I suck at washing dishes.
July 18, 2007 8:56 AM   Subscribe

How do I clean my non stick pans?

This is kind of goofy, but apparently I can't wash dishes right. Most everything I just throw in the dishwasher. However, I can't seem to hand clean my nonstick pans without the pan forever smelling like dish soap.

I soak, I scrub, everything, and I can still smell it. So what's the trick.

Secondly, can I really not just stick them in the dishwasher on the gentle cycle or something? What would happen?
posted by stormygrey to Home & Garden (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Yes, this is kinds goofy. :)

I put mine in the dishwasher all the time with no problem. I also wash them in the sink with a sponge or a dish brush.

Maybe you need to use a non-scented dish soap.
posted by The Deej at 9:10 AM on July 18, 2007

If it still smells like dish soap, you are either a) using wayyy too much soap, or b) not rinsing the pan completely, or c) scrubbing so hard.

As for the dishwasher myth, DuPont says it's perfectly fine, as far as the non-stick coating goes.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:12 AM on July 18, 2007

I regularly put my non-stick pans in the dishwasher on the normal setting, but that's just because I'm lazy. The main disadvantage is the pans take up a lot of space and the dishwasher leaves a few watermarks. So, yes, you can do it.
posted by saeculorum at 9:13 AM on July 18, 2007

I think the taboo about dishwashers began in the early days of both home dishwashers and non-stick pans. Back in the day, dishwasher soap came exclusively in powder form. I suppose it was possible that the scouring action of powder combined with early non-stick coatings could result in a loss of the coating.
Today, though, we have liquid soaps and much, much more durable coatings.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:19 AM on July 18, 2007

If you can find "washing soda" in the supermarket, this absolutely rocks on non-stick pans. Add a small amount of crystals to some hot water in the pan and the grease and burnt on bits just fall off.

Been using it on a le creuset frying pan and a no-name wok and haven't had any adverse effects.
posted by MarvinJ at 9:24 AM on July 18, 2007

Unless your non-stick is very, very cheap, just throw it in the dishwasher. And if it's very, very cheap, throw it in the dishwasher anyway, and replace it if the non-stick coating ever breaks down.

If you're planning to still wash it by hand, rinsing in very hot water with agitation of some kind -- a clean cloth, or your hand if you can stand the heat -- will get the soap all off.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:27 AM on July 18, 2007

I ruined my favorite omelet pan by getting lazy one day and putting it in the dishwasher. It came out all spotty and the finish was somehow sticky and no longer smooth. Luckily, the pan is pretty much amazon's best deal ever and I just got another one. One swipe of a sponge with some soap on it, a rinse, and it's fine. Are you using some weird soap or something?
posted by CunningLinguist at 9:41 AM on July 18, 2007

I think dish washing soap is way, way too concentrated to the point where it's hard to use. I take a glass bottle with a liquor dispenser top thing and dilute the soap 50:50 with water and cleaning dishes becomes MUCH easier.

If you hate the smell try that, I think it works better anyways despite being watered down.
posted by bradbane at 9:55 AM on July 18, 2007

I was going to suggest the 3M Never Scrach soap pads (and boy, did they ever miss a chance to call them Nev-“R”-Scratch™ pads), but I see they’re Canada-only.
posted by joeclark at 11:18 AM on July 18, 2007

Do try using less dish detergent. The "ultra" products these days really require a lot less to make your sinkful of suds compared to the detergents of, say, twenty or thirty years ago.

And if you're washing by squirting some "soap" into each pan, cut it out! You're wasting detergent, maybe wasting water, too. Or else, buy a cheaper and more diluted brand of "dish soap."
posted by Robert Angelo at 12:24 PM on July 18, 2007

Calphalon has good advice.

How do I clean my non stick pans?

However, according to many professional chefs, the answer is that you never wash your pans.

Scrub off food bits (carefully!), wipe them and rinse them. No soap at all.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:10 PM on July 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


No, no, no. I know some people think this is fine, but I am a slob and it still bugs me, using no soap.

If you aren't going to use soap for ceramic, of course, that's different, and I would at least heat it up to get rid of the bacteria.

You can use teflon scrapers on teflon pans, and baking soda to get rid of odors, and lemon juice and all manner of things these days.

Dawn really does cut through the grease and get rid of the smell.
posted by misha at 5:14 PM on July 18, 2007

I've also noticed the stubborn detergent smell on non-stick pans. My normal washing method was to squirt a bit of soap into the pan and then wipe with a sponge or scrub with a brush. But to avoid the rinsing problem, I now fill the pan with water, then add a little soap. The pan gets clean and is easy to rinse, with no leftover soap or soap smell. Don't let the undiluted detergent come into contact with the pan surface.
posted by wryly at 6:17 PM on July 18, 2007

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