Dishwashers are great. They save us time and dishes that would have taken a good half an hour of elbow grease to clean come out looking brand new.
But, can you put Teflon pans in the dishwasher? Teflon itself is dishwasher safe but if the pan also contains other non-dishwasher safe materials such as aluminum, then it shouldn’t be put in a dishwasher. Always follow what the manufacturer of your pan advises.
Are Teflon Pans Dishwasher Safe?
Not all pans made with Teflon are dishwasher safe, but this isn’t because of the Teflon coating. According to the company that manufactures Teflon, the Teflon coating is dishwasher safe.
The unique nonstick coating is safe to be used in temperatures 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 happens, the entire unit would likely catch fire and melt!
But you need to check what other materials are used in the pan because these might not be dishwasher safe.
For example, some Teflon pans also use aluminum, which shouldn’t be put in the dishwasher. Placing aluminum pans in the dishwasher can cause unwanted corrosion and quickly dull the pan.
Check with the manufacturer
It’s always the best practice to default to what the label says before assuming that any given pan is dishwasher safe. This is true whether the pan uses a Teflon nonstick coating or any other kind of material.
If a dish can be run 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.
Reasons Not to Put Teflon Pans In the Dishwasher
Dishwasher safe means that there is no immediate danger associated with putting your pan in the dishwasher. But it doesn’t mean that putting your Teflon pan in the dishwasher is the best thing for it.
There are plenty of people who still opt to wash their Teflon pans by hand, even if they’re labeled dishwasher safe. There are many reasons that this can be 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 they think it makes them last longer. While there isn’t any scientific evidence available to back this claim up, it makes sense.
The gentler you are with something the longer it should last.
Dishwashers are fairly abrasive cleaners. Some dishes you put in will require a lot of intensive scrubbing to get clean, and the dishwasher needs to offer a powerful enough clean to get all the dishes sparkling again.
This means your Teflon pan is subjected to a much harsher clean than is needed. While this won’t destroy your pan outright, it can do minor damage over time that will inevitably decrease their lifespan.
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 utensils that may become displaced or dislodged and collide with your pan.
A knife or other kind of sharp utensil falling onto the coating of a Teflon pan can do irreparable damage, with one giant scuff ruining an otherwise great pan.
What’s the Best Way to Wash a Teflon Pan?
The best way to wash a Teflon pan is by hand with soap, warm water, and a soft scrubber. You don’t want to use an abrasive sponge (i.e. don’t use anything like this or this). Definitely don’t use anything as hard as steel wool.
Instead, opt for the softest sponge available and keep that one reserved for hand-washing all of your delicate dishes.
This Scrunge Sponge from O-Cedar is the only sponge certified by the makers of Teflon as safe to use on their pans. If you’re serious about keeping your dishes scratch-free, this is purchase is a no-brainer.
Hand washing is the most gentle way to wash any kind of utensil. When it comes to expensive and somewhat delicate utensils like Teflon pans, being gentle will prolong the life of your pan.
The only reason to use a dishwasher is to save time. If you’re in a hurry and need to leave, but also need your pan washed then the dishwasher can be a life-saver. Putting your pan in the dishwasher every so often is okay. Just try not to make a habit of it if you want your pan to last as long as possible.
Tips If You Do Put You Teflon Pans In The Dishwasher
If you do wish to put your Teflon pans through the dishwasher, there are a few things you can do reduce how rough the experience is for your pans.
Let’s take a look at a few good practices that everyone should know about.
Secure Dishes When Running Them Through the Dishwasher
Properly securing both your Teflon pans and any other utensils can help ensure that nothing becomes dislodged and inadvertently scratches your pans.
You can also try and plan your dishwashing loads accordingly so that no utensils 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 dishwasher detergent can make a significant difference when it comes to how well your pans last in the dishwasher.
Most people don’t pay much attention to the type of dishwashing detergent they buy, but not all detergents are created equally. Cheaper detergents tend to be much more abrasive than high-end detergents, so opt for quality when you can.
General Tips To Make Your Non-Stick Pan Last Longer
- Don’t let your food sit for too long – acids in food can degrade Teflon coating over time, 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 degrees Fahrenheit, so aim 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 pan will help to keep it running smoother for longer
Teflon is dishwasher safe, but you still might want to wash your pans by hand to ensure they last as long as possible.
The myth that pans with Teflon nonstick coatings can’t be put into the dishwasher is mostly false. While not all dishes with Teflon nonstick coatings are dishwasher safe, Teflon itself is dishwasher safe and can generally be run through the dishwasher without much abrasion.
Before you rush to put your Teflon pan in the dishwasher though, bear in mind that hand-washing with a soft sponge is always best and will help to prolong its non-stick coating.