Don’t throw away a broken non-stick skillet: Give it a scrub and turn it into a brand new pan, perfect for frying and baking without the fear of sticking.

There are ways you can extend the lifespan of your old non-stick frying pan.


Nowadays, cooking pots and pans are coated with a non-stick layer called Teflon, also known as polytetrafluoroethylene or PTFE. This transparent substance was accidentally invented in 1938 for military use. However, in 1951 Teflon was used to coat metal pots and pans, creating a smooth, non-stick surface that is easier to clean and provides great convenience for cooking.

As long as the non-stick coating on the cookware meets the quality standards, it is not a dangerous issue. Even if this non-stick layer flakes off and we ingest small pieces of Teflon, it will be excreted through the feces. But if the pan is heated too hot during cooking, it becomes a different matter. Scientists also recommend not using a non-stick pot or pan for too long, but only for a maximum of 2-3 years.

Here are some simple tips to ensure that your dishes remain intact even if the non-stick layer of the pan is damaged:

Step 1: Heat the non-stick pan on the stove until it is dry and hot. Test it by pouring a spoonful of water into it, and if the water boils up and dries, then it’s ready.

Step 2: Pour cooking oil or fat into the pan and wait for the oil to bubble up.

Step 3: Add eggs or food like fish… to the pan and start frying.

Note: Your piece of fish must be dry, not wet. If it is wet, it will cause the oil to splatter.

A trick to transform an ordinary pan or an old non-stick pan into a new non-stick pan

Using a potato

– Required materials:

+ 1 potato.

+ Salt.

– Procedure:

Step 1: Peel and wash the potato, then cut it in half.

Step 2: First, sprinkle salt on the surface of the potato, then rub it on the pan to remove rust stains caused by food. Then, use the other half of the potato to vigorously rub the bottom of the pan or the areas where the non-stick layer has peeled off.

Step 3: Rinse the pan with clean water and dry it.

Using cooking oil

– Required materials:

+ Cooking oil.

– Procedure:

Step 1: Wash the pan and place it on the stove, then pour oil and spread it all over the pan’s surface, waiting for the oil to heat up.

Step 2: After the oil is heated, pour out all the oil in the pan and add cold oil. That way, you will have a highly effective non-stick pan.

Using vinegar

– Required materials:

+ Vinegar.

+ 1 clean scrub sponge.

+ Cooking oil.

– Procedure:

Step 1: Wash and dry the pan, then place it on the stove and add vinegar to heat up the pan.

Step 2: Soak the scrub sponge with vinegar in the pan and scrub around the pan’s surface several times.

Step 3: Turn off the stove and pour all the vinegar in the pan, then rinse it with clean water.

Step 4: Place the pan back on the stove and turn on the heat until it is dry, then pour a sufficient amount of oil to coat the entire pan’s surface. Wait for 2-3 minutes for the oil to heat up, then turn off the heat, let the pan cool, and pour out the oil in the pan.

Step 5: After pouring out the oil, rinse the pan with clean water and use it as normal.

Using coconut oil and salt

– Required materials:

+ Coconut oil.

+ Salt.

+ Paper towel.

– Procedure:

Step 1: Pour coconut oil into the pan and heat it, spreading the oil evenly over the entire surface of the pan.

Step 2: Let the oil boil for 2-3 minutes, then pour out all the oil in the pan and cover the pan with a layer of salt.

Step 3: Use a paper towel to rub the salt on the pan’s surface several times, and use another paper towel to completely remove any remaining oil and salt from the pan.

Is the non-stick coating toxic when used for a long time?

According to the advice of culinary experts, using a non-stick pan for a long time can cause poisoning, especially for non-branded pans sold on the market. Most non-stick pans are equipped with Teflon non-stick coatings because:

They break down at temperatures of 300-400 degrees Celsius, but the highest cooking temperature is only about 250 degrees Celsius.

They do not get absorbed by the body, but if they do get absorbed, they will be excreted. However, using the non-stick pan for a long time with a peeling non-stick layer and sticky adhesive is the part that can be toxic to health, causing symptoms such as difficulty breathing, chest pain, etc., if used regularly. Therefore, you should not use a very old pan with a peeling non-stick layer.

How long should a non-stick pan be replaced?

After a certain period of use, a non-stick pan is no longer as good as new and its quality decreases, making it more likely to produce harmful substances when used. If you notice scratches or food sticking to the inside of the pan, it is best to replace it to ensure health and safety.

At the same time, the recommended usage time for a non-stick pan is:

3 – 6 months: For regular pans.

2 – 3 years: For high-end pans.

Some precautions when using a non-stick pan

– Pour oil into the pan before heating it:

Since the non-stick coating of the pan is prone to peeling off at high temperatures, instead of waiting for the pan to heat up before adding oil as with regular pans, you should do the opposite to protect the non-stick coating and increase the durability of the pan.

– Cook at low or medium heat:

Non-stick pans are coated with different non-stick layers such as Teflon, ceramic, granite, diamond, etc., so they have different heat resistance levels. The adhesive of the non-stick layer easily breaks down at high temperatures.

Therefore, when using a non-stick pan, choose a low or medium heat level, with the flame centered on the bottom of the pan without burning the sides. Also, users should rely on the material of the non-stick layer to choose the appropriate heat level.

– Use only a sufficient amount of oil:

Because non-stick pans are already coated with a non-stick layer, adding too much oil to the pan is unnecessary and can waste oil as well as not be good for health. It also makes the non-stick layer of the pan exposed to a higher amount of heat, reducing its durability significantly.

– Avoid strong contact between the pan and metal utensils:

This is something that you should minimize because metal rubbing against the surface of the pan can cause the non-stick layer to peel off and scratch. Therefore, you should limit the use of metal utensils, such as tongs, metal chopsticks,… for handling food and replace them with utensils made of wood.

– Do not scrub the non-stick pan with an aluminum brush:

Using an aluminum brush to scrub off the sticky residue in the non-stick pan will scratch the pan and cause the non-stick layer to peel off. It is best to use a sponge, a scrubber, or a soft cloth for cleaning.

This method not only helps protect the non-stick coating of the pan and make it more durable but also ensures that no harmful substances are produced during cooking, which is bad for health.