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If you hear a sizzling sound coming from your hot pan, do you find yourself tempted to take it directly from the stove to the sink and drench it in cold water? It’s possible that you believe this makes it simpler for you to clean the residue, or it’s possible that you simply like to clean your kitchen counter as soon as you’re finished using it after you’ve finished cooking.

If that is the case, please stop doing that immediately!

It is never a good idea to put a hot pan in the sink and then quickly run cold water over it after the stove has been turned off. If you don’t want to permanently damage it, you need to wait a few minutes for it to cool down before you start cleaning it up, even if you don’t think it needs it.

When and How You Should Clean Your Pan after Cooking

After you have finished cooking, the best way to protect your pans from being damaged is to leave them on the stovetop to cool down naturally at room temperature. This should be done as soon as possible after you take them off the stove.

If there isn’t enough room on the stovetop for the pan, you can put it on a trivet or another surface that can withstand the heat instead. When you put it down, make sure that the surface is clean and that it does not fall into a pool of water by accident.

It is possible that tossing a hot pan into the sink will cause the remaining food to disintegrate, which will save you the trouble of scrubbing it off later. However, in the long run, it will cause irreparable damage to your pans.

Why You Should Never Toss a Hot Pan under Running Water

Here are some reasons why you should never put your pan under running water after cooking.

It Causes Thermal Shock

When they are heated, metals undergo a molecular expansion. The majority of pans that are used for cooking are constructed out of multiple layers of metal, typically stainless steel and aluminum. There is a possibility that the coating on your pan is enameled or non-stick.

These materials have varying degrees of expansion and contraction depending on the temperature. When the temperature shift is subtle, it’s possible that you won’t notice it, but when you put a pan that’s been sizzling hot in water that’s been freezing cold, the metals in the pan cool off way too quickly. This results in a shock to the system’s temperature.

The greater the temperature differential, the more severe the effects of the thermal shock are going to be. In light of the aforementioned, a hot pan that is left in contact with cold water for even a brief period of time runs the risk of warping, shattering, chipping, or cracking.

Warped Pans Don’t Cook Evenly

When a pan warps, the bottom of the pan becomes uneven, making it difficult for the pan to sit flat on the stovetop. When a pan is warped, it is easier for food to stick to the bottom of the pan.

Because of this, the oil may eventually gather on one side of the pan.

In addition, when the pan just won’t sit flat on the induction or electric cooktop, it can make it difficult to prepare meals that are cooked to perfection.

The Coating Might Come Off

Even if your pan avoids warping for some reason, the coating might peel off in the process. We are confident that you would not want to consume food that contained pieces of enamel or non-stick coating that had chipped off.

Because of the damage to the coating, food will easily find a way to adhere to the surface of the pan, which will make cleaning a significant challenge.

A similar article titled “What to Do When the Non-Stick Pan Coating Is Coming Off” can be found here.

It May Create Hot and Cold Spots

On the surface of your pan, hot and cold spots may also form. This can happen.

It’s possible that heat isn’t distributed evenly across the surface, which means that some areas could stay either hot or cold. The food will be cooked or heated in an uneven manner as a result of this.

It Promotes Pollution

This particular point is not pertinent to the use of your cooking pan; however, it is pertinent to the use of your drainage pipes and, more importantly, to the health of the environment.

When you pour hot water over a hot pan that is covered in grease, oil, or any other residue, you end up washing it all down the drain. This could lead to the pipes becoming clogged, which would then cause the sewage to back up and explode.

In addition, all of the leftover oil makes its way into the water sources, such as lakes, seas, and streams. This is a very serious problem. Imagine the number of homes that are contributing to the pollution of the waterways by dumping oil into them; this can’t be good for the environment.

The Best Way to Clean Your Cooking Pans

Let’s take a look at the most effective methods for cleaning some of the most common types of cooking pans that most of us use on a regular basis now that we are aware that it is best to wait some time before cleaning the pan after cooking.

Non-stick Pans

Hand washing your non-stick cookware is the most effective method for cleaning the pots and pans’ interior surfaces. You must make use of liquid detergent, as well as a non-abrasive sponge or soft bristle brush, in order to accomplish this.

If you believe that the residue will be difficult to remove, another option is to use a liquid cleaner. Scrub the pot with your hands in some sudsy hot water.

Use liquid dishwashing detergent and scrub the surface of the hard-anodized aluminum exterior in a circular motion with a non-abrasive pad or sponge while you are working with the material. However, there are some hard-anodized, non-stick pans that can be cleaned in the dishwasher. If yours is, all you need to do is use a dishwashing detergent for automatic dishwashers that does not contain any bleach or citrus additives.

Caution: When cleaning your non-stick cooking pans, do NOT use baking soda, bleach, abrasive cleaning pads or sponges, or liquid household cleaners made specifically for floors and porcelain. They will cause the finish to become damaged.

Stainless Steel Pans

In the case of pans made of stainless steel, you need to let the pan cool down gradually for a few minutes before you toss it into the sink and soak it in water that has been made soapy in a warm temperature. First, let it sit for a few minutes, and then use a sponge dampened in soap to clean it.

