HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >
What have you made lately? Get great advice
TELL US

I finally figured out how to get Teflon clean

roxlet May 3, 2012 06:09 AM

I could never seem to get Teflon clean. No matter how many times I washed it, there always seemed to be a greasy feeling. I finally figured out how to clean it so that the greasy feeling is gone. First thing, I don't put water in the pan. I squirt a little Dawn directly into the pan and use a nylon scrub brush to scrub the entire pan, inside and out. Rinse, and voila! No more greasy feeling. I also have enough soap left on the scrub brush to clean whatever else I'm washing.

  1. ttoommyy May 3, 2012 09:59 AM

    I always assumed that "greasy" feeling was inherent in the Teflon coating. I wash my Teflon-coated pans with soap and water and do not consider them to be "actually still dirty." Although it may feel "greasy" the pan after being washed with soap and water is not really greasy (covered with an oily substance). Sounds more like a "feel" issue than a "clean" issue to me.

    5 Replies
    1. re: ttoommyy
      roxlet May 3, 2012 10:35 AM

      I had made the mistake, some 20 or so years ago, of buying All-Clad roasting pans. They were a bitch to clean, but this really works for me now, and I no longer have the same problem. Buti don't think it's just me...it's my husband too!

      1. re: ttoommyy
        westsidegal May 6, 2012 10:44 PM

        ttoommyy,
        basically it sounds like your teflon pans are correctly "seasoned."
        roxiet's approach will "UNseason" the pan.

        1. re: westsidegal
          roxlet May 7, 2012 04:22 AM

          There is no such thing as seasoning a teflon pan. I'd like to see where there is information about that.

          1. re: roxlet
            ttoommyy May 7, 2012 08:03 AM

            http://www.ehow.com/how_5627566_season-teflon-coated-frying-pans.html

            http://housewares.about.com/lw/Food-Drink/Cooking/How-to-Care-for-Nonstick-Cookware.htm

            http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20090624/COLUMNIST/906241002

            http://www.streetdirectory.com/travel...

            1. re: ttoommyy
              c
              cacruden May 7, 2012 10:22 AM

              Actually was not aware of that :p I have one pan with teflon and I might use it once every 3 months. Mostly I use a well seasoned wok.

      2. John E. May 3, 2012 11:04 AM

        We switched to mainly SS pans a few years ago. There are instances where non-stick pans are necessary however. We have a small pan used only to fry eggs. We have a large non-stick skillet as well. The small pan pretty much gets washed using hot water, dish soap and a paper towel to wash. The large pan usually needs water to soak for a while and then gets washed in the same manner. I don't even use the green 3M Schotcbrite pad on the non-stick pans. This is an experiment to see how many years we can get out of these pans. (i got sick of non-stick pans with a lot of the surface missing).

        28 Replies
        1. re: John E.
          sunshine842 May 6, 2012 12:10 PM

          eek! Don't ever use green Scotchbrite on non-stick -- the green is quite aggressive and will destroy the non-stick coating. Don't use it anywhere you wouldn't use steel wool -- that's how aggressive it really is.

          You can use the white "non-woven abrasive" (the non-branded term) with impunity -- it's very, very fine, and there are some non-stick manufacturers who even recommend using white non-woven on their cookware.

          1. re: sunshine842
            John E. May 6, 2012 06:21 PM

            I have know that about Scotchbrite. I still prefer it to the sponge with Scotchbrite on one side.

            1. re: John E.
              sunshine842 May 6, 2012 10:24 PM

              Use a scotchbrite pad by itself, or one attached to a sponge -- that makes no difference.

              But the abrasives impregnated in the nylon of the green pads is a full-on industrial-grade abrasive (aluminum oxide, to be exact) , and the reason it removes so much from your non-stick surface is because it is removing the surface itself -- it is the equivalent of #00 steel wool.

              The white has no abrasive grains, so it's just the abrasive power of the nylon itself -- that will remove the crusty bits without destroying your pan.

              On stainless? Knock yourself out.

              1. re: sunshine842
                John E. May 7, 2012 06:12 PM

                What is interesting about these posts is that we seem to be in agreement. I will however say that the Scotchbrite pad is not as abrasive as steel wool because when I use Scotchbrite on SS I often have to use steel wool to finish the job.

