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Apr 7, 2011 12:25 PM

Cleaning gummy spots off non-stick skillets?

Hello all,

I work for this lovely older lady who is completely enamored with her Caphalon teflon non-stick skillets. She's incredibly particular about them, doesn't stack them inside each other so they don't get scratched, and doesn't even like to use a scrubby side of a kitchen sponge to clean them.

About a week ago she accidentally left the burners on with oil and food in the skillets. Now there's a gummy residue in the pans - I'm guessing it's burned grease or something - and we can't figure out how to get the skillets clean again.

I'm more of a cast-iron girl myself and don't have a clue as to spiffy the teflon skillets back up. Any ideas?

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  1. Not sure if this will work on non stick Teflon pans,but I've used potato peels to clean/de grease my carbon steel pans. You cover the potato peels with water,bring to a boil for 10-15 mins.Easy peasy.

    Works like a charm on carbon steel,can't see why it wouldn't work on non stick.

    1. If the pan was really burnt dry with food, she probably exceeded the (alleged) 660F limit. If you and she value your health, I'd toss the pan.

      8 Replies
      1. re: kaleokahu

        I wasn't there when it happened, so I'm not positive... However, the food wasn't really burnt onto the pan, it looks like it's more gummy grease residue than anything, you know?

        1. re: stefzehn

          Hi, stepgzehn:

          Lucy is very wise. I like Dawn (and boiling water) for Plan A.

          Plan B: I say liberal amounts of Goo-Gone.

          Plan C: Have the pan walnut-shell blasted at a local car mechanic's and strip off the PTFE


          1. re: kaleokahu

            Hi again...

            The important part of Kaleo's post is suggesting boiling water. When the pan is hot the burned on grease will be easier to remove.

            Personally I often clean the pan immediately (depending on what I've just cooked) while it is still hot from the cooking.


              1. re: petek

                Hi Petek,


                Of course... :)

                Edited to add: DUHHHHH.....


                1. re: I used to know how to cook...

                  No,but seriously. When I first tried seasoning my new carbon steel pan,I accidentally started a fire in the pan(yes I'm an idiot) and had to use half a box of kosher salt to douse the fire.needless to say it left a sticky caramelized gunk on the pan so I remembered the "potato peel trick" from the deBuyer website and I tell you what,it worked like a champ.10 mins, mess all gone.

                  1. re: petek

                    And, and, and, not only did you get your pan all sparkly-shiny clean, you can make latkes for dinner!



      2. Hi stefzehn,

        Well, if it were me, I'd start with Dawn dishwashing liquid on a scrub sponge on a warm pan.

        If that didn't do the job, I would then use a well-dampened Brillo soap pad.

        Yes, I know... She'll be afraid of hurting her pans but if she does nothing the pans will still have the burned on grease.

        However, I have Calphalon non-stick skillets and it hasn't harmed them.