How long should you use a nonstick pan? Nothing lasts forever and nonstick pans are no different. Using it for too long might even jeopardize your health.
Some of us think that utensils will last until judgment day. So, we use those pots and pans until they have a hole or become undeniably damaged. Did you know that using chemically treated utensils for too long can hamper you and your family’s health?
However, how do we even know when to throw away a utensil? It’s a vital concern, especially when it comes to nonstick pans. We do not want to throw away a pan that is still usable. But, is the need to not waste worth hampering your health?
The key is to figure out when your nonstick pan crosses its durability. Continue reading to understand when it’s the right time to say goodbye to your nonstick pan.
Nothing Lasts Forever, Especially Nonstick
You wake up on a Sunday morning, with a craving for fluffy, mouthwatering blueberry pancakes. You put in all the work and make it from scratch, and right when you put them in your nonstick frying pan, the pancake gets annoyingly stuck to the pan.
Furthermore, you think to yourself, a nonstick pan isn’t supposed to do that, have I used it for too long? The answer is, Yes, you have used it way too long, and now it’s time to say goodbye. Not only is it difficult to use a nonstick pan that has gone bad, but it is also potentially hazardous to cook with.
Why Should You Throw Away Your Nonstick Frying Pan?
Your nonstick frying pan has a coating that prevents your food from sticking to its surface. That coating is made of Teflon, which is a synthetic chemical. This compound is made of carbon and fluorine.
When you use your nonstick frying pan roughly or frequently over high temperature, the coating compound starts to break. It releases toxins that will mix with your food. Those toxins have been related to many diseases, including various types of cancer.
So, when the coating starts to change color, visibly break and come off, you must replace it. You must accept that your good old friend needs to go and make space for a new nonstick pan that won’t poison you slowly.
Do NOT Do These With Your Nonstick Pans
The key factor to avoid while using your nonstick pan is overheating. So, cooking on a stovetop with low or medium heat wouldn’t be harmful. However, if the heat exceeds 570 °F/300 °C the Teflon will start breaking down. It will release toxic fumes into the air which causes lung damage.
If you are thinking of sticking it in the oven make sure you are using oven-safe calphalon pans and practicing caution while using them.
Try not to simmer liquids in your nonstick utensils for long hours, especially in high heat. If you are planning on making creamy chicken stew, you better refrain from it. Avoid scratching and breaking the coating of the pan using metal spatulas and spoons.
When Should You Throw Away Your Nonstick Pans?
When to throw away cookware depends on its maintenance and how much it has been damaged over time. So, a good-quality nonstick pan that has been well maintained can last you for years.
If you can’t determine whether it has been used to full capacity, the standard lifespan of a nonstick pan is about five years. After five years, you can feel free to throw it away.
But, how to determine whether the pan has gone bad before its lifespan ends? There are a few signs that will help you understand that a certain pan is not usable anymore. Noticing the following signs can help you determine whether it is time to say goodbye to your nonstick pan.
Is The Nonstick Warped?
When you put a super hot utensil under cold water, it warps. A warped pan is one that does not have a flattened base. A sign that shows whether your pan is warped is when you set it down on a completely flat surface and yet it wobbles. This shows the shape has become uneven.
Warped cookware gives you an uneven heat zone and hence, any food preparation on that pan will be cooked unevenly, which is dangerous when cooking raw poultry or fish.
Throwing out a warped pan is the right thing to do unless you feel confident that you can fix it. Try fixing the warped pan and see if it works, before you decide to throw it out.
Are there Many Scratches On Your Nonstick Pan?
Is your nonstick pan heavily scratched? Scratches on your nonstick pan mean that the chemical coating has been compromised.
The coating on your pan is sealed, only breaking when there is high heat. However, if that coating surface is broken, bits of the chemical compound is released into your food!
If your pan is scratched badly, it is better to throw it away. However, one little scratch doesn’t mean the food cooked in that pan will immediately kill you. It is all about how much toxic compound is being transferred into the food.
A small scratch will release a little toxin. Just making sure you don’t cook over extremely high heat should be good enough.
Has Food Buildup Over Time Created Its Layer?
An old frying pan often gets a dark discoloration due to buildup from food cooked in it. It might be an oily layer that doesn’t come off no matter how much you scrub. Such greasy coatings are very common and extremely unhealthy for your health.
The problem with a nonstick is that you can’t even scrub roughly without the risk of breaking its coating. Hence, cleaning that build-up is often impossible. It is easier and less risky to just throw away the old nonstick pan and buy a new one.
To avoid such food buildup, it is better to maintain your nonstick cookeries regularly. After cooking something greasy, cleaning it carefully yet thoroughly should ensure no buildup has formed.
Does Coating Look faded or is the sliver base showing?
Years of use or overuse can turn your shiny nonstick coating look a faded brown. Using a faded pan is not only problematic, as the nonstick stops working properly, but it also means that the coating is getting slowly released into your food.
If the coating has nearly disappeared due to frequent usage and scratching, you must throw away the pan. Seeing the silver base means you are eating food that has been seasoned with toxins for weeks/months.
You must realize that a faded pan that still works is just as bad. If you see these signs of age and damage, it is better to throw away the nonstick pan and get a new one.
What’s The Condition Of Its Handles?
If the handles on your nonstick pan feel loose or the heat has melted and deformed it, throw away that pan. A loose handle can cause serious accidents when cooking. If it comes off when transferring hot food, you can get seriously hurt.
Melted handles are not only unpleasant to look at but when the plastic melts it releases toxic fumes into the air that can cause serious health problems. The poor condition of the nonstick pan is a vital sign that the pan is either low quality or has exceeded its capacity.
How Can You Extend Its Lifespan?
Can you extend the lifespan of your nonstick pan? Yes, you can, but only if you carry out proper maintenance. Always keep in mind that you are not using it over high heat or putting the hot pan under cold water.
Cleaning it carefully is a must, but that doesn’t mean you must scrub out the nonstick coating. Wait until the pan cools and clean it with gentle soap and warm water.
If you cook greasy food or there is a greasy build-up, lightly simmer the pan with a solution of 1:2 ratio of vinegar and water. Throw away the water and gently clean it with soap. Taking care of it will make it last longer.
Can You Repair a Nonstick Pan?
You can repair a nonstick pan, but, you must do it carefully. Wash out the build-up and scrub it clean. Then use a nonstick repair spray and make sure you follow all the instructions on the spray. Make sure to use it in a place that is well ventilated. However, buying a new pan is simply safer and easier.
Even though nonstick pans are super easy to use and affordable to buy, one must practice caution while using them. Just make sure to throw the pan out when it has crossed its usage capacity and get a new one.