My mom always taught me to wash dishes as I cook and always clean before eating. Turns out, though, that part of my family’s cleaning process is actually bad for our pots and pans.
Running cold water over a hot pan causes damage to the cookware and shortens its lifespan.
While you might know the basic no-nos of cookware care (not putting certain skillets and pots in the dishwasher, not using metal utensils on nonstick surfaces, and so on), running cold water on hot pots and pans is also on that list.
When your cookware is hot off the stovetop, running cold water over it for a quick cool down will warp the metal. While this might not be visible at first, it’ll show up over time, particularly when you beginning cooking. As warping continues, your pan will eventually no longer sit flat on your stovetop. This means unevenly cooked food and, potentially, buying a new set of cookware.
Or does it?
While not always a permanent fix, you might be able to revive warped pans if they’re not too far gone. Essentially, you just hammer it out.
Lie the pan open side up or down on a towel, depending on which way the bulge goes. Then, place another towel on top. Using a mallet or hammer, tap on the metal to reverse the bulge. Inspect as you go and increase the pressure if it’s stubborn.
Ultimately, though, if you have quality cookware, it’s best to simply let it cool after cooking.