bottom of the pan becomes uneven thereby transferring heat non-uniformly.

Correction Measures

Dunking the pan in cold water and subjecting it to a thermal shock is something that is avoidable. Always allow the pan to completely cool down before immersing in or adding water to it. Never be in a hurry to clean the pan after cooking as this goes a long way in ensuring that it serves you longer.

7. Storing Food in the Nonstick Pan

It might seem like a harmless habit to your pan, but it is one that eventually ruins this cookware. Some people have even complained that the food stored in a pan (even just overnight) develops a metallic taste in the morning.

There are certain types of foods which eat into the nonstick finish applied to your pan. Tomatoes are especially acidic and when left overnight wear down the pan over time.

Correction Measures

Storing food is not part of the job description of a nonstick pan. So, don’t use it for that. If any food remains after eating, transfer this food to either a plastic container or any other medium for storage. These leftovers can then be stored in the refrigerator.

While at it, do not soak the pan overnight. The water has the same effect as the stored food. I know you can wash the pan before heading to bed.

8. Using Nonstick Cooking Spray

I know you sometimes use nonstick cooking sprays on your nonstick cooking ware. These are the surest gradual ways of reducing the effectiveness of your pan when used repeatedly. Store-bought cooking sprays are the most notorious for creating a sticky buildup on the pan which doesn’t burn as you cook.

This layer that builds up requires too much effort to remove and ends up ruining the cooking surface. Most of the time, these sprays are used for reducing calories in a dish without knowing their incompatibility with a nonstick pan.

Correction Measures

For your pans’ sake, use only small amounts of oil such as corn, canola olive, butter and vegetable oil. A good investment would be an oil mister for coating the pan with an appropriate layer of oil.

9. Forgetting to Season the Pan

When was the last time you seasoned your nonstick pan? Never? Well, there you have it. It is probably one of the reasons why it has been losing its touch of late. Most people only season their cast iron pans and forget about the nonstick one.

Correction Measures

Pre-seasoning and re-seasoning of nonstick cookware increase its lifespan while also improving how the food cooks in it. The best way of going about it is to rinse the pan, then dry it. Afterwards, rub a teaspoonful of oil around the pans’ cooking surface.

Use a paper towel for this task. Any type of oil works in this case. And, always remember to rub the inside of the pan with oil every time you want to use it.


Sometimes, the processes we pass our nonstick pans through might be the ones ruining them without us knowing. Improper storage, washing it the wrong way and using the pan to cook the wrong foods such as acidic ones are some of the ways to ruin a good pan.

To ensure this doesn’t happen, I have highlighted some of the ways you’re ruining your nonstick pans and the possible ways of rectifying them. In this way, I hope your pan will be with you in the long run.