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Mar 16, 2009 06:55 PM

Help - nonstick pots are tasting "soapy"

Maybe not the right board but this certainly doesn't fall into "general chowhounding". At least I hope none of you are eating soap!

Recently I've noticed when I make rice or pasta in 2 of my non-stick pots I'm detecting a metallic, somewhat "soapy" taste in the food. Not metallic like you get from canned veggies or what not - it really is more of a soapy taste.

I first noticed it with a can of soup, I figured the soup was just "not good" so dumped it out.

I've used the same dish soap for ever, so it's not that. I'm pretty sure I haven't forgotten how to wash and rinse a pot, so I don't think it's that. There is no foam or bubbles when the water begins to heat or comes to a boil.

Could it be that some chemical in the pot is releasing over time? One of the pots is pretty old, from like 1987 or so, the other is about 5-6 years old.

The non-stick surface is completely intact on both, no scratches, nicks or chips.

I tested the water from the tap - I don't notice any odor or off taste directly from the tap.

Has anyone ever come across this issue?

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  1. Do you wash the pots in the dishwasher?

    1 Reply
    1. re: danhole

      nope, hand wash all of my pots & pans and knives

    2. There's no need to use a non-stick pot for things like soup or boiling pasta water. Water tends not to stick to things. ;-) I'd suggest never using non-stick unless it's for things like very delicate fish or potentially eggs. There's just no reason to use it otherwise.

      5 Replies
      1. re: HaagenDazs

        I agree that while not essential, my non-sticks simply have been my every day go-to pots for years and I've recently noticed this off taste - I'm just wondering if some chemical reaction (ie, leaching or something) is occurring due to age or over use or what ever.

        Quite frankly - I'm concerned that there is some health hazard involved. I know not to use a non-stick skillet if the non-stick surface has started to peel but the pots aren't showing any outward indication of damage.

        1. re: chicaraleigh

          There are all kinds of stories out there on the potential chemicals and hazards associated with non-stick pots & pans. Search for non-stick cookware safety in Google and start reading. Whether or not you want to believe all the hype is up to you.

          If you've been using one pan for well over 20 years I'd be willing to bet that the non-stick coating isn't as flawless as you make it out to be. In other words, 20+ years of use no matter how careful you are, is going to affect the coating to some degree.

          Again, do what you wish, but do know for a guaranteed fact that water and soup DO NOT require a non-stick surface. My suggestion is to toss the old pots and go grab some new stainless steel pots for everyday use. Stainless steel is completely non-reactive, and it can take a substantial beating. There are 2 things that can render a stainless steel pan useless: run it over with a dump truck or melt it.

          I can assume that the old non-stick pots were probably a cheap purchase and weren't meant for 20 years of use. Stainless can go in the dishwasher with no ill effects so clean up will be far easier as well.

          1. re: HaagenDazs

            Even if the old non stick pots weren't a cheap purchase they are really old and probably need to be replaced. I have a couple of revere ware pots that are very old that I toss in the dishwasher, as HD said, so that would be a good replacement.

            1. re: danhole

              In 1987 I'm not sure there was much available outside of T-Fal. ;-)

              1. re: HaagenDazs

                that's exactly what my 1987 pot is! But back in 1987 it wasn't "cheap". It was "technologically advanced" - haha

      2. Try boiling plain water in the pot. I have sometimes noticed that a soapy smell can come from a non-stick pan, and biling water in the pan will eliminate any residual soap. BTW, this probably belongs on the cookware board...

        1. Generally if a chemical is leached from a surface, it occurs at a faster rate with the surface is new. As time goes on, the remaining concentration of that chemical drops, so the release rate also drops. I have my doubts about the Teflon being the source of the taste.

          What you need to do is cook the same items, with the same water and salt, same washing and rinsing, in another pan, for example stainless steel. If you still detect the soapy taste, then you can blame the nonstick pans. Otherwise look at changes in washing/rising, water, or even your taster.

          1. Just recently 2 of my non-stick pans have suffered the same fate - soapy, perfumey smell tainting the taste of the food. No new sponges, no new soap, no different anything, same old, same old... I have to believe it's simply the age of the pans (4-5 years old). We tried vinegar, tried boiling water... While the pans seemed to no longer retain the smell, the moment we applied heat, the smell and tainted taste was back. I gave up and threw them away. Better to be safe than poisoned. To be told it's the way you wash them or how you cook in them, or it's not the pan's fault is ridiculous. I've been on this earth, cooking and washing pots and pans to way too long to believe it's my problem. It's the pans, not the users.

            4 Replies
            1. re: MaaBoo

              It is said that the pan will outlive the nonstick coating. I've always thought that the coating becomes damaged, shortening the life of a particular pan. It sounds like the coating can deteriorate over time with no noticeable damage. Really, you don't need non stick saucepans or pots. It is better to use stainless or another metal, without the non-stick coating.

              1. re: MaaBoo

                Do you recall the brand of cookware?

                When I do use my non-stick cookware (Calphalon, Greenpan, Berndes), they usually clean up nicely without soap. Just a sponge and hot water. However, I limit the amount of oil I use from a teaspoon to a tablespoon.

                IIRC my first non-stick tfal set had a similar issue. The streaks in the coating left by the brushes allowed soap to seep in. Soaking the cookware in soap left a soap odor.

                1. re: unprofessional_chef

                  One was top of the line Calphalon, the other was a lower quality Calphalon from Linen & Things (we stockpiled them when they were on super-sale). We have two of each 8, 10, 12 inch saute/fry pans. I've thrown others away as the surface eventually scratches and loses it's non-stick quality, begins to "flake" (sort of), but never had the perfume soapy problem, until now. Suffice it to say we cook a lot. The smaller pans have not had the soapy problem, yet anyway.

                  Don't ever use non-stick pots... use Crueset (some of which is over 30 yrs old). Also have a top quality all clad saute pan for frying/browning - great for deglazing and sauces - both clean up beautifully. Just curious if anyone has tried the "orgreenic" pan seen on TV. Tried to find reviews and got screens and screens of pseudo sites that were nothing more than sales pitches, lots of hype and links to the "orgreenic" website.