How to Clean Non-Stick Pans

Non-stick pans offer an easy cleaning surface if properly maintained. These simple steps will keep your non-stick pans cooking and looking great.

Cleaning Non-Stick Pans

You Will Need:

  •  Non-abrasive nylon scrubber
  • Dish soap
  • Warm water
  • Vinegar

Steps to Clean Non-Stick Pans:

  1. If there is a layer of oil that is difficult to remove, fill the pan with water and add ½ cup of vinegar.
  2. Bring the water/vinegar mixture to a boil.
  3. As the mixture boils, the oil layer will rise to the top.
  4. Remove the oil and dispose of the water.
  5. Wash the pan with warm water and soap using a nylon scrubber.
  6. Rinse completely and dry with a soft cloth.

Removing Residue from Non-Stick Pans

You Will Need:

  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • Dish soap
  • Non-abrasive nylon scrubber

Steps to Remove Residue:

  1. Sprays and grease can leave a residue on non-stick pans that is difficult to remove.
  2. Start by mixing water and baking soda to make a paste.
  3. Spread the paste on the residue.
  4. Scrub the surface with a nylon scrubber. The baking soda acts as an abrasive to safely remove the residue without damaging the non-stick surface.
  5. Once the residue is removed, wash with soap and water.
  6. Rinse completely before drying with a soft cloth.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • Non-stick pans are designed to be used with no oils.
  • Avoid using cooking sprays as they can leave a residue that is difficult to remove.
  • Avoid harsh cleaners or abrasive scrubbers. Non-stick surfaces are delicate and can be removed with excessive/harsh cleaning methods.
  • If you are unable to wash a cooled pan right away, fill it with water to keep the residue from drying.


  1. If you scrape a non-stick finish too hard, you can peel the non-stick coating off. And once it starts to peel, the pan is ruined for cooking, because that non-stick coating can make you sick if you eat it.

  2. It won’t scratch or damage your pan, but it will get all the grease off. Rinse out as much of the loose grease as you can with hot water. Then sprinkle some BKF into the pan and scrub it gently with a dish cloth. Do the same with the outside of the pan. Then, rinse the pan twice to make sure you got all of the BKF off.

  3. Honestly, just wash your non-stick pan in the sink when you’re doing your other dishes. You can use a plastic scrubber (but not the green pads) or a dish cloth to scrub out the pan with, just don’t use steel wool or a stainless steel scrubber. And make sure the dishwater is still hot, since lukewarm water won’t help you get grease off of anything. Or if you don’t have hot dishwater ready, you can just put the pan in an empty sink, flush it with hot water straight from the faucet, then squirt in some liquid dish soap and scrub the pan out with your dishcloth. Rinse the pan under the faucet once you’re done scrubbing, then dry the pan and put it away.

  4. If you end up with food burned on or stuck on your non-stick skillet, ignore the irony of your situation and get to work fixing the problem. First, rinse or scrape out as much of the food as you can. Then fill the skillet with enough hot water to cover all of the stuck-on food and let it sit next to the sink for an hour or so. Dump out the water, rinse or scrape out the rest of the food, and then wash the skillet with hot water and dish detergent.

  5. Most non-stick pans now are dishwasher safe. Check to make sure your pan is dishwasher safe, then stick the pan sideways on the bottom rack of the dishwasher. Make sure you’ve rinsed the pan out before you run the dishwasher though, or the food particles that come off the pan might get thrown up onto the glasses you have on the top rack.

  6. Put some water and a bit of dish soap in the pan and sit it on the stove and heat until boiling for a few minutes. Remove it from the heat and let it sit a few minutes, then wipe it off with a dish cloth or plastic scrubber.

  7. I had a very nice non-stick pan that had grooves in it. The grooves became filled with food from cooking and I could not get it clean. I was just about to throw it away and decided to get on the website for that brand of cookware. They said to take 3 parts water to 1 part white vinegar and boil over med. heat for 5-10 min. Let cool and clean with a soft brush. It’s like new again!!! And to think I was going to throw it out.

  8. The easiest way to clean a non-stick pan is to keep food from getting cooked on in the first place. The Frugal Gourmet had a saying: “Hot pan, cold oil, food won’t stick.” It works — make sure your pan is thoroughly preheated, add your oil and whatever you’re cooking will not stick. And if anything does stick, rinse your pan immediately when you are finished; this will make clean-up much easier.

  9. Fill the soiled pan with water and soak, with a dryer sheet in the water; It will clean easily in the morning.

  10. Once in a while I get food REALLY burned into a pot or pan, either non-stick or regular. The last resort is to use thermal shock: put about a half inch of water in the pan & put it on high heat JUST until the water is boiled away, then pour ice-cold water in the pan. Between the steam of the boiling water and the ice water will usually dislodge the charred remains of food, which can then be washed out. This cure may require two or three repeats to get it all. If this fails, it’s time for a hammer & chisel, dynamite or just go out and buy a new pan… and learn to cook!

