How to Clean Ceramic Pans and Cookware

Ceramic cookware has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its durability, non-stick properties, and safety compared to other options like Teflon. However, there is some confusion around the best practices for cleaning ceramic pans and pots to keep them in good shape. This guide will provide tips and step-by-step instructions to clean ceramic cookware properly and make it last.

Why Ceramic Cookware Needs Special Care

Ceramic pans are coated with a ceramic non-stick finish made from inorganic materials like sand and minerals fused together at high temperatures. This makes the surface smooth, durable, and resistant to scratches and chips. However, the coating is still prone to damage from abrasive scouring or cleaning tools.

Ceramic’s low porosity also means it does not absorb stains and residue as easily as other materials. Food and oils can “bake” onto the surface more stubbornly. Using harsh chemical cleaners can strip the finish over time.

Proper cleaning is key to preserving the non-stick integrity and appearance of ceramic over years of regular cooking use. Following the right practices can help the cookware last significantly longer.

Supplies Needed for Cleaning Ceramic Pans

Having the right tools on hand makes cleaning easier and safer for the cookware’s coating. Recommended supplies include:

  • Soft sponges – Avoid abrasive scrubbing pads or steel wool
  • Soft cloth or paper towels
  • Gentle dish soaps – Avoid harsh degreasers or chemicals
  • Non-abrasive plastic, silicone or wooden cooking utensils – No metal utensils
  • Baking soda – For extra scrubbing power
  • White vinegar – For deodorizing and mild acidity to dissolve residue
  • Non-chlorine bleach cleaner (optional) – For occasional deep cleaning

Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning Ceramic Cookware

Follow these methods every time for sparkling clean ceramic with minimal effort:

1. Allow cookware to cool completely

  • Never immerse hot ceramic pans in cold water – this rapid temperature change can damage the finish over time
  • Allow pans to cool to room temperature before cleaning

2. Rinse excess food particles

  • As soon as cooking is done, rinse out any remaining food bits and residue under hot water
  • A gentle wipe with a soft sponge can help dislodge stuck-on food
  • This quick rinse prevents residue from getting baked on and stubborn

3. Wash with soft sponge and mild soap

  • Apply a small amount of mild dish detergent to the sponge and work up a lather
  • Gently scrub the interior and exterior surfaces using a light circular motion
  • Avoid abrasive scrubbing or scouring which can damage the finish
  • Use plastic, silicone or wooden utensils if needed to gently loosen residue
  • Take care not to knock the delicate edges of the cookware
  • Rinse thoroughly after washing to remove all soap

4. Stubborn residue treatment

If food remains stuck after washing:

  • Make a paste of 1 tbsp baking soda and water and apply to stuck bits
  • Allow paste to sit for 5-10 minutes then scrub gently with a soft sponge
  • For tough oil residue, soak cookware for 15-30 minutes in warm water and dish soap
  • Blot dry with soft towel – no abrasive rubbing

5. Sanitize and polish

  • Apply white vinegar and wipe interior and exterior with cloth or paper towel
  • Vinegar sanitizes, deodorizes, and removes soap scum
  • Buff cookware with soft cloth to dry and polish to a shine
  • For an occasional deep clean, use a non-chlorine oxygen bleach cleaner

6. Air dry cookware

  • Let cookware air dry completely before putting away
  • Don’t nest together ceramic pans or pots before fully dried
  • Rubber or silicone pads can prevent chipping of edges while drying

Tips for Daily Use to Prevent Buildup

Establishing good cooking habits can minimize the need for heavy-duty cleaning:

  • Use lower heat settings – ceramic coatings perform better at medium to low temperatures
  • Allow cookware to heat gradually – sudden temperature changes can damage ceramic
  • Don’t preheat empty pans – food residue will bake on quicker
  • Use oils with high smoke points like avocado, grapeseed or canola
  • Don’t overload pans – overcrowding leads to more messy boil overs
  • Remove food immediately after cooking and wash promptly
  • Avoid metal utensils which can scratch ceramic over time