                1. re: John E.
                  sunshine842 May 8, 2012 12:06 AM

                  It all depends on what grade steel wool and what grade Scotchbrite -- but for industrial applications (which is where I learned all of this), it's pretty accepted that green non-woven is about the same as #00 steel wool.

                  1. re: sunshine842
                    John E. May 8, 2012 08:51 AM

                    We just buy what is for sale at the grocery store. The 'steel wool' that we use is not the industrial, grade steel wool, it's just the steel abrasive stuff also sold at the grocery store. When scrubbing the bottom of SS pans I use the steel wool and BKF.

                    1. re: John E.
                      c
                      cacruden May 8, 2012 09:03 AM

                      The only steel wool that I saw at a grocery store was the SOS pads I believe. I did use to get different grades at Canadian Tire. (000 and up). Believe the stuff sold at grocery stores is at the most abrasive end of the steel wool (in comparison to Canadian Tire) - much more abrasive than 00.

                      1. re: John E.
                        s
                        sueatmo May 8, 2012 09:16 AM

                        OK, I buy shiny metallic looking scrubbers at about $1 each. They are nylon or some other material though. They aren't really metal. I use mine mainly to clean my glass top stove, at which they excel.

                        These would be safe for non-stick cookware, but surely, surely you are not using actual steel wool, as in an SOS or Brillo pad? Or the stuff you use to buff down furniture? Because if you are, it is so wrong. Use it on stainless or CI, but not on non-stick.

                        1. re: sueatmo
                          John E. May 8, 2012 09:26 AM

                          Wow, this is getting confusing and it has taken on much more importance that I ever intended. No, I do not use any sort of steel wool on non-stick cookware. As I posted somewhere above, I do not even use a nylon or plastic scrubber or brush of any kind on our non-stick cookware. I use a paper towel. I use two non-stick pans, neither of which is new any longer but they are in almost pristine condition. I don't use SOS pads either. I think a Brillo pad is similar to SOS, but we don't use them either. The steel wool I use is actually metal and a very loose weave that is sold in the same section as the Scotchbrite, SOS, Brillo, and sponges, but sponges are another topic. I would never, ever keep a stinky sponge anywhere near the kitchen sink.

                          1. re: John E.
                            s
                            sueatmo May 8, 2012 09:29 AM

                            Loose and curly, right? Bright gold or silver? These are not metal.

                            1. re: sueatmo
                              John E. May 8, 2012 01:18 PM

                              The ones I use are silver and stick to a magnet. You be the judge.

                              1. re: John E.
                                s
                                sueatmo May 9, 2012 12:43 PM

                                It sounds like you have metal scrubbers to me, if they stick to a magnet. But I wouldn't use them on non stick. Although, I might use them on anodized--maybe. But why would you need to? I'm not being a smarty here. I'd really like to know.

                                1. re: sueatmo
                                  John E. May 9, 2012 12:57 PM

                                  I DON'T USE STEEL WOOL ON NON-STICK COOKWARE! I did not go back and read my posts on this thread because I'm tired of it but I am sure I never said I used steel wool on non-stick. I used to use Scotchbrite pads on non-stick, an no, I do not believe Scotchbrite is as abrasive as steel wool, however if Scotchbrite is used to 'scrub' as opposed to wiping a pan clean it will put wear on the non-stick surface.

                                  For the third time, I use a paper towel to wash the two non-stick pans we have after having left them to soak.

                                  1. re: John E.
                                    s
                                    sueatmo May 9, 2012 07:27 PM

                                    OK. Sorry I misunderstood. Perils of the long, long thread.

                                    1. re: sueatmo
                                      John E. May 9, 2012 07:47 PM

                                      No worries, that was a little frustration showing.

                      2. re: sunshine842
                        scubadoo97 May 13, 2012 02:56 PM

                        The green pads are highly abrasive. I use them to lay down a scratch pattern on some of my stainless knives to cover scratches left behind from sharpening. The blue on the other hand is pretty gentile

                        1. re: scubadoo97
                          sunshine842 May 13, 2012 03:00 PM

                          Yep -- blue is considered very-fine grade of abrasive -- less aggressive than the green (and brown, and maroon) -- but not as fine as white.

                          The nonwoven abrasive industry follows a more-or-less standard color strategy:

                          Maroon or Brown -- made from Aluminum Oxide -- generally coarse grits -- extremely aggressive. Do not use these for anything except heavy-duty industrial use.

