Non-stick pans are a gift that we all have been taking for granted. We all, myself included, have slowly been ruining our beloved non-stick pans. Yes, they are useful for almost everything, but it turns out, they aren’t as durable as you might think. Avoid the following and extend the life of your non-stick items!
1.    Let’s start with the heat you typically use with your pots and pans. Now I always thought that non-stick pans were the toughest of them all. This is not true. As it turns out, you are only supposed to use low and medium heat with them. Avoid cranking up the heat when using your non-stick pans because it causes the finish on the pans to blister and eventually, your pans will warp and become distorted.
2.    What about what you cook? From what I’ve found, pots and pans can handle most food items. Bread pans, however, are made only for bread. So be careful when making meatloaf because those bread pans aren’t made for acidic foods or meats and using them this way can wear at the finish. It has also been found that sometimes food residue ends up in bread when baked in the same pan. Gross. Make sure you have a specific pan designated for bred only. It is the best way to ensure a quality loaf of bread and that you maintain the quality of the pan.
3.    Even though it is by far the most convienent way of doing things, try not to serve food directly out of your non stick pan. Using metal utensils to cut and scrape up food results in you cutting and scrapping up your pan. When there are little nicks in the pan, it is easier for food to crust into it and for it to rust.
4.    Now, once your meal is complete and you realize that you have some left-overs sitting in the pan, what do you do? Well, I can tell you what you DON’T do. Do not think that it is ok to store your left-overs directly in the pan. Remove the food from the pan, throw those left-overs in a Tupperware and carefully clean, dry and store you pan. This will help ensure the longest life possible for your pan.
5.    Since I mentioned cleaning your pan, I should probably tell you how best to go about doing it. First of all, avoid using a metal based brush or steel wool. Yes, these tools are effective at removing dried on foods, but they are harmful to your pan. Tools like these are so abrasive that they can actually scrub off the coating on your pans. Also, non-stick pans are not meant for the dish washer. The detergents found in most stores are too harsh for the nonstick coatings and causes it to wear away. All that being said, make sure to soak your pan for a few minutes to loosen all dried on foods. Then, use a soft sponge and mild soap to gently scrub away the debris.

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