How to Clean Burnt Teflon Pan Without Damaging Coating

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A momentary distraction, and the food burns!

Woosh! It leaves behind a terrible mess to clean after…

And if the pan is non-stick Teflon, then just forget about scrubbing or using elbow grease…

Or throwing it into the dishwasher… sigh!!!

So, how can you clean the burnt Teflon pan without damaging the non-stick coating?

That’s what brought you here. These cleaning tips will also work for the non-stick pans without Teflon.

Don’t miss to check: Best Stackable Pots and Pans 2022.

How to Clean Burnt Teflon Pan Without Damaging Non-Stick Coating

Upon burning the food, most people tend to make a common mistake. They shift the food onto a platter and immediately run the pan under cold water while it is still hot. The idea is to remove the burnt bits before it gets hard after cooling.

It may work with stainless steel, but the Teflon non-stick pan would warp by sudden thermal shock (temperature change from hot to cold).

So, the first step is to let the pan cool.

  • The next step in cleaning the Teflon pan is loosening the burnt food residue stuck inside.
  • Then comes the actual cleaning with dishwasher soap, sponge, and non-abrasive nylon wool that can be used on a Teflon pan.
  • Now, if you cannot get all the stuck bits out, you need to redo the steps or try any other trick.

So, how to loosen the burnt food bits?

If there is a hard crust on the non-stick pan that seems challenging to clean, you can loosen the crusty brown layer using various methods.

I do it by submerging the pan in the water. Depending on the time and patience, I fill the pan with water for as short as 15 minutes or overnight.

And if I don’t have that much time, I simply fill the pan with water and vinegar and boil it for several minutes until the crusty layer softens enough so I can clean it with dishwashing liquid and a sponge.

I have tried several other methods also, including salt, and lemon and baking soda for cleaning pans.

Let me simplify all the methods which you can try and see what works for you.

Ingredients Method
Water + dishwashing liquid Fill the pan with water and squirt a few drops of dishwashing liquid. Soak it for an hour or overnight.
Water + vinegar Fill the pan with water. Pour ¼ cup of vinegar in it. Bring it to a boil on medium heat. (Don’t heat on high-flame). Use a wooden spatula to remove as much of the brown crust as possible.
Water + baking soda Baking soda cuts off the grease like a wonder. Use a tablespoon of baking soda in a pan with water. Boil it on  medium heat. 
Baking soda paste Make a paste of baking soda. Apply it on the non-stick pan and leave it for a few hours.
Salt + dishwashing liquid + lemon Mix lemon drops with dishwashing liquid, add kosher salt in it. Apply generously on the pan and leave it for an hour before cleaning.
Baking soda + vinegar Make a paste and apply it to the pan for at least an hour before washing it.

Note: Vinegar and lemon can be interchanged, and you can also use cream of tartar instead of lemon or vinegar as all of them have acidic properties.

Making a paste and applying it usually works better for cutting baked-on grease.

You may also like to check: Best Oven Safe Non Stick Pans

Washing the Teflon Pan

washing non stick panAfter trying any of the above methods, the next step is to wash the non-stick Teflon pan with dish soap, a sponge, nylon pad, or microfiber cloth.

Using warm water instead of cold water for the final wash works better to remove food and grease leftover residue. The only thing to remember is not to vigorously scrub or use any metal scrubber as it can cause scratches on the Teflon pan. Pay special attention to the area near rivets where the grease accumulates over a period of time.

Dryer Sheet Method (Don’t Bother Trying!)

I have also tried the dryer sheet method, but it didn’t work out.

It involved applying dishwashing liquid with water on the pan. After placing the dryer sheet over it to completely submerge it in the liquid, wait for an hour or two. Rinse the pan as usual with a sponge and dishwashing soap.

Cleaning Burnt Frying Pan Bottoms

Cleaning Burnt Frying Pan BottomsThe best thing about cleaning the burnt bottom of a Teflon pan is you have the freedom to scrub it. But you can only scrub it if the pan has a steel plate bonded at the bottom. You can’t use hard scrubbers or Scotch Brite for pans that aren’t induction compatible.

The cleaning method is quite simple.

Sprinkle baking soda generously and add a few drops of dishwashing liquid. Rub it with a sponge or fingers. Let it sit for half an hour.

If the pan has a bonded steel plate, rub it with Scotch Brite and wash it.

  • You can also use vinegar or lemon on the bottom of the pan to clean it.
We have discussed all the methods in detail regarding cleaning the outside bottom of pans made of any material.

Is it safe to use a burnt non-stick pan?

It’s the question that is often asked, especially for a Teflon pan. If you burn the Teflon pan, you get the plastic-like chemical smell, and the fumes are toxic to inhale. But after the fumes die down and clean the pan without damaging the non-stick surface, you can definitely reuse it.

Wrapping Up!

Restoring the non-stick pan after a food-burning incident is not that difficult. You only need to be careful as scrubbing hard can cause scratches. We mentioned above not to wash the hot pan but don’t wait too long after the pan is cooled; otherwise, the burnt food will get too hard to clean.  To prevent it from happening again, always cook on slow to medium flame and use a few tablespoons of oil for cooking. Dry cooking on high heat is often the cause of food burning, even on the non-stick surface.

P.S. Don’t forget to oil the pan after cleaning it to restore its shine and keep the non-stick ability intact. A few teaspoons of oil should do the trick.

About Amelia

Hello, I’m Amelia. Welcome to my blog KitchenUnder100.Com. Over here I regularly post kitchen hacks, reviews of kitchen tools, utensils and related articles. My mission is to search and recommend the best kitchen products, so you don't waste your precious time and money on anything that is not worth it.

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