                          Grey or Black - made from Silicon Carbide -- medium grit -- rarely seen in kitchen applications. Again, extremely aggressive.

                          Green -- Alumino-Silicate -- regular potscrubber grade -- aggressive, but okay for un-coated metal (not for use on paint or nonstick!)

                          White -- Talc -- yep, like talcum powder. Gentle on almost all surfaces.

                          For kitchen use, stick to the green or white.

                          1. re: sunshine842
                            scubadoo97 May 15, 2012 05:27 AM

                            Should mention again that the green will scratch metal so should not be used on metal pans when one is particular about how it looks

                            1. re: scubadoo97
                              sunshine842 May 15, 2012 06:11 AM

                              Absolutely! They use the green to repair the scratches in stainless-steel elevator and refrigerator panels!

                              I can't emphasize it enough - -nonwoven abrasive is first and foremost an abrasive and works by removing the stuck-on material AND the underlying material, as well!

                              The *only* grade you can use in the kitchen without worrying about scratching is the white -- and there are surfaces that it will scratch and/or destroy, too.

                              1. re: sunshine842
                                John E. May 15, 2012 10:48 AM

                                If you mean by 'nonwoven green' to mean 3M ScotchBrite pads, they are perfectly fine to use on stainless steel cookware. I use a combination of the Scotchbrite and steel wool on our SS pans.

                                1. re: John E.
                                  sunshine842 May 15, 2012 12:17 PM

                                  the discussion was about using them on COATED pans. It will also screw up the finish pattern on the inside of your SS cookware (unless you're careful to follow the grain) and it will destroy the polished finish on the outside of your SS cookware.

                                  Scotchbrite is a brand name -- the term for the abrasive manufactured with nylon filaments impregnated with abrasive particles and then formed into a flat pad is "nonwoven abrasives". All Scotchbrite is nonwoven abrasive -- not all nonwoven abrasive is Scotchbrite.

                                  1. re: sunshine842
                                    John E. May 15, 2012 01:01 PM

                                    I have found the no-name "nonwoven abrasive' pads to be less effective than the 3M version so I believe the color is not the only determining factor but now I'll know to avoid the white ones. I have not damaged the SS pans we have with either 'nonwoven abrasives' nor steel wool.

                                    1. re: John E.
                                      sunshine842 May 15, 2012 02:28 PM

                                      there are many other manufacturers out there -- some of whom make better nonwoven products than 3M.

                                      Unfortunately, in the world of private label, it's difficult to suss out whose is whose.

                                      I cannot imagine why you would avoid the white ones -- they are powerful enough to remove a lot without altering the underlying finish.

                                      Steel wool is even more abrasive than nonwoven -- and it leaves small pieces of steel in the scratches, which rust and mar the finish further.

                                      Your money, your pans.

                                      1. re: sunshine842
                                        John E. May 15, 2012 05:46 PM

                                        As I have said repeatedly, our SS pans are doing just fine with the occasional use of BKF.

                2. re: sunshine842
                  ScubaSteve May 14, 2012 02:35 PM

                  idk if All Clad Ltd is Teflon but I've been using ScotchBrite pads on this pan for over 10 years.

                   
                   
                  1. re: ScubaSteve
                    sunshine842 May 14, 2012 02:39 PM

                    I don't believe they're the same thing.

                    Using it on the **OUTSIDE** is no biggie. But using the green pads on a nonstick surface will remove the nonstick coating.

                    1. re: sunshine842
                      ScubaSteve May 14, 2012 10:31 PM

                      i don't use them on the outside, who cares what's on the outside?
                      if they're not Teflon then i suggest buying them.
                      i use the pads on the inside. as well as all metal utensils and very high heat. never had a problem and eggs/omelets slide right out with a swipe of oil on a paper napkin.

                      1. re: ScubaSteve
                        sunshine842 May 14, 2012 10:49 PM

                        I just refuse to spend the money on something like All-Clad and then do something that I *know* will damage the coating.

                        It's been working well for five years...with proper care, it might have been the last pan you ever bought.

                        (metal utensils, green nonwoven abrasive, and very-high heat are very damaging to cookware.)

              2. u
                unprofessional_chef May 3, 2012 02:22 PM

                Have you tried hot water with a sponge? I can usually wipe it clean with a sponge under warm or hot water. Same with SS.

