After the Teflon debacle and a public lawsuit against the company, people turned their eyes towards non-stick ceramic pans as an alternative to their non-stick cooking solutions. But it brought several questions regarding the longevity of ceramic pans, heat endurance, and safety.
One of the nagging questions that became the center of attraction was:
- Do Ceramic Pans Get Scratches?
- Why Do Ceramic Pans Get Scratches?
- Scratches on Brand New Ceramic Pan?
- Can I Use a Lightly Scratched Ceramic Pan?
- Are Scratched Ceramic Pans Safe?
- Can We Fix the Scratches on Ceramic Pans?
- How to Avoid Scratch Marks on Ceramic Pans?
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Final Words!
Do Ceramic Pans Get Scratches?
In fact, every pan that has a coating (whether Teflon or Ceramic) can get scuffed and scratched, leading to peeling off of the upper coating. Although ceramic is resistant to scratch marks, it can still get affected by the rigors of the kitchen and high-temperature cooking. Don’t miss our top recommendations for the best frying pans without teflon.
Why Do Ceramic Pans Get Scratches?
Ceramic pans can get scratches for three reasons.
- Using metal utensils, spatulas, forks, spoons, or a beater directly in the ceramic non-stick pan.
- If you scrub the non-stick pan with a metal scrubber or rough nylon pads, the ceramic coating will get scratches on it.
- If you stack the pans over each other, the pans will slide and collide, which leads to scratches and scuffs in no time.
Scratches on Brand New Ceramic Pan?
Ceramic pans are notoriously known for scratches. Especially, people complain that scratch marks appear even after the first time usage.
But the fact is ceramic pans have a light-colored interior. And what you may perceive as scratches are only the smear or marks on the pan’s surface by spatulas rubbing against the surface, and the actual coating is unaffected.
The gray marks are similar to the ones you get on kitchen marble tops by utensils being dragged across the surface. It just needs cleaning, and the marble surface remains unscratched.
To recognize it, you need to do the “touch test.” If your pan has scratches, you will feel the roughness of the surface. If the surface is smooth, the marks will go away with washing.
Can I Use a Lightly Scratched Ceramic Pan?
A lightly scratched ceramic pan is usable, but slight scratches are an indication that your pan will soon need replacement.
The rate of non-stick pan scratches is directly linked to its longevity. The quicker the pan gets scratched, the more frequently you’ll need to replace it as it will lose its non-stick quality.
The scratches affect the pan’s non-stick quality, and you’ll notice the food sticking on it. But as you continue to use it, the scratches will propagate, and the ceramic coating will start flaking. There is a high chance of small flakes mixing in your food which you can accidentally ingest.
So, a highly scratched pan should be thrown or replaced.
Are Scratched Ceramic Pans Safe?
Yes, slightly scratched ceramic pans are safe to use. But if your pan is over-scratched and the aluminum layer is more exposed, the aluminum metal may leach into the food.
Aluminum leakage has carcinogenic and neurodegenerative effects on people. That’s the reason ESFA has set the minimum tolerable aluminum levels. If the aluminum that leaches into food from scratched ceramic pans exceeds the minimum tolerable intake, then you should discard the pan.
Since it’s challenging to measure aluminum leakage, throwing away the heavily scratched pan is better.
When it comes to ceramic Vs. Teflon safety, both non-stick pans now use hard-anodized aluminum, which creates a seal that stops aluminum leakage in food and makes it safer to use.
Discover which toxic chemicals were used in Ceramic Non-stick Pans in the article “Is ceramic non-stick cookware safe?”
Can We Fix the Scratches on Ceramic Pans?
No, you can’t fix scratches on ceramic pans. You can’t stick back the peeled-off ceramic flakes on the pans again.
If your pan has scuff marks from spoons or utensils that haven’t damaged the actual coating, then you can wash the pan, and the scuff marks will be removed.
But if the food on your pan is sticking, you can season it to minimize the food sticking problem. The seasoning will also create a protective layer that will stop the aluminum toxins from mixing in the food.
- For that, wash and dry the pan to remove the grease and food bits from the pan.
- Take high-smoking oil (like flaxseed), pour two spoons into the pan, and swirl it to coat the pan thoroughly.
- Keep the pan on the flame until the oil smokes.
- Remove excess oil with a paper towel. Repeat the procedure if required.
The oil will settle in the pores, and the thin layer of oil will stop the food from sticking and metal leaching in the food.
How to Avoid Scratch Marks on Ceramic Pans?
You can avoid scratches if you properly take care of your ceramic pans. But remember, the ceramic coating will eventually lose its strength, and scratches and flaking will then be inevitable.
Avoid Harsh Utensils: Avoid using steel spatulas, forks, and spoons in the pan. We tend to scrape the food to get our spatula under it to flip it. But it can leave scratches on the pan’s surface.
Avoid Scrubbers: Use only a soft sponge to wash the pan. Don’t use abrasive metal scrubbers or brushes with hard bristles.
Avoid Stacking: Don’t stack your pans over each other for the sake of saving space. The pans will slide over each other and cause scratches. Use pan racks or pan protectors for storing the pans.
Avoid Cooking Food On High-Heat: High heat weakens the coating, resulting in food sticking to the surface and making it more prone to scratching.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is ceramic cookware bad?
Ceramic cookware is not bad. In fact, ceramic coated cookware is considered safe for cooking compared to Teflon. Earlier ceramic pans used to have lead and cadmium in the chemical coating, which are toxic, but many manufacturers have eliminated these toxins from their manufacturing process.
What are the benefits of ceramic cookware?
- Ceramic cookware can cook food on high heat without emitting toxic fumes, unlike Teflon pans.
- Ceramic coating has natural elements (clay) in it, which makes it chemical-free.
- Ceramic cookware is lightweight, disperses the heat evenly, is heat-resistant and easy to clean.
- If you are looking for a pan for high-heat cooking in an oven (more than 500°F), you can choose non-stick ceramic pans as some brands like Blue Diamond offer pans that can go in the oven as hot as 600°F.
Does the ceramic coating on pans wear off?
Yes, the ceramic coating wears off with time. Most ceramic pans have a shelf-life of 3-5 years. However, the wear and tear of coatings also depends on the usage. If you adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions for the pan’s maintenance, the pan will last longer.
Scratch marks are inescapable on any non-stick coating. But you can prolong the pan’s life by properly taking care of it. If the pan has got severe scratches on it, it’s time you throw it away and replace it.