Whether you love your cast iron pans or can’t live without your favorite nonstick skillet, keeping your cookware in perfect condition is essential. These pots and pans help you cook dinner for your family each evening, which means you need them to be in tip-top shape at all times. While some types of cookware take a little more maintenance than others, keeping your pots and pans in good working order isn’t difficult if you have all the information. These simple tips will help you extend the life of your cookware, ensuring it’s in great condition every time you’re ready to cook.
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Caring for Nonstick Cookware
Nonstick cookware is one of the most popular choices for home cooks – and for good reason! Using these pots and pans make cooking and clean-up so easy because the food slides right off. The key to ensuring your nonstick cookware stays in great condition is prepping your pans before you use them and taking measures to prevent damage as you cook.
- Before using your nonstick cookware, clean it with warm soapy water and rinse it clean. After drying the pot or pan, coat the pan with oil to season the pan, wiping away any excess oil before use.
- Skip the nonstick cooking spray when using a nonstick pan. Cooking spray will create build-up on your pan, which may damage the nonstick coating over time.
- Coat the pan with a small amount of oil before cooking, when the pan is still cold. This will give the oil a chance to warm slowly, allowing it to distribute over the pan more evenly as it cooks and prevent build-up on the nonstick surface.
- Never use metal utensils when cooking with a nonstick pan. Wooden or plastic utensils won’t damage the surface of the pan, but metal utensils will cause damage to the surface over time.
- Skip the dishwasher. While most nonstick cookware claims to be dishwasher-safe, the hot water and dishwashing detergents can break down the nonstick coating over time. Instead, allow the pan to soak in warm, soapy water for around 30 minutes, then hand wash in the sink.
- To repair your nonstick cooking surface after it was damaged, pour a small amount of oil in the pan and rub it in. Allow it to soak for a few minutes, then wipe the excess away with a paper towel.
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Stainless Steel Cookware Maintenance
Stainless steel cookware is loved by professional chefs and home cooks alike because the pots and pans are so versatile. And while these pots and pans are great for cooking, they can be difficult to clean and maintain. These easy stainless steel maintenance tips will help extend the life of your favorite cookware:
- Remove unsightly calcium buildup, which show up as white spots on your pans, by boiling a mixture of vinegar and water in the pan. After the pan cools completely, hand wash and dry the pan.
- Unlike nonstick cookware, adding oil to the pan when it’s hot is key to keeping food from sticking. Adding oil to the pan while it’s hot keeps the hot steel from contracting when the cool food hits the pan, keeping it from sticking.
- Boil off stuck-on food by adding water to the pan and heating until the water begins to boil. Use a flexible spatula to scrape of stuck-on food and rinse any residue away.
- If your pans are discolored with a rainbow-like tint, you will need to use a specialty stainless steel cleaner to revive them.
See also: Tips can get you a long way by saving you time and money. But for all of those unanswered questions? Check out our partner over at Best Kitchen Guides for some kitchen savvy that will give you an upper-hand!
Maintenance for Cast Iron Pans
Cast iron pans are great for cooking on a variety of surfaces and can add tons of flavor to your dishes. But they can also be a little difficult to care for. To ensure your cast iron lasts forever, consider these simple maintenance tips:
- Most cast iron you purchase today comes pre-seasoned, but if your cast iron pan needs to be seasoned, coat it in a layer of oil and place it in a 350-degree oven for around one hour.
- Avoid washing your cast iron pans in the dishwasher. Always wash them by hand without the use of soap and dry them thoroughly after each use to prevent rust.
- Finish cleaning your cast iron with a coat of oil all over the pan while it’s still warm to improve the life of your cast iron pan’s seasoning.
- Always remove food from the pan after it’s finished cooking. Allowing food to rest on the pan for too long can break down the seasoned surface over time.
- Be sure to store your cast iron pans in a dry place with the lids off to prevent rust.
For the type of things you should wash in the dishwasher: We’ve reviewed these counter top dishwashers to speed things up in the kitchen!
If you notice rust on your cast iron pan, rub the rusted area with steel wool to remove the rust. Rub the entire pan with flaxseed oil or melted vegetable shortening and bake it in a 350-degree oven for an hour. Hopefully you’re well versed in how to extend the life of your cookware!