                1. s
                  sueatmo May 4, 2012 08:11 AM

                  I have now and have had in the past non stick skillets. I've never worried about getting the stuff clean. Far from it. It cleans up easily. Am I to assume you don't have seasoned cast iron in your kitchen cabinets? You have to put those away with a intact seasoning, which definitely gets a little oily or greasy.

                  13 Replies
                  1. re: sueatmo
                    roxlet May 5, 2012 11:51 AM

                    No, we have several cast iron skillets, but they live on a shelf above the stove. And guess what? Horror of horrors -- we wash those too. Yup. And they work just fine. We put a very light coating of vegetable oil on them after they're clean. No, I don't like greasy things in my cabinets, and most of my pots and pans are in very good shape since we clean off all accumulated gunk about once a year. Call me crazy, but dirty/greasy and kitchen don't go together for me. But that's me (and my husband). Don't want to debate it, and I have learned here that others feel differently.

                    1. re: roxlet
                      c
                      cajundave May 6, 2012 10:43 AM

                      You are not alone. I have the same feeling after one wash. I wash once with the green scrubby rinse it and then wash again with a sponge. Seems like the grease it just hard to wash off teflon.

                      I don't think this a symptom of OCD.

                      1. re: cajundave
                        c
                        cacruden May 6, 2012 11:11 AM

                        Call me crazy, and I don't want to debate it.... but.... it is a symptom of OCD ... OCD comes in many forms....

                        1. re: cacruden
                          c
                          cacruden May 6, 2012 11:12 AM

                          :)

                          1. re: cacruden
                            c
                            cajundave May 6, 2012 11:38 AM

                            Can't stop washing teflon...Can't stop washing teflon...Can't stop washing teflon...Can't stop washing teflon...Can't stop washing teflon....Can't stop washing teflon

                            1. re: cajundave
                              c
                              cacruden May 6, 2012 11:43 AM

                              exactly :)

                              1. re: cajundave
                                iL Divo May 6, 2012 07:15 PM

                                right now ask cacruden what the definition of a bench scraper is..........

                                1. re: iL Divo
                                  c
                                  cajundave May 15, 2012 12:15 PM

                                  I think I missed the bench scraper controversy.

                            2. re: cacruden
                              roxlet May 6, 2012 02:16 PM

                              Including seeing it in others where it doesn't exist :)

                              1. re: cacruden
                                Chemicalkinetics May 6, 2012 02:43 PM

                                I had knife sharpening OCD, but I have recovered. (not really ).

                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                  Eiron May 9, 2012 09:08 AM

                                  I like the way green Scotch-Brite makes my Teflon soft & fluffy...

                              2. re: cajundave
                                iL Divo May 6, 2012 07:13 PM

                                I use the green scrubby Scott thingie too when I do my cast irons skillets.
                                some times it's hard to remove everything but I was told to always heat the skillet after washing/rinsing to ensure it'd be dry, really dry, so it wouldn't want to rust.
                                love those cast iron skillets, all of 'em.

                              3. re: roxlet
                                s
                                sueatmo May 7, 2012 06:52 PM

                                No debating from me. To each his own, I say. However equating a seasoned pan with dirt and grease is a bit much. My CI gets washed when it needs it, but I try to leave a little oil--very little--on them in the cabinet. They aren't dirty.

                            3. g
                              GH1618 May 6, 2012 12:17 PM

                              It's a mystery to me why a Teflon pan could be hard to clean. I just tested this with my small T-fal frying pan used for this morning's fried eggs, cooked in butter. I used a few drops of Dawn, added hot tap water, soaked for awhile, wiped gently with a nylon scrubber/sponge, rinsed, and dried with a paper towel. There is nothing visible on the paper towel but water — the pan is clean.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: GH1618
                                roxlet May 6, 2012 02:17 PM

                                Try that on a teflon coated roasting pan after cooking a roast beef or a turkey.

                                1. re: roxlet
                                  g
                                  GH1618 May 6, 2012 02:27 PM

                                  It would never occur to me to use a nonstick coated roasting pan. Mine is plain carbon steel (de Buyer). I like Teflon for my eggs, but it's not for everything.

                                  1. re: GH1618
                                    sunshine842 May 6, 2012 02:36 PM

                                    I used to have Teflon (or Silverstone) everything - baking dishes, pots, pans -- the whole gamut.

