Tips for Prolonging Cookware Lifespan

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At Best Cookware Picks, we understand the importance of investing in high-quality cookware and maintaining it properly. In this concise guide we will share our knowledge on how to prolong the lifespan of your cookware and ensure that your kitchen essentials stand the test of time.

Practical Tips for Prolonging Cookware Lifespan

Choosing the Right Cookware

Consider the Material

Invest in high-quality cookware from trustworthy brands. Well-made cookware is more durable and less likely to wear out quickly. While it may be tempting to go for budget-friendly options, well-crafted cookware often lasts longer and performs better.

Selecting the right material for your cookware is important. Each material has its advantages and disadvantages that affect durability and performance. Here are some common choices:

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel cookware is known for its durability and resistance to staining and corrosion. Choose cookware with a thick base for even heat distribution and to avoid warping.

To remove stains from stainless steel, make a paste with baking soda and water and apply it to the metal. Let it stand for about 30 minutes, then rub it gently with a non-abrasive pad.

Cast Iron

Cast iron cookware is prized for its excellent heat retention and even heating. Regularly seasoning your cast iron pans will prevent rust and prolong their lifespan.

Tips for Prolonging Cookware Lifespan
10-Quart Induction-safe cast iron Dutch oven

Seasoning Cast Iron

As mentioned earlier, seasoning your cast iron cookware is crucial. To season, coat the pan with a thin layer of fat or oil with a high smoke point, such as canola or avocado, and heat it until the oil reaches its smoking point. This process creates a non-stick surface and prevents rust.

Non-stick Cookware

Non-stick cookware is easy to clean but requires gentle care to avoid scratching the non-stick surface. Use silicone or wooden utensils to avoid damaging the non-stick coating.

ceramic non-stick cookware set
A Ceramic Non-stick Cookware Set

When using non-stick cookware, such as ceramic, don’t preheat an empty pan rapidly or for an extended period, as it can damage the non-stick coating. Add a bit of oil or food before heating.

Never store food in a non-stick pan, especially if it contains acidic foods like tomato sauce, lemon juice or wine. The acid can permanently damage the non-stick coating.


Copper cookware provides rapid, uniform heating. However, it can react with acidic foods, so ensure that the inner surface has a stainless steel or tin lining to avoid tarnishing or discolouration.

If your copper cookware turns black, use a mixture of salt and white vinegar to remove the tarnish, then polish it.

a copper-clad cookware set
A copper-clad cookware set

Use the Right Heat Source

Match the cookware to the appropriate heat source. Don’t use non-stick cookware on high heat settings, and avoid using induction cookware on gas stoves.

Avoid High Heat

Excessive heat can cause warping and damage to some cookware. High heat is suitable for cast iron and stainless steel but can damage nonstick coatings. Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines regarding suitable heat levels for your pots and pans. (See Non-stick Cookware, above.)

Use the Right Utensils

Use utensils that won’t scratch the surface of your cookware or damage the non-stick coating. Nylon, wooden or silicone utensils are ideal choices.

Storing Your Cookware

Store your pots and pans carefully by stacking them with soft cloths or pot protectors between them. This will prevent scratches and dents. If you have cookware with lids, store the lids separately to prevent pressure on handles and knobs. If possible, hang pots and pans to avoid unnecessary stacking. Proper storage can significantly prolong the lifespan of your pots and pans and make them more easily accessible.

pots and pans storage rack
Adjustable storage rack for pots and pans

Cleaning Your Cookware

After cooking, let your cookware cool slightly before cleaning. Avoid leaving food residues in pans, as they can cause staining. For stubborn stains or burned-on food, make a paste of baking soda and water, apply it to the affected area and gently scrub with a soft sponge or cloth.

Bare cast iron cookware should be hand-washed and thoroughly dried immediately after to avoid rust, then seasoned.

Avoid Metal Scrubbers

When cleaning your cookware, never use abrasive metal scrubbers. Instead, use soft sponges or nylon brushes to prevent scratching.

Hand Washing vs. Dishwasher

While many cookware items are labeled as dishwasher-safe, hand washing is more gentle on the surface and can extend their lifespan. If you use a dishwasher, place cookware on the top rack and avoid harsh detergents.

Gradual Heating

Avoid subjecting your cookware to extreme or sudden temperature changes. Gradually heat up your pots and pans to prevent thermal shock.

Should you add oil to a hot or cold pan?

As a general rule, you should first heat the pan, then add the oil. The high temperature of the pan will reduce the viscosity of the oil and avoid a sticky buildup over time.

On non-stick surfaces, cooking spray can accumulate and become challenging to remove. Instead, use a small amount of oil or butter when required.

General Care

Regular Inspections

Periodically inspect your cookware for signs of wear, such as loose handles or chipped coatings. Address any issues promptly to prevent further damage or accidents. Replace cookware that has been badly damaged.

Be gentle when handling your cookware. Avoid dropping or slamming lids and pots, as this can cause damage.

Seek Professional Repairs

If your cookware has significant damage or wear, consider professional repair or recoating services for your specific cookware.

Follow Manufacturers’ Guidelines

Always follow the care and maintenance instructions provided by the manufacturer of your specific cookware. These guidelines are tailored to the material and design of the cookware.

By following these easy tips for prolonging cookware lifespan, you can ensure that your kitchen essentials remain in excellent condition for years to come. Investing in high-quality cookware and maintaining it with care can save you money in the long run and enhance your cooking experience.

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