This Is The Quickest Way To Ruin Any Pan

It may seem like a harmless, easy shortcut to rinse or wash a pan immediately after using it — after all, any food remnants in the pan are more likely to wash away when the pan is still hot and its contents have yet to dry. This simple act, however, could inadvertently be wreaking havoc on your pans, making cooking and cleaning more difficult in the long run.

According to HuffPost, rinsing or washing your hot pans in cool or cold water will "absolutely destroy [them] over time." As a representative from the cookware brand Calphalon told the publication: "If a hot pan is placed under cold water, thermal shock, which can ruin a pan, may occur."

Thermal shock, in turn, can cause warping and/or cracking of the pan. "If warping occurs, the bottom of the pan will become uneven, and the pan will not sit evenly on the stovetop," said the representative.

Luckily, there is a simple enough solution to this problem: wait until your pans have cooled to room temperature to wash them, per Taste of Home.

Why does thermal shock ruin your pans?

According to Reviewed, when metal heats up, it expands, and when it cools, it contracts. As a result, when a hot pan is put into contact with cold water, the "expansion and contraction is forced at an unnatural speed," resulting in warping or cracking. Any pan can be ruined like this, regardless of its material: stainless steel, cast iron, nonstick, and glass can all succumb to thermal shock. That being said, thinner pans are at a greater risk of damage than sturdier ones, the publication explains.

Unfortunately, warping due to thermal shock can have a negative effect on your cooking, per World of Pans. Since warping will change the shape of a pan's surface, preventing it from sitting evenly on a stovetop, liquid ingredients such as oil will more easily collect on one side of the pan. This can lead to uneven cooking.

World of Pans also claimed that washing nonstick pans while they're still hot can cause the nonstick coating to wear away prematurely. This, in turn, will not only ruin the pan but cause food to stick and make cleaning even more difficult. Per HuffPost, washing a hot pan in cold water can also lead to the formation of hot and cold spots on its surface — meaning that the next time you use it, your food may not cook evenly.