Image for the article titled Stop Washing Your Nonstick Pan This Often (but Do This Instead)

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I’m not one of those people who use their cast iron pan for anything. I understand it is possible, and I understand that a properly seasoned cast iron pan is a slippery beauty, but I’m a little lazy and will always have a non-stick pan in my arsenal, mostly for egg-making purposes.

Non-stick pans, whether Teflon-coated or PFOA-free, are simple (a mood I know all too well). They are easy to cook and easy to clean; they can be seasoned (similar to cast iron) but most likely not necessary, especially if you are economical with washing.

Why you shouldn’t wash your nonstick pan so often

There are some non-stick pans (like the GreenPan) that seem to work perfectly well in the dishwasher, but some non-stick coatings – Teflon in particular – react poorly to these hot, aggressive conditions. The combination of detergent, water pressure, and salts can cause the coating to break off, resulting in sticky or flaky pans.

I rarely use soap and water on my pan unless I’m dealing with something really stubborn (like this one) Cream fried eggwho have a strong affinity for Teflon for some reason). Instead of washing after each use, I wipe the pan with a paper towel or sponge while it’s still hot. If that doesn’t help, I put the pan back on the stove, heat it up a bit, and then wipe it out with a damp paper towel or sponge – a little “steam cleaning” if you want. This is how my mother used to clean her non-stick pans, which I thought was “weird” when I was younger because I thought that everything my mother did between the ages of 13 and 22 was “weird”.

If steam isn’t enough, gently scrub it with a nonabrasive sponge and something cold soapy water, but the steam works about 94% of the time. This friendlier, gentler approach will extend the life of your nonstick pan and keep that coating happy.

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