I’ve used many Teflon pans in the restaurant over the years. Some were damaged beyond repair. And some required a simple five-step repair process.
Follow along with this guide to repair your damaged non-stick pan:
How to Fix Scratched Non Stick Pan in 5 Steps
Teflon pans are prone to scratching. And there’s not much you can do about that except for taking good care of them. But luckily, if the scratches are not too deep, you can fix them.
However, if a pan is flaking, it’s better to replace it with a new one instead.
So here’s how to fix non-stick pans in five easy steps.
1. Clean Non-Stick Pan With a Sponge
Use dishwashing soap to clean a Teflon pan thoroughly. Make sure you get rid of any residue left on the interior of the pan.
Use lukewarm water to get rid of burned food as it helps to loosen it up. Warm water also helps to get rid of fat way better than cold water does.
After you’re done with the washing, use a dry cloth or paper towel to dry it out. A good option is also to leave it upside down on the counter until all moisture is gone.
Move on to the next step after you make sure the pan is dry.
2. Spray Your Pan With Non-stick Cookware Repair Spray
Spray your damaged pan with a non-stick cookware repair spray. If you don’t have one try to look for it in kitchenware stores.
Make sure every inch of the pan is coated evenly. Only this way can you repair your scratched pan properly.
3. Let a Pan Sit For 30 Minutes
After you spray your pan with a non-stick cookware repair spray, leave it to sit for 30 minutes at room temperature.
I highly suggest you take a cling wrap or tin foil and cover your pan. This way, you’ll protect your sprayed pan from any dust particles or any other things landing on the surface of the pan.
4. Heat the Non-Stick Pan
You can either bake the pan in the oven or heat it on a stovetop. However, if you decide to bake it, make sure that the handles are oven-proof.
This heating-up process will help the spray to restore the surface of the non-stick pan.
So If you decide to bake your Teflon pan, preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake it for 45 minutes.
And if your pan doesn’t have oven-proof handles, then heat it on a stovetop. Place your pan over low to medium heat for 15-20 minutes.
Let the pan cool down before you move on to the washing.
5. Thoroughly Wash Your Pan
By now, you should have your pan ready to be washed. Take your sponge and dishwashing soap and rinse your pan carefully under lukewarm water until the spray is removed.
Be gentle when washing your pan. Don’t apply too much pressure, and do not use abrasive scrubbing pads.
How to Use Non-Stick Pans Properly and Avoid Damaging Them
Teflon pans are popular among home cooks because of their non-stick surface. It allows for frying an egg or preparing pancakes without burning them to the bottom of the pan.
However, Teflon pans are prone to scratching. Utensils like stainless steel spatula, forks, knives, or scouring pads can leave scratches or even damage your pan beyond repair.
I advise you to follow some basic rules to make sure your pan is in a mint condition.
Follow along with these tips below, and you’ll never see a scratch on your non-stick pan.
Avoid Cooking at High Temperatures
Teflon (non-stick) pans are not the best at dealing with high temperatures. If you intend to prepare foods that require high temperatures, go for a skillet instead.
I suggest you keep your non-stick pan over medium to high heat. Anything more than that can cause damage if you use it often enough.
Use Only Wooden, Plastic or Silicone Utensils
As a general rule, never use a metal utensil on a non-stick pan or any other cookware. It can cause scratches, scuffs, and flaking, which will substantially reduce the Teflon pan’s life span.
A scratched surface will lose its smoothness, and it will become sticky. And you don’t want that with your non-stick pan.
To avoid damaging Teflon pan, use silicon, wooden, and plastic utensils only. It’s by far the best way to extend the lifespan of a non-stick pan.
Never Preheat an Empty Non-Stick Pan
Never preheat an empty pan because it emits polymer fumes. According to National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) polymer fumes are dangerous.
Make sure to add some oil, food or any liquid in your Teflon pan before placing it over the heat.
Only Hand Wash Non-stick pans
Only hand wash non-stick pans. I highly suggest you avoid washing your Teflon cookware in a dishwasher. Instead, use a soft sponge, a tiny drop of dishwashing soap, and warm water to clean your Teflon pans.
Don’t Use Abrasive Scrubbing Pads
Never use abrasive scrubbing pads, steel wool, or any other cleaning tool that can cause damage to the surface of your Teflon pan.
Instead, use a soft sponge that way; you’ll avoid nasty scratches.
When Should You Throw Away Your Non-Stick Pans?
Unfortunately, every non-stick pan has its drawbacks and weak spots. Some will last longer, and some will give up earlier than you expected.
If the handles are coming off and you can’t reattach them. Suppose you can see the core of the pan or some nasty deep scratches that began to flake. It means it’s about time to throw your pan away and get yourself a new one.
If you have money to spend, invest and buy yourself a high-quality non-stick pan. It should last much longer.
Or there’s an alternative to Teflon pan, and that is copper-infused ceramic. Even though I haven’t used one, I asked a few chefs for feedback, and they were optimistic about it. Most manufacturers claim these copper-infused pans are scratch-resistant. I would still avoid using any metal utensils. After all, you want your cookware to last for a long time.
Here are a few interesting facts about a non-stick pan and how to recover a scratched cast iron pan.
Can You Use a Scratched Non-Stick Pan?
According to Scientific American ingesting small flakes of the non-stick coating is not dangerous. But it’s up to you to take a risk. If you can’t fix a scratched non-stick pan and you find small flakes in your food. Throw it away and replace it with a new one.
How to Fix a Scratched Non-Stick Coating on Cast Iron Pan
Luckily for you, you can fix a non-stick layer on a cast-iron pan with a three-step process.
First, you need to clean your cast-iron pan. I have an article that gives your clear instructions on how to clean cast-iron cookware.
Second, use a clean cloth or paper towel to dry it. And once you have done that, place your pan over medium heat for three minutes for the excess moisture to evaporate.
The last thing you need to do is to season your pan. Rub the interior and exterior of the pan with vegetable oil—Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place a tray lined with aluminum foil on the bottom rack of your oven; This will prevent oil burning that drips from the pan. Once your oven has been preheated, place your cast-iron pan upside down on a middle rack. Bake it for an hour. Repeat a process three times.
The Bottom Line
As you can see, it’s easy to fix a scratched non-stick pan with one condition if the damage is not too significant. But you can always increase the life of your Teflon by taking care of it properly.