Can You Put Teflon Pans In the Dishwasher?

One of the big selling points of Teflon nonstick coatings when they were first included on pans was that they could save chefs both time and energy by greatly minimizing the amount of food that was stuck to pans after cooking. However, since the creation of Teflon pans, many people have become afraid to put them in the dishwasher for fear that it will diminish the Teflon nonstick coating. If this is the case, Teflon pans might not be so easy to clean after all! In this article, we’ll take a look at whether or not this myth is really true. Also, we’ll take a look at several ways that Teflon pan owners can prolong the lifespan of their cookware.

Can You Put Teflon Pans In the Dishwasher?

While not all pans made with Teflon are dishwasher safe, it won’t be because of the Teflon itself if they aren’t. According to DuPont, the manufacturer of the Teflon material, their unique nonstick coating is safe to be used in temperatures going up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. This range far exceeds any temperature your dishwasher will be reaching even on it’s highest and most intensive setting. If that happened, the entire unit would melt!

Teflon Is Dishwasher Safe, But Other Materials Might Not Be

There may be pans that are made with Teflon nonstick coatings that aren’t dishwasher safe, but this will be as a result of other materials that are being used in the pan. Such common materials can be found in the rubber that many pans use as grips. As well, there are some pans utilizing Teflon nonstick coating that also use some amount of aluminum, and placing these types of pans in the dishwasher can cause unwanted corrosion. This corrosion can dull an otherwise nice pan. No matter the occasion, it’s always the best practice to default to what the label says before assuming that any given dish is dishwasher safe. This is true whether the dish uses Teflon nonstick coatings or any other kind of material.

Always Listen to the Manufacturer!

If a dish can be ran through the dishwasher, it will clearly state that it is dishwasher safe on the label. If you can’t find any clear label that states whether or not the dish is dishwasher safe, you should assume that it isn’t! If the manufacturer says that it’s okay to wash a dish in the dishwasher, you’re generally going to be fine doing it. However, some people still choose to err on the side of caution by washing possibly hazardous and sensitive materials, such as Teflon, by hand. As well, some simply opt to put the dishwasher on a lower, less abrasive, and less heat-intensive setting when washing Teflon pans.

Everybody Has Their Own Opinion

One of the reasons that this myth has persisted to such a great degree is that there often seems to be no clear consensus amongst consumers as far as how much damage is really done to a Teflon pan by the average run through the dishwasher. Chefs will oftentimes butt heads over how to wash Teflon pans, with neither side being able to prove their point any better than the other. While the manufacturer of Teflon itself certainly encourages dishwasher use, many of the specific manufacturers that use Teflon nonstick coatings on their pans do not. As well, there’s also the fact that putting your Teflon pans through the dishwasher may greatly reduce their overall lifespan, which may pose a clear answer to economical chefs.

Are There Reasons Not to Put Teflon Pans In the Dishwasher?

As we’ve discussed, there are people who still opt to wash Teflon pans by hand, even if they’re labelled dishwasher safe. There are many reasons that this can be a good practice, and we’ll take a look at some of them in this section.

Washing Teflon Pans by Hand Makes Them Last Longer

The main reason people choose to wash Teflon pans by hand is that it stands to make them last longer. Dishwashers are fairly abrasive cleaners, and they generally have one standard flow for any type of dish that you put in. While some dishes may require a lot of intensive scrubbing to get clean, Teflon pans deserve to be treated gently. Although running your Teflon pans through the dishwasher won’t destroy them outright, it can do minor damage overtime that will inevitably decrease the lifespan of your dishes.

A Little Scratch Can Be a Big Deal

With Teflon, when a little bit starts to come off, the rest of it comes off a lot easier. When little scratches start to appear, this exponentially increases the rate at which a dishwasher can destroy them, reducing a once pristine nonstick coating down to nothing and leaving your pans essentially worthless.

Your Teflon Pans May Be Damaged by Other Dishes

Another important thing to remember is that dishes don’t go through the dishwasher alone. When your Teflon pans are running through the dishwasher, there are numerous other dishes that may become displaced or dislodged and collide with your Teflon pan. Oftentimes, a knife or other kind of sharp utensil falling onto the coating of a Teflon pan can do irreparable, with one giant scuff ruining an otherwise great pan for good.

What’s the Best Way to Wash a Teflon Pan?

The best way to wash a Teflon pan is simple– by hand with soap and warm water. There’s no more gentle or effective way to wash any kind of dish, and the only reason to every use a dishwasher is to save time. When it comes to special and sensitive dishes like Teflon pans, your best bet is always going to be to do it the old-fashioned way.

Wash by Hand with a Soft Scrubber

You’re also going to want to make sure you get a very soft and non-abrasive scrubber for washing your Teflon pans. You don’t want to use an abrasive sponge, and you especially don’t want to use something as hard as steel wool. Instead, opt for the softest sponge at your supermarket and keep that one reserved for hand-washing all of your Teflon pans. That is, if you want them to last you as long as possible!

Other Tips for Making Your Teflon Pans Last

There are many other useful tips to keep in mind that can prolong the lifespan of your Teflon pans whether you put them in the dishwasher or not. Let’s take a look at a few good practices that all Teflon pan owners should know about.

Secure Dishes When Running Through the Dishwasher

If you do wish to put your Teflon pans through the dishwasher, there are a few things you can do to try and decrease any unnecessary abrasion that may be occurring during an average load. For one thing, properly securing both your Teflon pans and any other dishes can help ensure that no dishes become dislodged and wreak havoc on your pans. You can also try and plan your dishwashing loads accordingly so that no dishes that pose a threat to your Teflon pans are in the same load as them.

Use a High-Quality and Less Abrasive Detergent

Buying the right kind of detergent can also make a difference when it comes to how much damage is being done to your Teflon pans in the dishwasher. Many people don’t pay much mind to the type of dishwashing detergent they buy, but not all detergents are created equally. Some cheaper detergents are much more abrasive than others, and a high-end detergent made for sensitive dishes may be the way to go in order to maximize the lifespan of your Teflon pans.

More Tips:

  • Don’t let your food sit for too long – acids in food can degrade Teflon coating overtime, leading to both a foul taste and a weaker Teflon coating
  • Don’t use too high of a heat when cooking – Teflon nonstick coating isn’t designed for temperatures that are in excess of 500 degree Fahrenheit, so try to keep Teflon pans below the medium-high setting on your stovetop
  • Don’t use metal cooking utensils – just as metal utensils can cause damage alongside Teflon pans in the dishwasher, they can also pose damage while you’re cooking with them
  • Season your pan with oil before cooking – known as pre-seasoning, gently rubbing a paper towel with cooking oil over the surface of your Teflon pan before cooking can aid in lubrication

Teflon Is Dishwasher Safe, But You Still Might Want to Wash Your Pans by Hand!

As you can see, the general adage that pans with Teflon nonstick coatings can’t be put into the dishwasher is a myth. While not all dishes with Teflon nonstick coatings are dishwasher safe, Teflon itself is dishwasher safe and can generally be ran through the dishwasher without much abrasion. However, there are still many reasons that Teflon pan owners may opt to wash them by hand, namely because it can greatly increase their lifespan. Whatever you decide to do with your Teflon pans in the future, hopefully this article cleared some things up for you!

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