You have to be very careful while cleaning non-stick pans because rough handling can damage their non-stick coating and make them useless. So, can you put non-stick pans in the dishwasher?
You can put non-stick pans in the dishwasher only if the manufacturer has indicated that they’re dishwasher-safe. However, it’s better to clean the non-stick pans by hand, even if they’re dishwasher-friendly. Rigorous dishwashing cycles can damage the non-stick coating and reduce the pan’s lifespan.
Let’s talk about this in more detail now.
Are Non-Stick Coatings Dishwasher-Friendly?
There are different types of non-stick coatings with different properties.
The most popular coatings are PTFE and ceramic.
Regular non-stick pans have a PTFE coating.
PTFE or polytetrafluoroethylene is an inert, tough, non-sticky polymer.
Although it’s chemically inactive, it’s not too heat-resistant. Even the best-quality PTFE can’t withstand temperatures above 500 degrees.
It will disintegrate and release toxic fumes when exposed to high heat.
The alternative to PTFE non-stick pans is ceramic-coated pans.
These pans have a brittle grainy texture due to the presence of a chemical derived from beach sand.
Ceramic-coated non-stick pans are generally more heat-resistant than PTFE pans.
They hold up better and don’t lose their coating easily.
Now, the important factor to remember is that the non-stick property of a pan is determined by its surface coating.
The non-stick coating is different from the natural seasoning that cast iron and normal iron pans develop over time.
If a cast iron pan’s natural seasoning is lost, we can restore it through use. So, it’s still usable.
However, in a non-stick pan, the seasoning is an artificial coating.
Rough use will make it erode. Once the non-stick coating gets damaged, you can’t restore it.
So it’s crucial to avoid scratching or damaging the non-stick surface.
Now, dishwashers use a rough cleaning process to wash dishes.
They use hot water and strong mechanical cleaning to remove food and oil residue from dishes.
Non-stick pans have a metallic base that’s unaffected by hot water.
However, we can’t say the same for the coating.
Continuously washing a pan in a dishwasher can cause the non-stick coating to erode.
The harsh dishwashing detergents will also affect the non-stick coating.
This combination of abrasive chemicals, hot water, and rough mechanical agitation affects the lifespan of the non-stick pans.
The damage may not be evident right away.
However, your pan will give away faster than it would if you were handwashing it.
Most manufacturers don’t recommend dishwashing PTFE pans as the coating is sensitive to heat and abrasive cleaning.
Ceramic pans may be able to handle dishwasher cycles better.
Nevertheless, it’s always recommended to handwash non-stick pans to minimize the risk of damage.
You are less likely to weaken the non-stick coating and damage the pan if you gently wash it by hand.
Recommended Further Reading:
- Which Pans Are Essential for Professional Chefs?
- Is it Safe to Put Non-Stick Pans in the Oven?
- Can You Cook with Pans on a Grill?
Why Should You Not Put Non-Stick Pans In The Dishwasher?
Some manufacturers label their non-stick cookware as dishwasher-friendly.
This means that the coating on the pans can withstand hot water, and it’s unlikely to peel off easily.
Nonetheless, we saw earlier that a dishwasher uses an abrasive and rough cleaning process.
So it’s not the ideal way to clean non-stick pans.
Handwashing will help to extend their life.
Since it’s a gentler process, it will not subject your non-stick pans to much stress.
Now, you are more likely to notice problems when dishwashing Teflon or PTFE coated non-stick pans than pans with ceramic coatings.
PTFE coatings are extremely prone to scratches and tears.
When a scratch appears on the surface, the rest of the coating is likely to peel.
Peeling non-stick coatings can cause health issues, and it’s unsafe to cook in these pans.
When you place a non-stick pan with other dishes in the dishwasher, it may also get damaged by the other items in the vicinity.
The vigorous dishwashing cycle can dislodge different items from their original locations.
If knives or forks come near the pan, they can scratch or tear the non-stick coating.
So it’s not wise to wash a non-stick pan in the dishwasher.
What Is The Correct Way To Clean The Non-Stick Pans?
With proper care and maintenance, your non-stick pans will serve you for a very long time.
However, you should handle them with care.
Clean the pans gently and store them properly to extend their life span.
Follow the below methods to keep your non-stick pans in pristine condition for much longer.
1. Clean it immediately after use.
The longer you leave any food residue in the pan, the more difficult it becomes to get it out.
Clean the pan immediately after use to dislodge leftover food and prevent it from sticking to the surface.
Removing any leftover bits of food will also help you keep the pan clean and maintain good hygiene.
Related Further Reading:
- Non-Stick vs. Stainless Steel Pans
- Ceasing Smoke from Pans: A Guide
- Can Ceramic Pans be Damaged by Scratching?
- Can Pots Go In The Dishwasher? (What Brand Pots Can?)
2. Use mild detergents for cleaning.
Avoid scrubbing the non-stick coating of a pan.
Harsh detergents contain sulfates and strong chemicals like ammonia or Triclosan.
These chemicals can compromise the structural integrity of the non-stick coating.
It can cause the surface to give away and peel off.
To prevent this from happening, always use mild detergents to clean your non-stick pans.
3. Don’t clean with hot water.
Both PTFE and ceramic non-stick coatings can withstand heat to a certain extent.
Nonetheless, continuous exposure to extremely hot water can deteriorate the coating quickly.
We recommend rinsing the pan with lukewarm or normal water to prevent this problem.
Also, avoid washing the pan with extremely cold water as it can cause the metal surface to warp and damage it.
4. Avoid abrasive scrubbers and sponges.
Metal scouring pads and sponges with rough surfaces are an absolute no when it comes to cleaning your non-stick pans.
Non-stick coatings, especially PTFE, are highly prone to scratches.
A single scratch can quickly spread and lead to large pieces of the coating coming off the surface.
So use soft cleaning agents like nylon or sponge scrubbers to clean your non-stick pans.
5. Soak the pan if there is any sticky residue.
Don’t scrub the surface to get rid of the leftover food bits.
Rough handling can lead to scratches and scrapes that permanently damage the coating.
It’s better to soak the pan in lukewarm water and wait until the stuck bits separate.
Once they come off on their own, you can gently clean the surface with a mild detergent and warm water.
Interesting Further Reading:
- Is it Worthwhile to Use Pans on a Griddle?
- Can Pots And Pans Be Recycled? [Which Ones Can Be Recycled?]
- Utilizing Pans on an Induction Stovetop
6. Dry the pan and put it away immediately.
The base of non-stick pans is usually made of metals like steel, iron, or aluminum.
You may already know that metals like iron rust when exposed to moisture.
Rust is difficult to remove, and it makes a pan unsuitable for cooking.
To prevent this from happening, dry your non-stick pans immediately after washing them.
Clean the pan with a soft and dry towel and put it away until the next use.
Take care to store it in a place where it doesn’t bang against other vessels.