Non-stick pans in the dishwasher -
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Can You Put Non-Stick Pans in the Dishwasher? (It May Be Better if You Didn’t)

Many people tend to use non-stick pans quite a bit, and that results in their cleaning them quite often. Some people might find it easier to just throw it in the dishwasher and be done with it.

Some owners agree that these types of pans are safe for dishwashers, but some might disagree with this assertion.

This article seeks to address the question of whether it is possible to put a non-stick pan in a dishwasher or not.

Can you put non-stick pans in the dishwasher?

You can clean most non-stick cookware in the dishwasher, but there are some types of pans that shouldn’t be put in. For example, if your pan has a wooden or silicone base, it should not be put in the dishwasher because the high heat will damage it. Additionally, if your non-stick pan has a coating that is flaking or peeling off, it is best to hand wash it so that the chemicals from the dishwasher do not damage it even further and contaminate your food.

In particular, non-stick cookware should not be put in the dishwasher if it has a coating that can be damaged by detergents and/or hot water. The coating may flake off and end up in your food, which is not only hazardous but also tastes terrible. Always check your cookware’s instructions to see if it is dishwasher safe.

How to tell if your non-stick pan is dishwasher safe

There are a few ways to determine if your non-stick pan is dishwasher safe. The most common way is to look for an engraving on the handle. This will usually indicate whether or not the pot or pan can be put in the dishwasher. Another way to tell is to check for a label on the bottom of the dish. This will list all of the materials used in making the dish and whether or not it is safe to put in the dishwasher.

The dishwasher safe symbols that you are looking for will usually have a circular plate facing you with either water or steam coming down from the top, mimicking what it might look like inside of a dishwasher. This is usually an indication that your cookware is dishwasher safe.

Some coatings can be washed in the dishwasher, while others should not be exposed to high heat or harsh detergents. If you’re not sure whether your specific pan is dishwasher safe, it’s best to check with the manufacturer.

On the other hand, there are some non-stick items that can be washed in a dishwasher without any consequences. The consequences of washing a non-stick pan that is not dishwasher safe would be for that pan to become less and less non-stick over several cycles of being washed in the dishwasher.

Tips on how to safely clean your non-stick pans in the dishwasher

Run the dishwasher on the lowest or shortest setting

If you’ve noticed your non-stick pan has started to lose its non-sticking ability, it might be due to how long you’re leaving it in the dishwasher. While it may seem like the longer it’s in there, the cleaner it becomes, it’s actually doing more harm than good. The EPA assumes that an average household runs its dishwasher 215 times per year. The more you wash your non-stick pan in the dishwasher, the more at risk of damage it becomes. To avoid this, run your dishwasher on the lowest and shortest setting.

Avoid using the pots and pans settings

Most dishwashers feature a heavy-duty or pots and pans cycle that makes it seem like a no-brainer when it comes to washing your non-stick pan after each use. However, it’s actually one you want to avoid. This setting utilizes extra water at higher temperatures to tackle items that may be hard to clean, like soiled pots, pans, casserole dishes, or tableware. Notice how we didn’t mention non-stick pans? This is because the dishwashing process can slowly break down the non-stick coating, eventually ruining the finish of the pan.

Use a less abrasive detergent

When it comes time to wash your non-stick pan, it’s important that you choose your dishwashing detergent wisely. The global dishwashing detergent market size was estimated to be 761.9 million in 2019 and is predicted to be as high as 1124.2 million by 2030. This means there is a lot of detergent on the market to choose from. Using a dishwashing detergent that is chemical-free ensures that your dishwasher will not ruin your non-stick pan. Non-stick pans are generally coated with a special film to ensure your food slides off the pan with ease, but abrasive cleaning products can remove the coating quickly.

Secure all the dishes and utensils around the non-stick pan

When you wash your non-stick pan in your dishwasher, you put the pan at risk of being scraped by loose dishes and utensils. To avoid this, be sure to secure them inside of your dishwasher so your pan is safe from possible scratches and damage. To do so, place your cups, glasses, and bowls on the top rack and avoid overcrowding. Your non-stick pan should rest on the bottom rack of your dishwasher, preferably as far away from your utensils as possible.

Make sure to secure the non-stick pan

Not only should you secure your dishes and utensils, but your non-stick pan, too. Throughout your dishwashing cycle, it’s possible that your pan could shift out of the rack, putting it at risk of being knocked around inside of the dishwasher. As a result, your pan may end up scratched by surrounding dishes and utensils, leaving damage behind after the cycle. Avoiding overcrowding your dishes can ensure that your pan rests safely and securely within the bottom rack so it stays put the entire way through.

Why should you not clean non-stick pans in the dishwasher?

Dishwashers use extremely hot water to clean dishes

Most dishwashers run their main cycle at about 130°F to 140°F, but some can even reach higher temperatures, up to 180°F. While most non-stick pans on the market are built to withstand the heat, the pan’s coating may become damaged over time with each wash. The high temperature of the water can cause the non-stick coating to flake off, leaving you with a damaged pan. It’s a good idea to handwash your pan instead of running a dishwashing cycle from time to time.

Abrasive dishwashing chemicals may damage the non-stick coating on your pan

As mentioned previously, abrasive chemicals in most dishwashing detergents can damage the non-stick coating of your pan, making it crucial that you choose your detergent with care. While dishwashing detergent is one of the least toxic products you can buy, some may contain chlorine bleach and phosphates that will likely damage your non-stick pan in just one dishwashing cycle. Most of the time, dishwashing detergents don’t list all of the harmful ingredients they may contain on the product, meaning it can be hard to find one that’s safe for your situation. To ensure your pan remains in first-rate condition, purchase non-automatic dishwasher detergents without any fragrances.

The water pressure can damage the non-stick coating on your pan

The average dishwasher uses 1.5kWh of energy and 6 gallons of water per load, mostly due to high water pressure. In fact, the water pressure of your dishwashing cycle can determine whether or not your non-stick coating begins to thin and deteriorate. Most dishwashers feature an adjustable pressure switch, so you can change your water pressure at home with ease. No repairman is needed.

Washing your non-stick pans by hand makes them last longer

While you may find that your non-stick pan is dishwasher safe, it doesn’t always mean you should resort to using the dishwasher with each wash. In fact, it’s a better idea to handwash your non-stick pan after each use, as it gives you more control over the cleaning process. Washing it by hand helps lengthen the lifespan of your non-stick pan because the temperatures are lower, the water pressure is reduced, and it’s easier to find a liquid detergent that’s non-toxic and chemical-free.

What’s the best way to wash your non-stick pans?

Non-stick pans, such as Teflon pans, can be washed by hand with soap and warm water. The best way to clean them is with a soft sponge, which is certified safe to use on Teflon pans. It is important to avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials when cleaning these types of pans, as they can damage the coating and make them less effective.

In fact, hand washing is the best way to care for any type of kitchenware, even if it is labeled as dishwasher safe. Teflon pans and other non-stick utensils are delicate and can be easily scratched or damaged in a dishwasher. In addition, harsh detergents used in dishwashers can also damage these surfaces over time.

Though it’s okay to put a pan in the dishwasher every so often, it’s not the best way to prolong the life of your non-stick pan. You can wash your non-stick pans in the dishwasher as long as you use a gentle cycle. Handwashing them regularly is a better option because the detergent and heat from the dishwasher can wear down the coating over time.

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