Does your favorite nonstick pan look worn down, with dents or scratches? It's probably time to get a new one.
When Do You Need a New Nonstick Pan?
If you or your family regularly cook with nonstick materials, you may wonder how to know when to throw away nonstick pans. Here are a few signs to look for.
1. Unsafe Materials
If your nonstick pan contains perfluorooctanoic acid, it is likely unsafe to use for cooking. Until 2013, most nonstick pan materials included polytetrafluoroethylene, a chemical made with perfluorooctanoic acid. However, evidence suggests PFOA can cause cancer or increase the risk of specific human tumors. Due to these risks, manufacturers no longer use PFOA to create Teflon or PTFE, materials commonly used for nonstick pans.
The Environmental Protection Agency has recently made it its mission to stop using PFOA in developing nonstick pans and other products. Products made after 2015 do not contain any PFOA. If you plan to buy new or used cookware, check its manufacture date to be sure it's PFOA-free.
Remember, using a PTFE-coated pan may not be dangerous as long as it doesn't contain PFOA. Still, it is good practice to use lower heat on the skillet, as overheating could release toxic gases that cause polymer-fume fever or result in headaches and chills.
2. The Coating Has Scratched
Even if your old pan does not contain PFOA, any scratches or chips in the material may mean the nonstick pan is no longer safe to use. If you find any scratches, peeling, flaking or worn areas in your pan, it likely means the pan is losing its nonstick capabilities. Any flakes or parts of the nonstick material could enter your food and cause adverse health effects. In some cases, the pan could expose the aluminum underneath, causing acidic foods to react with the metal and giving foods a strange, metallic flavor.
3. The Surface Is Warped
Surface warping often results from extreme thermal shock, which happens when you take your pan off the heat and put it in cool water or temperatures too quickly. To stop the pan from warping, avoid rinsing it in cold water immediately after you take it off the stove. When you buy a pan with a softer base metal, such as aluminum or copper, you should be aware that it might warp more readily than other nonstick pans. If the pan's surface is too warped, start looking for a replacement.
4. You Find Rust or Discoloration
If you find rust or discoloration on your pan, you should immediately search for a new one. Corrosion means the outer coating has worn away. Discoloration on nonstick pans is normal. However, replacing the pan is a good idea if you find deep discoloration that won't lighten with a wash.
5. Food Sticks to the Surface
If food starts sticking to your nonstick pan, the coating has lost its abilities and is no longer safe to use. Over time, the nonstick pan may become old and worn down, resulting in sticky food or scratched surfaces. If the nonstick pan becomes ineffective at cooking, it's time to invest in a new pan.
How Long Do Nonstick Pans Last?
Those who want to know when to replace their nonstick pans should remember that most pans last between one to five years. If your nonstick pan has a PTFE or PTFE Teflon coating, it might have a longer life span than ceramic coated cookware.
Some home cooks prefer ceramic-coated cookware, which only lasts about two years. By adding a multi-layer PTFE coating, you might be able to increase longevity. The more layers a pan has, the more resistant it becomes to scratches or general wear and tear. However, keep in mind that ceramic-coated cookware will not be as durable as Teflon, and still offers minimal resistance to scratches and general wear and tear.
Many cooks invest in reinforced nonstick coatings that lengthen the cookware's life span. Doing so may help your pan last longer, but you will still need more frequent replacements.
Overall, it is wise to invest in pans without any form of nonstick coating. Xtrema's pure ceramic cookware offers longevity, durability and scratch resistance while remaining a safe, nontoxic alternative to nonstick pans and coated cookware. While you might need to replace nonstick pans after only a few years or so, Xtrema's pure ceramic pots and pans can last a lifetime.
How to Prolong Your Nonstick Pans' Life Span
Nonstick pans are less durable than other materials. However, you can do a few things to make the cookware last longer. Here are three ways to make your nonstick pans last.
1. Use Soft Utensils
Avoid cooking with metal utensils, which could scratch the surface and result in wear and tear. Try using softer materials like wood spoons or silicone. You should also avoid cutting food in the pan — use a cutting board instead.
2. Use Low Heat
Many nonstick pans have heating limitations. Please read the instructions before using and check that it is oven-safe. It is best to always use a medium to low temperature to ensure you don't overheat the pan and cause it to warp or darken.
3. Hand-Wash Your Pans
While some nonstick pans may say they are dishwasher-safe, it is always best to hand-wash them. Use a soft sponge or brush and avoid using abrasive cleaners or scrubs. Clean the pan after every use to ensure it is safe for cooking.
Nonstick Pan Alternative — Ceramic Cookware
Ceramic is an excellent alternative to nonstick pans. These pieces consist of all-natural material, often clay, water and various ceramic materials fired in a kiln.
Many people switch to ceramic cookware because they want a nontoxic alternative to PFOA, PTFE and other potentially harmful materials. Consider using Xtrema's pure ceramic cookware if you want a healthy material you can use over stovetops, grills and campfires.
Is It Time to Replace Your Nonstick Pan? Choose Xtrema
At Xtrema, we offer simple, handcrafted cookware made from 100% natural, worry-free and nontoxic ceramic. You can pass our high-quality, long-lasting pieces down to future generations. Contact us today to speak to a friendly representative or explore our many products online and invest in reliable cookware.