If you’re a cook, then you know how important it is to have the right utensils and pots and pans for the job. But even if you take good care of your kitchen tools, accidents can happen. And when they do, these scratches won’t be doing much in the way of promoting your health or providing flavorful meals.
So what should you do with these scratched teflon pans? The answer isn’t as straightforward as it might seem at first glance. It will depend on what type of surface has been scratched and how deep those scratches are. Luckily, we’ve done all the research that will allow you to make an informed decision about this issue. So without any further ado…
How to Fix a Scratched Teflon Pan
If you have a scratched teflon pan, then it’s sometimes easily repairable, especially if you only have light scratches. Follow the below guide to fixing your scratched teflon pan.
Light scratches on your teflon pan
Light scratches on teflon pans will usually require a simple application of baked on wax or silicone to fill in the damage. There are two schools of thought for those who insist on using the tried and true rub-on wax method.
When applying these products, only apply to side that was scratched. In other words, do not use the same wax as your non-scratched side. Failure to do this will cause your wax product to act like a wick, spreading the wax improperly from one surface to another one much larger than it should have been spread over.
If you have applied wax to the side that was scratched, you should let the wax cure and harden for at least 24 hours. This allows you to effectively seal in any of the remaining cracks and grooves while simultaneously preventing any further damage.
Once your wax product has completely cured, apply a second coat. Then follow up with a generous layer of teflon cooking spray or non-stick spray. Also make sure that all utensils are added only after the proper amount of non stick spray has been applied over the surface of your pan. Keep in mind that some non stick sprays are also highly flammable.
Deep Scratches on your teflon pan
Deep scratches on teflon pans are a little different from the light scratches. This is because scratches that you would normally be able to fill in with waxes and other detailing products cannot be done so easily. Instead, these types of scratches will usually require a complete resurfacing of your teflon pan.
Of course, before you start taking matters into your own hands, you should probably check with the manufacturer of your favorite frying pan. In some cases, they may be willing to resurface it for you for free. This is especially true if you purchased your heavy duty frying pan or stock pot set when it was first released onto the market and from a small number of dealerships/stores. But in most cases, the only option is to invest in a more expensive teflon pans resurfacing kit.
If you decide to go with a deep-scratch resurfacing kit, make sure that you carefully read the instructions and follow them completely. Also, it’s important to note that if you’re going to be using your pan for some time after this resurfacing process is complete, then an extra layer of non-stick spray or a drizzle of teflon cooking spray will help retain the shine and durability of your pan. If don’t add any additional protection during this process, then chances are you’ll end up with discoloration and flaking on your new surface.
There are other products on the market that claim to help with the problem of scratched teflon pans. These products usually have some sort of silicone, wax, or other type of coating that they claim will protect your pan from future scratching. Usually these products fall into two categories. One group is for regular use and can be left on the surface for a long time period while you’re not cooking in your pan. This is the type most likely to leave behind a non-stick surface that would be better off with an additional layer of protective coating. The other group is designed to only be used when you are actually using your pan and you don’t want a lasting residue. But that doesn’t mean that it can’t be used for long periods of time.
Whatever you decide to do in the end, remember that the best way to avoid scratched teflon pans is to be careful and use utensils with larger heads. A larger head will give you more surface area for teflon cooking spray or other protective coatings. And even if you’re not using a protective coating, cover as much of your surface as possible and then store your pan in a safe place where it can’t be knocked over or otherwise damaged.
How to Prevent Scratched Teflon Pans
So what can you do to prevent this from happening in the first place? Well, there are a few things that you can do to help reduce the damage that can be done by scratches on your pans.
Don’t use metal utensils
The first step is to make sure that you don’t use metal or any other hard material that could potentially scrape or scratch your teflon coated pans. Hard utensils could also pierce through the material of non-stick cookware.
By using nonstick utensils, you won’t have to worry about scratching your teflon coated cookware. It’s a lot safer and easier than trying to scrape in the leftover food stuck to your pan with a knife. You should still wash them by hand because you don’t want to risk scratching off a surface that will be on the inside of the nonstick utensil.
