The chore of doing the dinner dishes isn't one that is usually coveted. Thankfully, modern conveniences like dishwashers and solid detergents for hand washing pots and pans have made it much easier. When it comes to cookware, you've probably heard conflicting information regarding when and how you should wash your pots and pans. We researched frying pans for this post and can give you a definitive answer on how often you should wash these items.
You should wash your frying pans after each use. Not doing so will allow for the buildup of bacteria. You can also harm the non-stick coating on the pan itself.
Now that you know how often to wash your frying pans, you might have other questions about this type of cookware. How do you properly clean a frying pan? How long will a frying pan last? To find out the answers to these questions and more, read ahead in this post.
How Often To Clean Your Frying Pan
As you now know, it's best to clean your frying pan after each use. Dirty and grimy frying pans can result in bacteria growth and other unwanted scenarios. Take the time to clean off your frying pan each time you use it and you'll be able to use it for years to come.
So, even though you know you should clean your frying pans after each use, how do you clean them? Is it different for the various types of frying pans? Let's dig in.
How Do You Clean A Frying Pan After Use?
There are several steps you should take to properly clean your frying pan after each use. Ensuring that each step is carefully followed will not only leave you with a clean piece of cookware but will also do minimal damage to our environment.
For the sake of this post, we've listed the steps to clean both non-stick frying pans and cast iron pans. Before we go into the details on how to best clean them, it's important to mention proper grease disposal practices.
When you're finished cooking and are ready to do the dishes, you might be tempted to drain your cooking grease and oils into the sink. Doing this creates a number of problems, both for you and for the water table. No matter what type of frying pan you use, proper grease disposal is important.
Prior to washing, you should allow your pans to cool completely. After thirty minutes, they should be ready to have the grease removed. Any that is still in liquid form can be carefully emptied into your trash. The remnants should be removed by using a paper towel.
There are also "fat trapper" systems that can make the grease-removal process even easier. Check it out:
Now that you know to first properly rid your pans of grease before cleaning, we'll move on to how to clean these two types of pans.
Non-stick Frying Pans
Placing these into the dishwasher is perfectly safe as soon as the greases and oils have been properly removed. If you don't have a dishwasher, you'll have to wash these pans by hand.
If you have to hand wash, avoid using any type of abrasive sponge or scrubber. It doesn't take too many scrubbings with these items before your non-stick coating begins to be affected. Rigorous scrubbing will also make your coating peel off, leaving you with a non-stick pan that starts to stick.
Cast Iron Pans
As soon as your grease is disposed of in the correct manner, your first instinct might be to toss this type of pan into the dishwasher. You should avoid doing this, as cast iron needs to be cleaned in a special way.
These pans are specially seasoned so that they have a natural non-stick surface. If you scrub these with soap or place them inside a dishwasher, you'll remove this element from the pan. Likewise, soaking this pan in water overnight will also damage the seasoning. You also want to avoid cleaning with steel wool or any other abrasive sponges for the same reasons.
To clean this type of pan, use hot water and a non-abrasive sponge. This will remove most of the soiling. Then, use salt and a little bit of water. These two things will combine to form a paste, which you will gently scrub around the pan to remove any leftover bits of food or grease.
Rinse immediately with hot water. Repeat if necessary. Do a thorough job patting your pan dry with a soft cloth or paper towels. Never leave a cast iron skillet to air dry. The water left in the pan will pool and cause oxidation.
For more information on cast iron, check out this post: How Often Do You Season A Cast Iron Pan?
How Do You Get Burnt Grease Off A Frying Pan?
Aside from the smell of burnt grease, ridding your pans of it is the worst part. You've got some in your frying pan after dinner that's hardened. What's the best way to get rid of it?
Whether you are cooking with cast iron or a non-stick pan, you should avoid any heavy scraping. This will damage the non-stick coating in pans of that variety and will interfere with the natural seasoning of your cast iron cookware.
Instead, use a paper towel to rub as much of this burnt grease away as possible. Dispose of it in your garbage can. Then, add half a cup of water to your pan and begin to heat it on low on your stove. This heat will help loosen up the burnt grease. Be mindful that you don't let the water run dry in the pan, as you might damage it.
When most of the water is gone, use a plastic spatula to remove what is left of the grease from non-stick pans. For cast iron, use a few tablespoons of salt and add a bit of water. The paste that is formed will help remove the leftover grease from your skillet.
After the burnt grease is removed and safely disposed of, clean it in the manner that we outlined earlier in this post.
How Often Should You Change Your Frying Pan?
How often you should change out your frying pan will depend on a few factors. The quality of the pan will certainly affect the useful life of this piece of cookware. Likewise, how often you use the pan will also be a significant factor. Lastly, how you clean and maintain your frying pan will influence how long you will be able to use it.
If you have a frying pan that is of average quality and craftsmanship, you should be able to use the non-stick models for at least five years. Of course, this infers that you are allowing the pan to cool after use. Submerging a hot pan into cooler water will warp the pan and also damage the non-stick coating.
You'll also want to be sure that you're using soft utensils while cooking and be careful to not scrape the insides of the pan with anything metal. This damages the non-stick coating, and lessens the life of your frying pan.
Cast iron pans, however, can last decades if they are properly cared for. Earlier in this post, we covered how to properly wash and dry cast iron. Follow those recommendations and your cast iron skillets will last nearly forever.
Frying pans should be cleaned after nearly every use. How you properly clean a pan will depend upon the material the pan is constructed from. Prior to any cleaning, you'll want to make sure that you safely dispose of any cooking greases and oils that have accumulated in the pan.
The lifespan of your frying pan will depend on the material it's made from, as well as the way that you maintain and clean it. Non-stick pans should last at least five years while a properly treated cast iron skillet will last decades.
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