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How to Care for Nonstick Cookware

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If you're looking for a way to make your food healthier, then nonstick cookware might be for you. It has a special coating that can make your cooking healthier by reducing the amount of fat and oil you need to use in your cooking. A nonstick coating also makes it easier to clean your pots and pans, and it's the best way to cook delicate food, like eggs. However, improper care can ruin the nonstick coating, which causes foods to stick, makes cleaning more difficult, and reduces the life span of your cookware.

Caring for Nonstick Cookware:

  1. Never use metal utensils to cook food in nonstick pots and pans. Use only wood, plastic, or silicone cooking utensils, as metal tools can scratch the surface of your nonstick pots.

  2. Be aware of temperatures. Only use nonstick pots and pans for low and medium heat cooking; it's not meant for high heat, which can break down the nonstick coating. You'll want to use other types of cookware for broiling and searing. After using your nonstick cookware, especially anodized nonstick cookware, allow it to cool completely before washing it. This will prevent you from ruining the coating and warping nonstick skillets and pans.

  3. Use some elbow grease. Once they are cool, submerge your nonstick pots and pans in hot, soapy water and use a sponge and dish soap to clean them.

  4. Scrub baked-on food carefully. If stubborn particles won't come off, switch the sponge for a plastic mesh scrubber and try scrubbing nonstick pans with baking soda. Do not use abrasive scrubbers or cleaners on your anodized nonstick cookware. Make sure you get your nonstick cookware completely clean. Anything left on could get baked into the nonstick pot during the next use, causing food to stick in the future and ruining your cookware.

  5. Rinse your pots and pans. Make sure there is no soapy residue left on your cookware. Use a hand towel to ensure that each piece in your nonstick cookware set is completely dry, so it won't dry with water spots or stick to other dishes in your cupboard.

  6. Be cautious when storing your cookware. Store your nonstick skillets and other pots and pans with similar items and make sure they aren't leaning on each other. Even the best nonstick cookware can be scratched and have its nonstick finish damaged. You may want to purchase a hanging pot rack for safely storing your best nonstick cookware.

  7. Replace damaged and old nonstick cookware. If the nonstick coating has chipped on a pot or pan, then its time to replace it. Chipped nonstick coating can release toxic compounds, and you don't want that in your food. Most nonstick cookware will last about three to five years if cared for properly.

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Updated March 17, 2015