You can’t clean ceramic cookware the same way you clean other kinds of nonstick cookware. Otherwise, you could damage your pans and pots permanently—and see your investment go down the drain.
Fortunately for you, we have a definitive guide on how to clean ceramic cookware properly. We’ll show you how you can wash your pots and pans after every use, as well as how to get rid of burnt food and stubborn stains.
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How to Clean Ceramic Cookware: The Day-to-Day Approach
You can clean your ceramic pans and pots quickly and easily after you cook with it. If you have five minutes, a soft sponge, dishwashing liquid, and a soft towel, you can follow this regular cleaning routine.
1. Let Your Pan Cool
You should let your hot pans and pots cool before you start cleaning them. Avoiding drastic temperature changes prolongs the life of your nonstick ceramic coating, but we’ll go over that further down in the article.
2. Wash It with Soapy Water
Once the ceramic surface has cooled, you can clean the pan with soap and water. Pour a few drops of a mild dish detergent on the ceramic surface, add a drizzle of warm water and scrub the pan using a non-abrasive sponge making circular motions.
Then, rinse the pan with hot water.
3. Let It Air-Dry
Lastly, place your ceramic pans on a dish drying rack. You should let it air-dry completely before storing it (being careful to never stack ceramic cookware, lest the nonstick coating get ruined!).
Alternatively, you can use a soft cloth or paper towels to dry the ceramic pans by hand. This only takes a few minutes.
How to Clean Ceramic Pan with Burnt Food on It
The three steps we just outlined don’t always get rid of food residue.
Actually, the best way to avoid having to deal with a build-up of burned food bits is to evenly coat your burnt ceramic pan with cooking sprays, clarified butter, vegetable oil, extra-virgin olive oil, or butter. Skipping this step is the main mistake home chefs do. Moreover, you shouldn't cook foods at a high temperature, as they are more likely to stick stubbornly.
But if the damage is done and you have a burnt ceramic pan on your kitchen counter, these three methods will help you get it sparkling clean once more.
Soak in Warm Soap Water
The first method you can try is soaking the ceramic frying pan in warm soapy water.
Pour hot water and a small amount of liquid dish detergent into the ceramic pan and let it sit for up to three hours. This should remove burnt oil and food leftovers.
Keep in mind that not all ceramic pans can be left to soak in a sink (we explain why at the end of this guide), so you might be better off simply filling up the frying pan with soap and hot water.
Sprinkle and Scrub Baking Soda
Alternatively, you can sprinkle about two tablespoons of dry baking soda on the burnt ceramic pan, especially on the affected area. Then, with a damp sponge, brush the powder into the food residue in a circular motion. If needed, add a splash of hot water.
Be persistent but don’t use any abrasive cleaning pads (e.g. steel wool pads)—a soft sponge will get the job done. Then, wipe off the grime that came off with a dry towel.
Cook a Baking Soda + Warm Water Mixture
Using baking soda is also good for removing food bits that have burnt and stuck to the bottom of the ceramic pan.
Take your burnt ceramic pan and cover the bottom with baking soda. Then, pour warm water on it until the pan is full halfway. Next, place the ceramic pan on the stove on medium heat or high heat.
Let this concoction reach a boil and then drop down to a simmer for ten to fifteen minutes. The food particles are guaranteed to come off. If your ceramic pans needs a deep cleaning, this is the method to try.
How to Remove Stains from Ceramic Cookware
Ceramic coatings eventually get stubborn food stains on them. While they don’t affect the quality of your cookware, they can be annoying to look at, especially if you’re a perfectionist and want your restaurant-quality kitchen items to sparkle. Fortunately, removing tough stains is easy.
Use White Vinegar
Make a white distilled vinegar mixture following a 1:4 ratio. For instance, one-fourth cup of white wine vinegar per cup of water.
Pour the mixture on the cookware and let it sit overnight. Make sure the entire stained area is covered. Alternatively, you could place the ceramic pan on the stovetop and boil the mixture for fifteen minutes.
Once that’s done, rinse and dry with a soft dishcloth.
Keep in mind that you shouldn't make the mixture more concentrated than a 1:4 ratio. Using straight vinegar or a mixture that has a high acid content can deteriorate the nonstick finish.
Lighten Stains with Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is commonly used as a cleaning agent because of its bleaching effect. That’s why it’s so useful at removing stains from ceramic pans and pots.
Start by covering the cooking surface of your ceramic pan with 3% hydrogen peroxide (you can find it at health stores and drug stores, as this is the H2O2 included in first-aid kits). It should start to bubble; if it doesn’t, the hydrogen peroxide is likely past its due date.
Next, let the H2O2 sit in the ceramic pan for 30 minutes or so.
Then, rinse the pan and use a soft cloth to dry it before storing it.
What NOT to Do When Cleaning a Ceramic Pan or Pot
As we mentioned earlier in this guide, you can’t clean ceramic pans the same way you clean your other cookware. For one, ceramic utensils don’t have the harmful chemicals commonly found on traditional nonstick cookware, which is what makes them pricier.
So, if you want to keep your ceramic pans for many years and make your investment last, you need to learn their proper care.
1. Don’t Use Abrasive Sponges
Ceramic coatings are fragile, so ditch the metal pads and steel wool to prevent scratches. They’re too abrasive and will eat away at the non-stick surface. With time, instead of being able to use less grease (which is the whole point of ceramic kitchenware), you would have to use copious amounts of it just for food not to get burnt on the ceramic layer. When you opt for a sponge or a luffa, you get to avoid this problem.
2. Never Scrape Off Food With Metal Utensils
You shouldn’t use metal spoons and spatulas on your ceramic pans and pots for the same reason: to avoid damaging the ceramic coating. Choose wooden spoons or non-abrasive nylon spoons instead.
On that note, it's also best to avoid cutting food directly on the pan, for the exact same reason.
3. Don’t Use Harsh Detergents
You should never put your ceramic cookware in the dishwasher. Dishwasher detergents are too harsh for the sensitive ceramic coating. The same goes for other abrasive cleaners. A bar of mild dish soap is the way to go.
4. Avoid Drastic Temperature Changes
Remember how we said you should let your cookware cool completely before you start cleaning it? Well, that’s because drastic changes in temperature eat away at the carbonized layer that makes the pan non-stick, which can be tricky to replace (but much more doable if you follow our step-by-step guide on how to season ceramic cookware).
The best thing you can do is either only use cold water on cold pots and pans, or pour hot water on your cookware right after you use it.
5. Don’t Soak Your Pans (Unless You Check What It’s Made Of)
Ceramic pans aren’t made of ceramic through and through. Rather, they’re made of other pots materials (e.g. stainless steel, cast iron, or some other type of metal that cooks food evenly and can bear high temperatures) and get a ceramic coating bonded to the metal.
Thus, you need to check what material your cookware is mostly made of before cleaning it. For instance, if you have a cast-iron ceramic-coated coating surface, you need to keep it away from water and moisture as much as possible, otherwise, it can rust very easily. In this case, submerging the whole ceramic pan in the sink is an absolute no-no!