Fried eggs, bacon, burgers - a good, non-stick pan makes cooking some of the most delicious food a breeze. That is, when they're in good condition.
Despite looking tough, a non-stick surface is surprisingly delicate. And what good is a non-stick pan without its non-stick coating? Scratches and scrapes will make cooking a nightmare. It'll be crumbly, it'll be messy - it will be the opposite of non-stick.
Keeping your non-stick pans in great condition is easy, once you know how. The first rule of thumb is, never leave them in the shared cupboards, the other rules we've listed below.
Learn how to take good care of your non-stick pans today and they'll serve you well for years to come.
Mistake 1: Using the dishwasher
We know, we know - it's so tempting to throw everything in the dishwasher after a long day at work and even longer evening in the kitchen.
The dishwasher is good for a lot of things, but it's not the place for your non-stick pans.
The extremely high temperatures and harsh chemicals in the dishwasher tablets will wear down the non-stick coating over time, rendering your pans useless.
Wash them by hand in hot, soapy water after use to make them last longer.
Non-stick pan mistake 2: Using metal utensils
Pans can handle the heat, that's for sure, but non-stick pans have to be treated with care.
It's important to remember the non-stick is merely a coating - easily scratched off and damaged.
This means metal utensils are off limits, as they are sharp enough to scratch into the coating which will make food stick to it when cooking.
Mistake 3: Heating without contents
Sometimes life can be hectic, and leaving the pan heating without any food in it is surprisingly easy to do.
If you're serious about preserving your non-stick pans, this is a mistake to avoid making.
Heating an empty non-stick pan will cause it to buckle, ruining its flat bottom. This may lead to uneven cooking in the future, or food taking an unnecessarily long time to cook.
If you want to make your non-stick pans last longer, always add oil before turning the heat on.
Mistake 4: Leaving your pans unwashed
Throwing your non-stick pans in the dishwasher is bad, but something equally as damaging is not washing them at all.
All that greasy residue, leftover food and even dishwater will do damage to the non-stick coating, wearing it down over time.
Your best bet? Wash up asap. You can forget the plates and cutlery, but get your non-stick pans clean and dry asap if you want to make them last longer.
Non-stick pan mistake 5: Using a super high heat
Another thing that's ruining your non-stick pans is using extremely high heats.
Non-stick pans are designed to be used for low-moderate heats, not for frying steaks and rendering the fat on a piece of lamb. High temperatures can damage the coating and also release harsh chemicals.
For hardcore cooking, using cast iron - that really is invincible.
Mistake 6: Careless storage will ruin non-stick pans
Short of space? Even so, you should never compromise on storage for your non-stick pans.
Stacking these on top of one another, unprotected, is asking for trouble. Other pans will scratch at the coating, and once they have, there's no going back.
In an ideal world, you should save yourself enough room to either hang them or store them singularly. If you do have to stack them, however, it's definitely worth investing in some felt pan pads to provide protection.
They don't cost much and will prevent damage to your beloved non-stick pans when not in use.
Mistake 7: Using a scourer
There are some jobs scourers are great for - glass pans, we're looking at you.
Use a tough scourer on your non-stick pans, however, and it will completely ruin them.
Although they look tough, their non-stick coating is easily damaged, and a few scrubs with one of these power tools will wear down the coating.
Non-stick pan mistake 8: Drastic changes in temperature
It's always tempting to pop your hot pans in the sink under running water once you've finished cooking.
Not only does this prevent any burns, but it also stops food from hardening and becoming difficult to remove. Not to mention the satisfying sizzle you get when hitting a hot pan with ice cold water.
Although it may seem like a good idea, the drastic change in temperature could ruin your non-stick pans. It will 'shock' the metal and cause it to warp, which will make it difficult to cook with in the future.
The correct way to treat a non-stick pan is allowing it to cool gradually after use, then washing.
Do you have any top tips for preserving non-stick pans? We'd love to hear them in the comments below.