Some non stick utensils include:
Store your teflon pans correctly
If you store your teflon pans in an area where they could be knocked over or otherwise damaged, they are going to end up scratched up pretty quick. My best advice for storing teflon pans to avoid scratching is to store them with a paper towel underneath the pan and between the pan and the surface where it is sitting.
Nonstick Spray or Cooking Spray
Make sure to apply an adequate amount of non-stick cooking spray to your teflon pan before cooking in it. You will want to allow the spray a few minutes to set before adding any food to the pan. It goes without saying that you shouldn’t skimp on this step, because once your food starts cooking in the pan all bets are off and you’re going to have some really bad scratches on your teflon pan.
When scrubbing your teflon pan, always use a soft sponge or cloth. This will prevent any damage to your teflon surface. Also, make sure that you don’t use scouring pads or steel wool. Both of these could easily scratch your teflon cookware to the point where it no longer is non-stick.
Dangers of Using Teflon Pans
When it comes to using teflon pans, there are dangers, and knowing the dangers and how to prevent them will allow you to have a safer cooking experience.
When teflon pans are scratched or damaged in any way, they release phthalates (pronounced thal-ates). These harmful chemicals are used to make teflon and are considered a suspected carcinogen. This chemical can be released from the material of your pan by high temperatures over time.
Possible cancer risks
According to the EPA, chronic exposure to high levels of phthalates can cause a number of issues including liver damage, birth defects, and asthma. But there is no research that directly links cancer with high levels of phthalate exposure. This research does show that chronic exposure can lead to many and long-term health effects.
Scratches on a teflon coated pan could make the coating thinner and thus more flammable. This makes it more susceptible to catching fire or melting. A combination of scratches and overheating could potentially turn your non-stick frying pan into a smoldering inferno that you don’t notice until it’s too late. If you do end up with a scratched teflon pan, you should consider replacing it immediately with a new one unless you are able to resurface the scratch.
Avoiding the dangers of teflon pans fumes
Teflon pans might be great for their non stick coating, but since they have dangerous fumes if not used properly, you need to know the best practices to avoid risking your health.
Don’t cook on high temperatures
Teflon unfortunately cannot reach high temperatures without degrading, so you’ll be best off if you cook at a lower heat. This is because the types of teflon on the market was not designed to be used in high heat cooking, materials like cast iron or stainless steel are better for high heat cooking.
Don’t preheat the teflon pan too long without food in
If you don’t have any food in your teflon pan when you preheat it, it can heat up pretty quick, and once it heats up too much, the teflon coating will be more vulnerable to scratching.
Get enough ventilation whilst cooking
As teflon shouldn’t be reaching high temperatures, the fumes will not release harmful substances, however if the pan gets too hot, then smoke will start to come off the pan, if this happens you should be ventilating your kitchen as much as possible to avoid inhaling in the fumes.
Take it off the heat
If you start to notice smoke coming from your teflon pan, then don’t be afraid to take it off the heat to let your teflon pan cool down, your recipe might not come out as good, but it will save your health. Always make sure you avoid inhaling the smoke that comes from the teflon if there is any.
When Is It Time to Throw Away Your Teflon Pans?
Sometimes a teflon pan can be too far gone, they don’t last forever, so when should you throw away your teflon pans?
You notice the teflon is peeling
If you notice that the teflon on your pan is starting to peel off into flakes, then it’s time to throw it away. Teflon should not be coming off in thin flakes, but if it does then your teflon has degraded and you should be throwing it away immediately.
There are chips and cracks
If there are any chips or cracks in your teflon pan, then you should throw them out. It’s not good to keep teflon pans with these as they will continue to scratch and deteriorate.
There are a lot of scratches
If you have loads of scratches on your teflon, then it’s time to buy a new one. You cannot repair scratches if there are too many, it becomes a pointless endeavour, and the only way you will get rid of scratches is if you throw out your teflon and replace it.