  11. I have a Woll pan, the coating is a non-stick, not the normal affair, developed by NASA – layered on, you know, that sort. Now, after three years use, a fat residue has built up and proven to resist all attempts to remove it; the pan was sticking every time. I’ve just discovered that Kleeneze Ovenmate does the trick; you paste it on, wait three hours then wash it off. Took about three applications but now my pan works like new.

  12. Ann Davis’ “hot pan, cold oil” tip above is right on! But I cook in a restaurant where other people screw up expensive pots & pans. Simmering water with a little dishwasher detergent (Cascade!) cleans up burnt-on food very well. Re-season the pan per mfg. instructions after. For the outsides of aluminum pans: simmer in 1 tbsp. Cream of Tartar per qt. of water. If it’s stainless steel, or porcelain enamel over cast iron (Le Creuset), use oven cleaner (the kind WITH fumes.)

  13. I don’t have a tip, but I have tried these methods and am still not able to get grease off the non-stick shallow skillet. Please recommend a solution. Thanks.

  14. I have been using Pam on my electric griddle and after a while, it sticks and builds up on the nonstick surface. I have tried everything I know and I can’t get it all off. Any suggestions?

  15. Boil water inside the pan to be cleaned; this will get the pan temp. over 200 degrees. Pour the water out, turn the pan upside down, spray with oven cleaner (follow directions on the can) wait, scrub, and repeat if necessary. Finish by washing inside and out with hot soapy water.

  16. I tried to remove food residue with liquid Cascade. Now I have a white residue that resists all attempts to scrub off. A 1/3 solution of white vinegar did nothing. I’m going out to buy more – we’ll see what 100% vinegar does. Any other ideas?

  17. NEVER EVER use cooking spray on non-stick pans. Never.

  18. Filled the bottom of the pan with water, added white vinegar, and covered when it came to a boil. Let it go for about ten minutes, and the sticky, caked-on mess that was on the bottom is gone! This is a rather new pan, Cuisinart’s “green” eco-friendly non-stick line they came out with a few years ago. I was ready to toss the pan. What struck me was when it came to a boil, it was the “problem” areas that bubbled up the most. Great tip!

  19. Wow, it worked! I was ready to throw out the pan, but now it’s like brand new! Thanks a lot! :-)

  20. I tried steaming artichokes, and ended up burning the pan when the water evaporated, since the burner was still on. Now the non-stick surface is all bubbled up and chunky, yet still all there. Any tips to salvage my fragile non-stick surface?

  21. Wahoo! My mum was really upset about these non-stick pans; it really works!

  22. There are some caked food particles on my non-stick pan. I first boiled some water, poured it out and ran cold water from the faucet into it. It’s still there. Then, I used baking soda and vinegar, and after rinsing, lo, the bottom of my pan turned yellow. I can not get it out. Any ideas, please.

  23. Hi,
    I am not clear with “fill with water and vinegar and heat up for 10 minutes.” How can this be done on shallow non-stick pans (the ones used for pancakes, etc.)? I really want to try this and remove all the grease.

  24. I boiled the 1:3 vinegar:water covered, but the residue was still there. While the skillet was still warm, I rubbed problem areas with an Aldis brand Mr Clean Magic Eraser knockoff and the residue came off easily. No problem with scratching.

  25. I tried something else in desperation, and it really helped. I poured oil over the surface of the pan and let it sit for several hours. The burnt-on grease softened and I was able to remove it with a plastic scrubber.

  26. I burnt a Nuwave green non-stick pan. It says NEVER use high heat, never boil in it, no dishwasher. How can I clean it ASAP?

  27. To get out tough grease stains, I simply spray a grill cleaner into the pan. Let it sit, then rinse it out to be washed. If it’s good for your grill to cook on, it’s good for the pots and pans.

  28. Just removed the horrible cooking spray residue using the baking soda/water method from my three-month-old, non-stick, heavy-based electric frying pan. BRILLIANT! Thank you!!!! So easy & gentle. I’d tried a few different (ineffective) methods to no avail, until I found your simple method. I had been so careful with it’s cleaning (after soaking), but cooking oil is a nightmare to deal with on new non-stick pans – if you don’t know how to remove it, that is. Happy days. :)

  29. The baking soda worked great–thanks!

  30. I have a non-stick pot that I usually make spaghetti sauce or curry. I have a hard time cleaning it. Tried soaking it in hot water; after rinsing, wiped with a kitchen towel and towel had spaghetti sauce on it. Can you recommend a way to get the residue off the pot?

  31. Rubyt,
    This is the article that you need: How to Clean Burnt Food off a Saucepan.

  32. Never use any dish soap or detergent under any circumstances. If you do, that strips away the coating.

  33. I was an idiot and sprayed my brand new no-stick roasting pan with cooking spray. Thankfully, this trick worked! Some baking soda, a washcloth, and elbow grease and my pan has been saved. Thanke!

Leave a Comment