When to Throw Away Non Stick Pans [4 Clear Signs]

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Kitchenware or non-stick pots and pans are not wall-decorative pieces that you always want to keep hanging on without using. Non-stick cookware solitary purpose is to cook in them.

Home chefs prefer non-stick pans for ease of cleaning and cooking convenience. They have peace in knowing that if they are multi-tasking and forget to stir the pan for a few minutes, the food won’t burn due to the frictionless surface. But the non-stick coating doesn’t last long.

The deterioration process will begin with subtle signs, and then these faint signs will turn into more prominent and unmistakable denotations, indicating you to bid farewell to your non-stick pan.

Before discussing the signs that shows it is time to throw away the frying pan, we want you to check our tested recommendations for the best 12 inch non-stick pan and electric stove safe nonstick pans.

When to Throw Away Non Stick Pans

The visible signs that tell us when to throw non-stick pans are warped and dented non-stick pans, unsightly over scratched pans, and pans with wobbly handles that swirl around when moving the pan.

Fortunately, if your pan is in usable condition and doesn’t pose any health threat, you can keep using it. However, any pan that’s damaged beyond repair or fixing, should be thrown straight away.

Cue # 1: Dump Your Non-Stick Pan When It’s Scratched

Dump Your Non-Stick Pan When It's ScratchedSlight scratches on non-stick pans don’t harm your health. Fixing a scratched frying pan is not possible by any means. You can clean and season the pan and keep using it.

Fixing a scratched pan requires either recoating or stripping the non-stick coating altogether to use it as a regular pan.

However, if the non-stick coating has started flaking and the inner aluminum layer is visible, it’s time to throw away the non-stick pan.

Don’t worry; if you ingest a non-stick coating’s small flake by mistake, it won’t get absorbed by the body. These tiny black bits of non-stick coating will pass out of the body without causing any damage or chemically reacting with your internal systems.

But scratched pans’ non-stick quality decreases significantly, and all foods start sticking to pan, defying the purpose of a slick non-stick pan.

Secondly, Teflon has a bad reputation and is linked with several diseases, so it’s better to throw it out and buy a new non-stick pan without Teflon!

Cue # 2: Discard a Severely Warped or Dented Non-Stick Pan

Discard a Severely Warped or Dented Non-Stick PanA severely warped pan doesn’t pose any health threat until the non-stick coating starts getting affected. The pan warps by a sudden temperature change when you immediately wash the pan after cooking on it.

The warped pan is still usable; however, the pan will wobble on the stove due to the bent bottom. The wobbling pan is more likely to fall off the stove by slight wrong hand movement.

Another drawback of such wobbly pans is that they don’t evenly disperse heat, especially on glass stovetops. The bottom of the pan doesn’t lay flush with the glass stove, so the heat doesn’t transfer evenly.

An induction compatible frying pan with a warped bottom will be useless as it won’t heat up on the induction burner. Oil or liquid will also pool in the lower dips of the pan.

It’s a clear indication for you of replacing the non-stick pan if you want perfectly and evenly browned food.

For cooking food on high temperature, you can check these best non stick pans for high heat

Cue # 3  When the Non-Stick Pan’s Handle Gets Loose or Melted

Non-Stick Pan's Handle Gets Loose or MeltedA pan with a damaged, loose or broken handle is a hazard in itself. It will make it difficult for you to maneuver the pan, adjust it on the stove and lift it.

You will always be bound by fear of losing the pan’s balance, and anytime it can fall off from your hand, spilling or dropping the food and scalding you in the process.

A pan’s handle gets melted if you use it at high temperature or put it in an over-heated oven. Similarly, a loose handle that can’t be fitted is a sign for you to bid farewell to the pan.

But, if your pan’s riveted handle is slightly loose, you can repair the non-stick pan’s handle by hammering the rivets inside the pan. See the YouTube video to understand the method.

Cue # 4: When it’s Discolored

Discolored Non Stick PanSlight discoloration of the non-stick pan doesn’t mean you should throw it in the bin straight away.

It’s a forewarning that you should practice caution because severe discoloration and strange texture of the pan means the top non-stick coating is affected, and you will notice that the pan is not non-stick anymore.

The pan discolors due to the moment of laziness when you wash your non-stick pan in the dishwasher. Harsh chemicals or detergents for cleaning the non-stick pan also makes the coating look dry.

If washing with vinegar to restore its color and seasoning doesn’t work, then it’s time to replace the pan.

If you still want to try seasoning, you can check our detailed post on how to season a non stick pan.

How To Safely Discard the Non-Stick Pan

Check With Local Recycling Companies

Since the non-stick pan has a top coating of Teflon, your local recycling company or municipality may not recycle the pan or remove the top coating before recycling. The inner Aluminum core has market value; thus, it can be recycled.

Check With the Manufacturer

Some non-stick pans come with a lifetime warranty. They take back damaged non-stick pans, repair and recycle them.

Metal Scrap Yard

Metal scrap yard specializes in scraping metal and recycling it. They pay the metal owner competitive prices based on the weight of the metal and reuse the metal to make other goods.

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs

Is it okay to use a scratched non-stick pan?

The heavily scratched non-stick pans not only look unsightly, but the food also tends to stick on them. There is also the scare of Aluminum leaching into the food, which has produced contrasting arguments about its safety. So, it’s better to discard the scratched pan and buy a new one.

What is the lifespan of a non-stick pan?

The non-stick pan’s lifespan is conditional on how well you maintain it. If you adhere to the non-stick pan’s safety guidelines, the non-stick pans can last 3-5 years. But if you cook food on high heat, use metal forks or spoons in it, and wash it with harsh detergents, metal scouring pads, the non-stick pan will only last a few months.

Are old non-stick pans safe?

Old Teflon non-stick pans manufactured before the ban of harmful substances (PFOA) in the non-stick coating are not safe. So, if you have some older non-stick pans lying around in your house, you better discard them. However, if the pan was manufactured after the strict prohibition by FDA on these harmful substances, then these older pans are safe until they get scratched or show the signs of irreparable damage to the non-stick coating and become unusable due to warped base or loose handles.

Is Teflon poisonous when scratched?

No, a non-stick pan without Teflon or with Teflon is not poisonous when it’s scratched. After the Teflon ban on toxic chemicals, the non-stick coating has become safe. The only fear is high heat, which can emit toxic fumes that are deadly to birds and can make human beings temporarily ill.

Wrapping Up!

The non-stick pans longevity depends on its care and maintenance. However, when you see the clear cues of failing non-stick coating, scratches, and loose handle, it’s time for you to look for a new non-stick pan. Remember, replacing the pan is easier than using a non-convenient, sticky and scratched non-stick pan.

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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