                                    Most everything is now just stainless -- I have my big saute pan (two nonstick, one ss), and small pan for eggs -- and a small saucepan for oatmeal. (you will lose your mind trying to use a SS pan to cook oatmeal -- you really, really need nonstick.)

                                    Cookie sheets (and metal pie and cake pans) are now lined with foil or parchment, depending on what I'm making -- not only do I not have to scour them -- I usually just wipe them with a damp cloth and put them away.

                                    Sometimes I do have to soak something overnight - but that part is easy - heat some water in the pan, and just let it stand. Really stubborn stuff gets a repeat treatment with a little baking soda added. It will almost always scrape out with minimal scouring, if any at all.

                                    1. re: GH1618
                                      roxlet May 6, 2012 07:19 PM

                                      Believe me, if I knew then what I know now, I wouldn't have bought those ridiculous, expensive All-Clad Teflon roasting pans, but we have them, and that's that for now.

                                2. s
                                  slowshooter May 9, 2012 12:58 PM

                                  At risk of driving the OP to compulsively wash hands. The greasy feeling that one gets when when touching a visibly clean and freshly washed teflon pan is the sensation of one's own oil-impregnated flesh sliding across a material that has the lowest coefficient for friction available for daily use in the home.

                                  So, why is there a difference after diligently scrubbing with a detergent?

                                  One of two things are happening. The detergent (Dawn is quite strong) is removing the oils in the hands and making them slightly tackier. Since there isn't any oily lubrication between the flourocarbon and the skin, the pan feels less slippery. In short, the hands are less oily but the pan has not changed.

                                  The other thing that may be happening is that the OP is actually scuffing the teflon and giving it more tooth. That is pretty unlikely since using detergent and nylon isn't going to break the bonds of the material.

                                  1. Chemicalkinetics May 15, 2012 11:26 AM

                                    I have been reading this for awhile without commenting. I would have never guessed that "cleaning Teflon pan" is an emotional topic. :)

                                    9 Replies
                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                      Eiron May 15, 2012 12:13 PM

                                      You should know by now that EVERYTHING is an emotional topic here!
                                      :-D

                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                        c
                                        cajundave May 15, 2012 12:17 PM

                                        I don't know how it happens, but it does.

                                        1. re: cajundave
                                          Chemicalkinetics May 15, 2012 01:03 PM

                                          canjundave and Eiron,

                                          Yep, it just happened -- right in front of my eyes too.

                                          I can totally understanding a debate on Japanese knives vs German knives or a debate about Teflon safety. People can get emotionally attached to different styles of knives or health related issue.

                                          But "cleaning Teflon cookware" took me by surprise. Should you put detergent first clean it or Can you put water and then detergent to clean it?

                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                            Eiron May 15, 2012 02:07 PM

                                            NO!! You should MIX the water & detergent together & THEN wash with the sun to your left!! NEVER wash your Teflon at night!!!!

                                            The Nippon knife vs Teutonic knife arguments pale in comparison! Sacrificial preparations mean nothing if the receptacle for your offerings is not cleansed in a worthy manner!!

                                            1. re: Eiron
                                              Chemicalkinetics May 15, 2012 02:21 PM

                                              <NO!! You should MIX the water & detergent together & THEN wash with the sun to your left!! NEVER wash your Teflon at night!!!! >

                                              Remind me of Gremlins the film :)

                                              "The boy gives Randall three specific instructions in caring for the Mogwai:
                                              never expose it to bright light (especially sunlight, which will kill it);
                                              never get it wet (which will make it multiply);
                                              and, most importantly: never, ever feed it after midnight."

                                              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gremlins

                                              1. re: Eiron
                                                kaleokahu May 15, 2012 02:41 PM

                                                And you should wear goggles so that you don't squirt that nasty, dangerous Dawn soap directly into your eye.

                                              2. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                c
                                                cacruden May 15, 2012 06:13 PM

                                                Japanese! My only German knife is never as sharp as my Japanese knife (any my Japanese knives stay sharp a long long long time).

                                                1. re: cacruden
                                                  Chemicalkinetics May 15, 2012 06:27 PM

                                                  Glad to hear, but I think some people will get very emotional hearing what you have just said. :)

                                                  1. re: cacruden
                                                    g
                                                    GH1618 May 15, 2012 09:18 PM

                                                    An important difference for a sushi man, but not for most others, in my opinion.

                                            Show Hidden Posts