Should You Put Nonstick Pans in the Dishwasher?
Jun 16, 2023
Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Make your favorite nonstick pan last for years and years with these expert tips.
Successfully cooking a meal is rewarding, but cleaning up—not so much. Doing dishes can be the most tedious part of the whole process, especially removing stuck-on food, oil, and other residue from pans. While it’s safe to run a regular metal pan through the dishwasher, does the same rule apply to nonstick pans? They always come out sparkling clean, but it’s valid to worry that doing so could remove the nonstick coating. Here’s what an expert advises.
The short answer is yes—but just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
“You can put nonstick pans in the dishwasher, but the cleaners used in the dishwasher combined with the high hot water temperatures may reduce the performance of the nonstick pan's lifetime,” says Jeff Malkasian of Viking, a cookware company. “PTFE-based coatings tend to be more dishwasher friendly than ceramic-based nonstick coatings. The dishwasher may actually shorten the performance lifespan of nonstick coating.”
So if you don’t have much time to clean up (or you just don’t feel like it), and the pan is at the end of its life anyway, go ahead and put it in the dishwasher. Then order a new one.
As soon as you’re done sautéing your veggies or cooking a delicious filet mignon, you might be tempted to immediately run your pan under some water and clean it before eating, but the best thing to do is wait.
“This is very important with all cookware, whether it has nonstick or not,” Malkasian explains. “Always allow the pan to cool naturally. Never shock the pan by running it or submerging it in cold water. Shocking the pan may cause the metal to warp and cause the pan to be uneven on your stovetop.”
An uneven pan may lead to uneven cooking, which you never want. It’s best to move your nonstick pan onto a burner that wasn’t used during cooking, let it cool, enjoy your meal, and then get to cleaning up afterward.
To maintain the nonstick coating and make your pan last as long as possible, Malkasian suggests hand washing it with hot soapy water.
“All nonstick coatings have a lifetime,” he says. “Depending on use, that could be up to several years. If you have a PTFE-based nonstick and notice that the performance is declining, wash it with hot, soapy water and scrub the surface vigorously with the green side of a scrubby sponge. That scrubbing will help remove any residue buildup from the food and restore some of the nonstick performance.”
It’s common to want to put nonstick pans in the dishwasher—not just because it’s less work and more convenient, but also because using sponges isn’t the most fun. If that’s how you feel, using a scrub brush (plus a little bit of elbow grease) effectively removes leftover grime. They also rinse clean and can be sanitized in the dishwasher.