Tips for taking care of your pots and pans
Do you want to ensure your pots and pans last for a long time? Learn these top tricks for taking care of your pots and pans and find out how to help them last so much longer.
Long live your cookware!
Don't forget to take a look at our video!
Have you ever bought a high-quality pot or pan, only for it to be ruined straight away? How, you may ask? Simply put, in most cases it's because they aren't being used, cleaned or looked after properly. But not to worry!
We've drawn up a list of simple and easy-to-follow tips so that this doesn't happen to you again, and helping your culinary investments stand the test of time. Did someone say "kitchen"? Let's go!
Believe it or not, read the instructions
After you've made the important decision of choosing a pot or pan and feel confident that it's the product best suited to your cooking style and routine, it's time to learn how to look after it.
We know, we don't like reading the instructions either … but there are times when it's needed. And since you've just invested in something, why not get the most out of it?
Every IKEA pot and pan comes with a small booklet with instructions and basic tips to help you look after your products. As a general rule, we always recommend that you wash, rinse and thoroughly clean products before you use them for the first time. To do this, you'll first need to know what your pot or pan is made of and whether or not it's non-stick.
So let's run through them material by material:
Remember, you can find information on how to clean your product and which hob type it's suited to on its price tag, shelf label and, if it's packaged, on the product packaging.”
Stainless steel pots and pans
Stainless steel pots and pans are well-known for their impact resistance and durability. What simple steps can we take to help them live up to this reputation?
- Never clean them with steel wool or powders, as they might get scratched.
- Unless they're non-stick, you can put them in the dishwasher.
- If food is stuck to the bottom, try pouring a little detergent on top of it. Add some water and heat it up. Leave it to boil and you'll be able to clean it away easily.
- Lime, salty water, lemon and vinegar may stain the metal. To prevent this from happening, dry the product immediately after washing. You can also wait to add the salt and lemon until the water is boiling.
- TOP TIP: If stains persist, wash them away with vinegar and water. Pour a little vinegar into the pot or pan and bring it to the boil. You need one teaspoon of vinegar per litre of water. This will keep your product in tip-top condition.
SENSUELL, marvellous yet misunderstood
On the subject of stainless steel products, let's take a moment to talk about one of our star, and most misunderstood, product ranges, our SENSUELL range of professional pots and pans.
This range, as easy as looking after it may be (it's simple to clean and works well with all kinds of dishes, even induction), needs to be used in a rather unusual way that's different to all other IKEA pots and pans. Is your food sticking? We have just the trick to stop this from happening.
The pan's surface isn't non-stick, making it easier for food to get stuck and burn if the pan isn't used correctly. For best results, the secret is to place the pan over a high heat at first and then bring the temperature down to medium before you start cooking the food. And voilà! Any issues you had with SENSUELL will be a thing of the past.
Aluminium pots and pans
As well as being an excellent thermal conductor, aluminium is lightweight and rust-resistant. However, it's precisely because it's more fragile that special care should be taken to avoid scratches. Here are our tips on how to look after aluminium pots and pans:
- They are not dishwasher-safe. So always wash them by hand.
- Dry after washing to keep their shine.
- If they are not non-stick, avoid using them to cook acidic foods (like tomatoes or lemons), as this could affect the oxide coating covering the pot or pan. Oh! And don't leave food in them for too long to avoid discolouring the metal.
- Use non-sharp utensils made of plastic or wood so you don't scratch the aluminium.
- TOP TIP: Use a protector to help stack them more safely.
Cast iron pots and pans
Do you know the expression "you get better with age"? Well, this could easily be said of cast iron cookware. Cast iron is one of the most traditional materials used in the manufacture of pots and pans. It's durable and an excellent choice for browning or frying food. And as mentioned above, it gets better each time you use it. Do you know why? Because if this metal isn't treated, it will absorb the fat from the food cooked inside, leading to even better results next time.
Tips for protecting cast iron products:
- Don't put them in the dishwasher.
- You can use hard sponges or steel wool to clean them. But don't use too much detergent, it can damage the material when drying if it's not removed properly.
- Untreated cast iron pots and pans must always be seasoned. If they have an enamel glaze, this won't be necessary.
- If the enamel on your pot or pan is matt rather than shiny, grease it with a little oil before use. And from time to time, go over them with some oil-soaked paper after use.
- TOP TIP: Sprinkle some salt into the pot or pan (to absorb any remaining fat) and wipe it down with a piece of kitchen roll or a tea towel. This will make sure it's cleaned thoroughly.
Cleaning non-stick pots and pans
Products with a non-stick coating are a great help in how they stop our food from burning or sticking to the surface. But sometimes, despite their best efforts, tragedy strikes. Clean the pan with warm water, detergent and a soft sponge to avoid scratching the non-stick coating.
If your pot or pan contains residual burnt food that simply won't come off remember this top tip for completely removing this sticky mess, which will only get burnt repeatedly and spoil all of your meals.
Fill the pot or pan up with water and add four or five tablespoons of detergent. Put it on the heat and bring the contents to a boil. Stir with a spoon or spatula made of plastic or wood, carefully scraping away the food residue. After a few minutes, the fat will dissolve and lift away the grime. Once you've done this, wash your pot or pan as usual. After it has dried, you'll need to grease it again.
Once you've read through the tips for each type of material in your pots and pans, you need only remember three simple and fundamental rules for any product, regardless of what it's made of.
1. Allow to cool before cleaning
Have you ever rinsed a pot or pan straight away with cold or lukewarm water? Well, we have to tell you something, this is one of the worst mistakes you can make, as you'll ruin the pot or pan more quickly and break our cooking utensils. One simple action, such as using cold water, can cause residual food to be become even more stuck or even warp the pan itself.
These utensils tend to have a concave base, which flattens out and expands when heated. As such, if the pot or pan is not given enough time to return to its original shape, it might remain uneven and become unstable. So now you know, leave them to cool before washing.
2. Don't keep food inside
Remember that pots and pans are designed for cooking, not storing food. Lots of foods can stain or discolour pots and pans if left inside for too long. Instead, you should use glass jars and containers to keep your food in perfect condition, just as delicious as day one.
3. Don't stack without protection
Lastly, remember to put your pots and pans away properly, or all you’re your hard work to look after them will have been in vain. If you do make the mistake of stacking these utensils one on top of the other, you may accidentally scratch the pot or pan as you stack them and thereby ruining the non-stick layer.
We love it when customers use our products in a creative way. Why not try being creative too? But do remember, any modifications or changes you make to IKEA products prevent them from being resold or used for their original use, and so voiding IKEA product warranties and your right of return.