The question “can you put non-stick pans in the dishwasher” is kind of a trick question because there are different kinds of non-stick cookware.
Some non-stick pans can be cleaned in the dishwasher without any problems, and some shouldn’t be.
Be sure you know exactly what kind of pots and pans you have to clean them so that they won’t damage them.
No one wants damaged cookware, and no one wants flakes of non-stick coating on their dinner plates.
While it’s always safer to err on the side of caution and wash anything that you’re not sure of by hand, we know that scrubbing greasy pots is no one’s idea of a good time.
Read on to learn which non-stick pans can go in the dishwasher safely.
Teflon and Similar Coatings
Teflon is what most people think of when it comes to non-stick pots and pans – a nontoxic chemical coating bonded onto aluminum or other metal pans.
Most manufacturers of non-stick cookware claim that it is dishwasher-safe. However, home economists and experienced cooks would argue otherwise!
The truth is that one or two trips through the dishwasher are likely to do very little damage.
The coatings are indeed designed to be washed in a dishwasher without immediately flaking or scratching, so if your favorite pan winds up in the machine, it will probably be fine.
Dishwashers use very high temperatures and harsh detergents to clean dishes – and they do a very good job at it.
Repeated machine washes, however, will not be good for Teflon-coated non-stick pans.
After only a few washes, the non-stick coating will thin and weaken, which means it will be less reliable and it will flake when you cook on it.
No one wants Teflon flakes in their meal, even if they are nontoxic.
Cast iron pans become non-stick only after properly seasoned, and anyone who has seasoned a cast-iron pan knows how lengthy and finicky that process is.
Don’t put a cast iron pan in a dishwasher unless you want to season it again from scratch!
Again, seasoning is what makes a cast-iron pan non-stick – thin layers of baked-on oil.
They soak into the iron and keep food from sticking to the pan.
If you put a cast-iron pan in a dishwasher, it will strip off all the seasoning.
Not only will your cast iron pan no longer be non-stick, but it will rust quickly. You will have to season it all over again to prevent this.
Most manufacturers claim that ceramic-coated cookware is safe to go into the dishwasher.
As with Teflon-coated cookware, we agree that the occasional trip through the dishwasher is not likely to cause lasting harm.
However, if you want to keep your ceramic-coated cookware in good condition, you should probably not make a habit of putting it in the dishwasher.
The high heat and harsh chemicals in dishwasher detergent will break down the ceramic coating more quickly than you would probably like.
For the best results, do not put this kind of cookware in the dishwasher very often.
How to Clean Non Stick Pans
If you don’t want to put your non-stick pans in the dishwasher anymore, you may be wondering what’s the best way to clean them.
Cast iron pans should be cleaned with plain water only (no soap!) and nonabrasive sponges.
They should then be dried thoroughly with a soft towel or in a warm oven.
Other non-stick pans, such as Teflon-coated or ceramic-coated pans, should be hand-washed in warm water with good-quality dish soap and nonabrasive sponges.
Be very careful not to use brushes or scrubby pads on Teflon-coated pots and pans since they will damage the finish.
When the finish on a Teflon-coated non-stick pan becomes damaged, it’s no longer non-stick.
It’s also likely to flake off into the food, and no one wants that.
Wrapping It Up…
Teflon-coated and ceramic-coated cookware may be advertised as dishwasher-safe, and they will likely survive one or two trips through the dishwasher with no problems.
But dishwashers use high heat and powerful detergents to get dishes super clean, which wears down the finish on most non-stick pans.
It’s a much wiser choice to wash the pans by hand, even though it is no one’s idea of a good time.
Cast iron is a special kind of cookware and therefore needs special care.
It should never go in the dishwasher, and it should never even be cleaned with soap.
The seasoning that makes it non-stick needs to be protected, which means careful, gentle cleaning with plain water only.