Around 70% of all the pans/skillets/griddles used in the U.S. are non-stick, according to Cooks Illustrated. It shows the popularity of non-stick pots and pans in our homes.
Undoubtedly, nonstick pans take away the pain of scrubbing the pans with a sponge and are easier to wash with hands.
But dishes, pots, and pans pile up in the kitchen sink no matter how many times you wash the dishes as you go around doing other tasks. Given our busy schedules, we all want the added convenience of loading all our dirty dishes in the dishwasher, including the non-stick pans and pots. Don’t miss to check our recommendations for the best non stick pan without Teflon.
- Are Non-Stick Pots and Pans Dishwasher Safe?
- Why Dishwasher Is Not Safe for Non Stick Pan?
- How Does a Non Stick Coating Deteriorate Even After Hand Washing?
- Things You Should Never Put in the Dishwasher
- Wrapping Up!
Are Non-Stick Pots and Pans Dishwasher Safe?
No, Nonstick pans are not dishwasher safe. The non-stick coating is fragile and can disintegrate over time, causing little chunks and flakes, peeling off the pan’s surface.
You may have encountered a contrary statement of non-stick pan manufacturers boasting that the non-stick pan is dishwasher safe. When you take out the instructions or care manual you get to read:
It is recommended to hand wash the pan for the longevity of the pan.
Why is there a difference in their own statements? Is using the “dishwasher-safe” label only a marketing gimmick?
The truth is one or two trips in the dishwasher won’t harm the non-stick coating but frequently washing in the dishwasher can harm the non-stick coating, even if it’s identified as dishwasher-safe. Even the best teflon-free non-stick pans shouldn’t be put into the dishwasher.
And certainly, an older pan that has fried hundreds of eggs and has experienced the wear and tear of daily cooking will not be able to survive trips to the dishwasher. Let’s understand the reason behind it.
Why Dishwasher Is Not Safe for Non Stick Pan?
A dishwasher uses three elements to clean the grease and gunk on the dishes.
- Hot water
- Water Pressure
All the dishwashers have a heating element at the bottom of the machine that heats the water between 85-140 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature level is higher than that of the hot water we use when hand washing the pans.
However, the non-stick skillets are designed to bear much more heat when we cook food in them. So the hot water of the dishwasher doesn’t do much harm to the non-stick coating.
The spray arm of the dishwasher that shoots water and detergent forcefully to the dishes does not impact the non-stick coating. The non-stick coating of PTFE is chemically inert and requires more force to disintegrate and deteriorate.
However, the water pressure can cause the frying pan to bang against other cutlery, and the coating gets affected by the banging.
That leaves dishwasher detergent as something to be pondered upon. The dishwasher detergent’s ingredients cause the non-stick pan’s coating to decompose.
The phosphates and bleaching agents are abrasive chemicals that can destroy the non-stick pans.
The dishwasher machines rely on these chemicals and surfactants. These surfactants act as an emulsifier to melt the grease and grime on the pan loosens the chemical bonding of PTFE (non-stick Teflon) coating.
These cleaning agents ultimately wear off the coating, which you may ingest if it gets mixed with food.
Another reason for the non-stick coating destroyed in the dishwasher is that the abrasive chemicals in the dishwasher detergent rub out the moisture of the pan. Since we don’t season our non-stick pans like cast iron skillets, the dried-up non-stick pans can’t sustain their non-stick capability.
To clean baked-on grease from nonstick pan follow this guide.
How Does a Non Stick Coating Deteriorate Even After Hand Washing?
Washing pots and pans in the dishwasher is not the sole reason for the non-stick coating getting damaged. There are other hidden culprits that can break down the non-stick layer. Let’s briefly discuss it along with useful tips to counter the problem.
We use dishwashing liquids to hand wash the non-stick pans. Don’t they affect the non-stick coating?
The answer is yes. If you are using a dishwashing liquid containing harsh chemicals, it will mess up the coating.
Use This Tip: Always use a mild dishwashing liquid without ammonia, phosphates, or bleach. Many brands have a neutral PH, and they don’t use any harsh chemicals.
Metal Scrubbers or Scouring Pad
Metal scrubbers and scouring pads result in scratches over the non-stick surface. So better not use these.
Use This Tip: Use nylon, sponge, or microfiber cloth to clean the non-stick pan gently.
Too Hot Water
High temperature is not a friend for non-stick pans. Always use lukewarm water to remove the grease and clean the pans.
Not Washing Non-Stick Pan Enough
If you don’t wash the non-stick pan after every use and just wipe it with a paper towel, food residue will still remain stuck on the pan even if you can’t see it. So the next time you heat the pan, food residues will burn, making it harder to wash.
Fruitful Tips: Either soak the pan in water to loosen the gunk and grime, or apply the mixture of baking soda and water and leave it for half an hour before washing it.
Don’t scrub the baking powder on the pan as it is abrasive.
Things You Should Never Put in the Dishwasher
- Non stick pots and pans
- Cast iron
- Hand painted ceramics
- Hand painted stoneware
- Pressure cooker lids
- Aluminum cookware
- Acrylic dishware
- Printed cups
The dishwasher is a blessing, especially if you have a large family. But some pots and pans are too dear (read non-stick pans) to be put into the whizzing dishwasher. Cleaning non-stick pans requires gentleness. Anything harsh, abrasive, or too hot will result in a chipped non-stick pan, and you will soon find yourself looking for a new pan to replace the old one. Treat your non-stick pan as you would treat your dear and sharp knives by not putting it in the dishwasher.