Is It Safe To Use Scratched Non-Stick Pan? – Easy Kitchen Guide

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By Lori Walker, MS, RD | Published on March 11, 2023 | Last Updated on June 27, 2023

You’ve come here because you’re using a scratched nonstick pan and are worried about whether or not it’s safe to use. You’re in the right spot if it’s your current situation. We’ve covered is it okay to use a damaged nonstick pan, as well as what professional chefs think about the subject. So, keep reading!

is it safe to use scratched non stick pan?

Non-stick pan is not a kind of cookware that will last forever.  When you use it for a long time, it starts getting scratched.

If you continue using the scratched non-stick pan, the first annoying thing you’ll face is every food sticks to the bottom of the pan.

Secondly, the non-stick coating of the scratched pan might flake into your food which is unhealthy.

On top of this, when you use it over high heat, it releases a harmful chemical called perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) that can cause cancer.

Though all modern non-stick fry pans are PFOA-free nowadays, it is good to be on the safe side.

That’s why it’d be better if you stop using the non-stick pan when it is scratched. However, if you want to learn how to make a non stick pan non-stick again, click the link for further information.

Usually, a non-stick pan can last for five years with moderate cooking and use, and a decent pan may cost less than $70-$80. So, getting complete service from a product under $100 for five years is worth the investment.

So, my recommendation is to throw away the scratched non-stick pan and get a new one to live a healthy, safe life. Our Easy Kitchen Guide Experts have reviewed the best high heat non stick pan. You can follow the link for getting some ideas!

Is Non-stick Cookware Safe? Here’s Everything You Need to Know, According to Experts

Is non-stick cookware safe
Courtesy – CanvaPro

Teflon is a synthetic chemical that is used on the surface of non-stick cookware to eliminate stickiness. It also helps you cook with less oil in the non-stick pan.

But to produce the synthetic chemical (Teflon), a harmful chemical was used called PFOA.

When you use the pan in high heat (Over 500F), the non-stick coating chemicals start to break down and release PFOA. It mixes with the food and makes the food toxic that can cause kidney or liver diseases, even cancer.

But the good news is PFOA was used in the production of Teflon until 2013. Now, all non-stick pans you get in the market are PFOA-free. So, undoubtedly scratched non stick pan is safe to use.

But it is advised not to use the non-stick pan to overheat (Above 500F). Robert L. Wolke, Ph.D., a professor emeritus of chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh, says, “There is a whole chemistry set of compounds that will come off when Teflon is heated high enough to decompose. Many of these are fluorine-containing compounds, which as a class are generally toxic.”

Are Scratched Non-stick Pans Dangerous?

As I mentioned earlier, non-stick coatings are made with synthetic chemicals. When you use a non-stick pan for years, the pan might get scratched, and the non-stick coating starts to come off.

If you’re still using it, the non-stick coating might flake into your food when you’re cooking.

So, eating food mixed with chemicals is not a good idea. It might cause serious health complications such as diarrhea or other life-threatening illnesses.

If there are small scratch on non stick pan and it is still working well (No sticking), you can continue using it. But make sure you use wooden or silicone utensils instead of metal ones.

And use the spatula smoothly when cooking. It’s because rough usage might flake off the non-stick coating.

Once the cooking is over, you should use soapy water and soft cleaning pads to wash the non-stick pan to diminish non-stick chips.

What happens when nonstick starts flaking off?

If nonstick cookware starts flaking off when cooking, it will mix with the food. Once you eat that food, flakes of nonstick might get into the stomach without your concern.

This small piece will pass through your body being unabsorbed. Sometimes it will come out without having any sickness when you’re lucky. And sometimes it might cause stomach upset.  

How to Remove Scratches From Non-Stick Pans?

I’ll show up two methods below that will help you fix scratches from non-stick pans. Eventually, these processes allow you to use them for extended times.

How to Remove Scratches From Non Stick Pans

Process One:

After you finish cooking, you have to clean the pan very well. Then apply some canola oil to season it. Once you coat the oil on the pan’s surface, put the pan on the cooktop with low heat for a minute.

After that, turn the heat off and let the pan be cool. Then take a kitchen tissue and wipe off the excess oil. 

This process will remove the stickiness of your scratched nonstick cookware.

If you’re not satisfied with the first method, you can try the following one!

Process Two:

Pour one tablespoon of baking soda, one tablespoon of vinegar, and one glass of water into your scratched non-stick pan. Mix them properly. After that, put the pan on the stove on medium heat. Once it starts boiling, take the pan off the stove.

Wait for a while until it becomes lukewarm. Then wash the pan gently with some soapy walker and a soft sponge. After that, dry the pan with a kitchen towel, then season it with any vegetable oil.

This deep cleaning method will remove all the stains and food particles sticking to the pan and allow you to use scratched non-stick pan without sticking to its non-stick surfaces.

There are many ways to remove scratches from nonstick cookware. We also have an in-depth post on how to remove scratches from non stick pan. For more information, see this article.

When Is It Time to Throw Away Your Teflon Pans?

When you are using the same pan for 4-5 years regularly, you should throw away the older one and bring a new one to your kitchen.

On the other hand, When your Teflon pan shows the following signs despite being used for a limited time, you should throw the pan right away. The signs are:

– Discoloration of the pan’s surface. If it is light discoloration, that’s not a big deal. You can still use it. But when it becomes dark black, it means the non-stick coating is fully damaged. It is time to throw away your Teflon pan.

– If the pan is warped, you should replace it.

– When there are too many scratches, and everything sticks to the bottom of the pan, you should throw away your older Teflon pan and bring a new one.

The Wrap-Up:

Thanks for reading the complete guide about is it safe to use scratched non-stick pans. I hope you’ve found this guide informative and helpful. To sum up, I just want to mention again if there are minor scratches in your pan, you can still use it after seasoning it properly. But if you notice the non-stick chips are still flaking off to your food, you should immediately replace the Teflon pan to avoid unnecessary health hazards.

Author Profile

My name is Lori Walker. I’m a registered dietitian, food blogger and food enthusiast. I share easy healthy, delicious recipes on my blog and review necessary kitchen items. The recipes I share take less… Read more

2 thoughts on “Is It Safe To Use Scratched Non-Stick Pan? – Easy Kitchen Guide”

  1. is it safe to grind out the non-stick coating from a pan that is past its best and use the bare metal pan like my granny did before non-stick?

    • Some experts suggest that it is safe to do so and others caution against it. If you choose to grind out the non-stick coating from your pan, be sure to use a gentle abrasive (such as a powder-coated steel wool) and avoid inhaling the dust generated by the grinding process. In addition, make sure to thoroughly wash and dry the pan before using it, as any residue from the grinding process could potentially be harmful.


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