The reason you should never put nonstick pans in the dishwasher

There are two important reasons why Teflon-coated nonstick pans are a godsend to many kitchens: either you're not a fan of using plenty of oil or butter to cook with, or you're not too excited by the thought of using tons of hot water, soap, and elbow grease to get rid of the gummy residue you may get after using your pan. But because nothing comes free, there is a price to be paid for using, caring for, and storing non-stick cookware in a way that keeps them at their best. One of the biggest mistakes many people make, in fact, is popping this type of cookware into the dishwasher. 

In order to understand why some things can't be done with non-stick cookware, though, it may be helpful to work out exactly what they are made of. In a blog for Scientific American, board licensed nutritionist Monica Reinagel explains that most non-stick pans in the market today are coated with Teflon, a special, non-toxic chemical that keeps food from sticking to the surface of your pan. 

Preventing this chemical coating from flaking off and seasoning your food is not a challenge, unless, Reinagel points out, you've bought cheap (or poor-quality) non-stick pans or you use sharp or metal cooking tools, which can gouge and damage even the most expensive, durable non-stick surface. And while ingesting these dislodged Teflon flakes may not be bad for you (they go in one way and out the other), your pan's non-stick characteristics will definitely be compromised.

Keep nonstick pans out of the dishwasher

Dishwashers can be very handy to have, but there are loads of things you just can't put in a dishwasher and expect it to come out the way it went in. While many high-quality nonstick cookware items now claim to be dishwasher-proof, the machine's high water temperatures and the harsh detergents you use will eat into the pan's coating, causing it to thin and deteriorate. And unless you wash the pan by hand, it won't take long before even the most expensive pan will need to be replaced (via The Kitchn).

If non-stick pans don't like the high temperatures you find in dishwashers, it stands to reason that the pans won't like being used over high heat either. Non-stick pans work best over low and medium heat, and when you are cooking with Teflon surfaces, The Kitchn also advises you to stay away from nonstick cooking spray, and instead cook with oils and butter — because non-stick sprays leave a sticky buildup that oils and butter don't.