By Vanessa Greaves

If you let your non-stick pans get scratched and gummy, they can't do the job they were designed for—to make your life easier in the kitchen. Here's what you can do to avoid damaging them every time you use them.

Photo by Meredith cropped
  1. Pad the Stack. When you store your pots and pans, place a paper towel between them to keep the bottom of one from scratching the surface of the other.
  2. Use the Right Tools. Metal utensils will scratch most non-stick pans and ruin the surface. Choose wooden or silicone spoons and spatulas instead. You can even find silicone-coated whisks for making sauce and gravy right in the pan.
  3. Put Down the Non-Stick Spray. Over time, it leaves a sticky residue that's really hard to clean off. Sneak a peek at a misused non-stick pan and you'll see gummy patches on the surface that food will cling to like barnacles.
  4. Turn Down the Heat. Non-stick surfaces aren't designed to take high heat. Yes, there are some non-stick pans that are rated broiler-safe. Follow manufacturer guidelines; but when in doubt, medium heat is best.
  5. Clean with Care. If you want the surface to last a lot longer, wash non-stick by hand with a sponge—never a metal scouring pad—and don't put it in the dishwasher. If you can't clean a pan right away, fill it with soapy water to keep residue from drying on.

These very simple everyday moves will keep that slick non-stick doing what it does best for a good long time.


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