Reconditioning Neglected Ceramic Cookware

For ceramic pans that have been compromised by long-term neglect:

  • Make a baking soda and water paste and apply liberally over entire surface
  • Allow to sit overnight for deep cleaning power
  • Scrub gently in morning with non-abrasive sponge or soft cloth
  • Wash and rinse thoroughly after scrubbing
  • Repeat process if necessary for very stubborn buildup
  • Avoid using oven cleaner sprays or powders which can etch ceramic
  • Reseason the cookware after cleaning by rubbing a thin layer of oil over the surface and heating briefly on stove top

Know When to Retire Ceramic Pans

With proper care, quality ceramic cookware can last for years of regular cooking. However, all pans and pots wear out eventually. Signs it may be time to retire ceramic include:

  • Visible scratches, chips, cracks or enamel damage
  • Discoloration that doesn’t come clean after repeated efforts
  • Changes to the cooking surface like roughness or pores
  • Food sticking badly despite proper preheating and oiling

For cooks who want to keep enjoying the benefits of ceramic, purchasing a new set is recommended when too much deterioration occurs.

Storing Ceramic Right

Proper storage between uses helps prevent unnecessary chipping or scratching:

  • Allow cookware to cool completely before putting away in cupboards
  • Place lining or pads on shelves and between stacked pans
  • Avoid nesting ceramic inside other ceramic pans or pots
  • Store lids separately instead of placing on top of pans
  • For hanging pots, use lining around the drying rack to prevent knocking

Common Myths and Mistakes

There are some common misconceptions about ceramic that can lead to damage. Avoid these mistakes:

✘ Using metal utensils or scouring pads – these scratch the coating over time

✘ Cleaning at very high temperatures – extreme heat can damage the finish

✘ Soaking overnight in water – prolonged moisture exposure can weaken adhesive

✘ Putting cold ceramic cookware directly into a hot oven – risk of thermal shock

✘ Using chlorine bleach or harsh chemicals – strips away the protective finish

Ceramic vs. Teflon – Which is Better?

Ceramic and Teflon are both popular non-stick finishes, but each has pros and cons:

Teflon Pros

  • Extremely non-stick when new
  • Inexpensive to produce
  • Smooth even heating

Teflon Cons

  • Prone to scratches and peeling over time
  • Can release toxic fumes if overheated
  • Not eco-friendly or natural

Ceramic Pros

  • Made from natural inorganic materials
  • More durable for longer-lasting non-stick
  • Environmentally-friendly and non-toxic

Ceramic Cons

  • Surface can be damaged more easily than Teflon
  • Requires more careful cleaning and maintenance
  • Slightly less non-stick than Teflon when brand new

For cooks wanting a durable and safe option, ceramic generally provides better value and longevity than Teflon.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some common questions about cleaning ceramic pans:

Can I put ceramic cookware in the dishwasher?

Avoid the dishwasher if possible – the heat, harsh detergents, and pressure jets can slowly degrade the ceramic over time. Hand washing is best.

What temperature water is safe for cleaning ceramic pans?

Warm, soapy water is ideal. Avoid extreme temperature changes like cold water on hot pans.

Should I reseason ceramic cookware?

Seasoning isn’t necessary for ceramic like it is for cast iron, but occasionally rubbing a thin layer of oil over the surface can help maintain non-stickiness.

What is the white film that appears on ceramic?

The harmless white residue is aluminum oxide, caused by interactions between food, moisture, and the pan material. It can be removed with vinegar or non-chlorine cleaners.

Are ceramics safe to use even if scratched?

Yes, light scratches don’t affect the safety of ceramic cookware. The coating is still inert and non-reactive. However, scratches degrade the non-stick properties over time.


Ceramic’s low-maintenance cleaning needs, long lasting non-stick ability, and safety make it an excellent eco-friendly choice compared to other non-stick finishes. Showing care when washing and storing ceramic pans properly helps enhance their durability and performance for many years of cooking enjoyment. Follow these tips to keep ceramic cookware in its best condition while cooking healthy and tasty meals for family and friends.