Utilizing a stainless steel cleaner is your best bet when removing tougher stains and food that has been scorched. You also have the option of making a paste out of baking soda and water, which can then be applied to the surface of the pan. Put the pan on the stovetop and use a wooden spoon to scrape the blackened areas while doing so at the same time. This will cause the bits to become loose, and you can then wipe them away to leave the pan clean and shiny.

After you have finished thoroughly cleaning the pan, you should dry it using a piece of clean cloth that is on the softer side.

Cast Iron Pans

When you are finished cooking in a pan made of cast iron, you must wait until it has completely cooled down before placing it in water.

It is important to remember that you cannot use soap with cast iron pans because the soap will remove the oil and seasoning that is necessary to keep the surface of the pan non-stick. It is recommended that you use a stiff bristle brush and some hot water to clean your cast iron pan. It is important to remember to pat the surface dry with a towel as soon as it is finished being washed to prevent the surface from rusting.

Additionally, while the surface of the pan is still warm from the water in the sink, you might want to consider applying a thin layer of vegetable oil or cooking spray to the surface of the pan. Make sure there is no trace of access left behind by using a paper towel.

Taking Good Care of Your Pans

Because they are more likely to crack when subjected to sudden temperature changes, thin nonstick pans require a greater degree of caution when being used in cooking. The thicker pans are typically of higher quality construction and are more resistant to fluctuations in temperature. The sturdy ones might only experience a momentary warping, and they might even go back to their original shape after some time has passed and they have cooled down.

On the other hand, they must not be placed in the sink right away after the cooking process is complete. It is possible to ruin any pan by doing this: placing a hot pan directly under cold water.

Other Common Practices that Damage Cooking Pans

In addition to not cleaning the pan immediately after use, the following are some other common things that we frequently do that can cause damage to our cooking pans.

Preheating for Too Long

If you preheat a pan without any food in it for too long, regardless of whether the pan is non-stick or not, it may reach cooking temperatures and even higher than that too quickly.

When you put food into a pan that is already too hot, it only takes a few seconds for it to catch fire or cause the food to stick to the surface. Because of this, cleaning may become an ordeal for you. In addition to this, if the temperature is higher than approximately 400 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, the non-stick finish will typically begin to deteriorate.

Therefore, pay attention while you are preheating your pan so that you can ensure that the food is added before the pan becomes too hot.

Using Metal Utensils

There are a lot of pans out there with non-stick coatings, and those coatings cannot be used with metal utensils.

Before employing these utensils on non-stick surfaces, it is imperative that you first check the labels. In that case, even the most expensive pans will be rendered useless for the rest of their lives.

Applying a Non-stick Spray

On a pan that is already non-stick, you do not need to apply a spray that makes food not stick.

If you do this, it will just accumulate on the surface, which will significantly reduce its effectiveness.

Adding Salt into Water before Boiling

People consistently make the mistake of adding salt to water before it has begun to boil, despite the fact that they are aware of the potential damage that this can cause to the pot or pan.

Only at extremely high temperatures will salt dissolve in water. Because of this, you should wait to add it until after the water has begun to boil. In that case, the substance won’t dissolve very quickly.

Put an end to the futile practice of adding salt and water to the pan at the same time in the hopes of bringing the temperature up. During the process of heating the pan, the salt will not completely dissolve and will instead remain at the bottom of the pan. Crystals that have not been dissolved will have a violent reaction with metals, which will result in permanent stains or spots being left on the surface of the pan.

In the worst of cases, when your pan gets used to heating up salt that hasn’t been dissolved, it will start to develop small pits.

If you always wash your cooking pan in cold water as soon as it is finished being used, there is no point in investing in a high-quality pan for the kitchen if you do this. By giving it a few minutes to cool down on its own first, you will maintain its good condition, which will in turn increase its effectiveness as well as its lifespan.


Can I wash a pan immediately after cooking?

Before you begin cleaning your pan, make sure you give it enough time to totally cool down. It is possible to warp a pan by generating an uneven, wonky surface by submerging a hot pan in cold water or even by pouring cool water over hot nonstick cookware. This will cause the surface to heat unevenly.

Should you let a pan cool before washing?

Turn off the water in the refrigerator! It takes some time to cool down hot pans so that they can be cleaned with soap.

Should you clean pans while hot?

When your pots and pans are still hot from being used in the kitchen, this is the best time to clean them. Pouring hot water into the pan will deglaze it quickly and easily. This can remove even food that has been burnt on, as well as oil, in an instant. However, be sure that you only use hot water with a hot pan at all times.

Should you wash pans straight away?

Immediately wash in boiling soapy water, and dry thoroughly.

The longer food is allowed to sit in a pan, the greater the likelihood that it will adhere to the surface.

Use a mild dish soap that is formulated to cut through grease.

How do you clean a pan after cooking?

Never use detergent or soap because doing so will cause the seasoning to be removed and will eventually lead to corrosion. Use a bristled scrub brush and hot water to thoroughly clean your cookware. First, bring the pot or pan containing the leftover food to a boil for a few minutes; then, using the stiff brush, scrub the pot or pan until all of the food particles have been removed. Clean and dry the cookware right away.