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Removing Teflon non-stick coating from pots & pans

Q. How to remove worn teflon coating from aluminum/glass pots?

Julia Atanassov
hobbyist - Fullerton California
March 30, 2022

A. Hi Julia. This thread offers many different perspectives on that; but if you'd like it distilled down to its essence, some people including me don't think it should be done, but Kimberly Huseman claimed success and offered full instructions in one short paragraph :-)

Luck & Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

⇩ Closely related postings, oldest first ⇩

(to provide context, hopefully helping readers more quickly understand the Q&A's)

This thread mixes home needs with industrial processes, so it is important for readers to realize that some of the suggested procedures have no place in a home! Homeowners can NOT safely burn teflon off -- it produces toxic fumes; they cannot safely dissolve teflon -- it is extremely chemical resistant, and specialty chemicals like n-methyl-pyrrolidon should not be used or on hand in a home. Caustic/lye doesn't dissolve teflon, although it might dissolve enough of the aluminum and the bonding agents to be of some assistance in pulling off old teflon, but again, this is a dangerous off-label use of lye.

Abrasive methods (sanding, blasting) may be the only appropriate home method but, having been warned about what you shouldn't do, read on to see if readers have offered something you can use :-)

Q. Hi,

I am looking for a way to remove teflon coating from 304 stainless steel without heating it to over 400 °F.

If anyone can help, I would appreciate it.


Paul Wisniewski
a machine tool company - S. Windham Connecticut

A. Paul,

Teflon can be effectively removed by abrasive blasting with aluminum oxide blast media. I trust that your part is able to withstand the rigors of abrasive blasting.

Dan Penford
- Sarnia, Ontario, Canada

A. Paul As Dan said, you can do it by grit blasting with aluminium oxide, but depending on the thickness it will deform the substrate. You can use a plastic media to do it like "aerolite" is the abrasive that is used for the airplanes paint stripping. If your Teflon is a thin coating, you can try with n-methyl-pyrrolidon solvent.

Jordi Pujol
- Barcelona, Spain

A. Paul, I have used the chemical method to remove Teflon from lock nuts.

Tim Wright
- Woodstock, Ontario

? Hi, Tim. Are you sure it was Teflon that you removed from those locknuts? All of the locknuts that I've seen are "Nyloc" (nylon), not Teflon. Although they might look similar, nylon dissolves in acids but Teflon does not.
Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

Q. Can teflon coating be removed from aluminum pots and pans? The thin coatings have been scratched off over a period of time but the pans still look to have more useful life. We are concerned about a possible health hazard of ingesting teflon particles that come off the pans.

Gil Peters
- Sunol, California, USA

A. Yes, it can be burned off or blasted off.

Josh Sonju
Sonju Industrial Inc. - Kalispell, Montana, USA

A. Most people want to keep Teflon on their pans as it stops food sticking to the metal. The usual complaint about Teflon is that it comes off when scrubbed with a very abrasive scourer, so you could do that. Depending how good the Teflon was put on, you may be able to remove it by sand blasting the pan, but this may also damage the inside of the pan. However, removing the PTFE may well adversely affect the performance of the pans, so perhaps you will be better off getting some good old cast iron pans with no Teflon (or PTFE as it is also known)

trevor crichton
Trevor Crichton
R&D practical scientist
Chesham, Bucks, UK

Multiple threads were merged: please forgive repetition, chronology errors, or disrespect towards other postings [they weren't on the same page] :-)

Q. A non abrasive method of Teflon removal is? Want to remove Teflon from pans.

Joseph D [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
Homeowner - Trai Creek, Indiana

Q. I have some nice and expensive stainless steel utensils with Teflon coated inside. The Teflon has (as usual) lost its function and I would like to strip it off to recover the steel surface. Any tips on how to do this? Chemicals rather than abrasives?


Sigurd L [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
Cooking - Stavanger, Norway

A. Hi Sigurd. Unfortunately Teflon is a largely non-reactive substance, Teflon is "baked" on to pots and pans at a relatively high heat (the surface of the pan is still semi molten). I cannot think of a way to get the Teflon coating off without an abrasive (suggest sandblasting).

As for chemicals? Well you are kinda out of luck, most of the chemicals that would eat off the Teflon would either heavily stain or destroy aluminum or steel.

Marc Banks
- Elizabeth City, North Carolina USA

A. Teflon can be burned off in a high temp oven. I think you'll need about 900-1000 degrees (no higher, as you may melt your pans). A small blowtorch might work too, I'm not sure. Be very careful not to inhale any fumes, as it will make you sick (similar to metal fume fever).

Marc Green
Marc Green
anodizer - Boise, Idaho

A. The way to strip Teflon coatings is burning off. The temperature must be from 480 °C to 550 °C. This temperature burns the plastic and it becomes ash powder. Then you will need to coat again the metal part or polish it.


Jordi Pujol
- Sant Celoni, SPAIN

Ed. note: Jordi is an industrial specialist in this and is surely right. However, burning is probably quite unsafe for homeowners and hobbyists who do not have industrial ovens and fume extraction systems.

Q. Need to remove teflon coating from steel without damaging the integrity of the metal.

Mark Rubin
buyer - Las Vegas, Nevada
January 21, 2008

"The Hidden Dangers of C8"
by Callie Lyons

on AbeBooks

or Amazon

(affil links)

A. It's going to depend on the details of your situation, Mark: the quantity in question, what you are going to do with the parts after teflon removal, their size and shape, whether abrasives can get to the recesses, etc.
We appended your inquiry to a thread where you will find details & recommendations for the three different approaches of 1). abrasive removal, 2). solvent/chemical removal, and 3). burn-off. If you can describe the parts and quantities, someone may be able to suggest which of the three methods sounds most promising for your particular case. Good luck.

Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

Removing teflon with lye

Q. I want to remove the Teflon from a cast iron electric skillet, and will even try the lye I read of on Letter 17784, "Removing Teflon non-stick coating from Visions and Pyrex Glass Cookware". Does anyone know of any dangers that could possibly result from putting lye on cast iron like that? Thanks!

Deanne H [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Keokuk, Iowa

A. Deanne, that reference was for removing the non-stick coating from Visions glass cookware, and I'm not confident that the non-stick coating on visions is even teflon anyway. If you are concerned about Teflon, please buy pyrex or plain cast iron or hard anodized aluminum instead of trying to strip the Teflon from your pots and pans.

Are you sure that you know the difference between cast iron and cast aluminum? There is no danger to cast iron from lye, but aluminum can react rather violently with lye, rapidly dissolving. And there is potential danger to you. Lye is designed to dissolve animal tissue, and children have died from putting a lye-covered spoon in their mouth that their parents forgot to immediately wash. Please wear goggles and be careful. Good luck.

Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

A. Since aluminium doesn't rust, rather it forms a protective oxide in air (Al2O3), then the problem of scratches that go rusty doesn't apply. Even applying Teflon to aluminium is an overkill. So if it ain't going rusty in the scratches in the Teflon, then it ain't iron!

It's the caustic soda [affil links] (or lye) in Drano that lifts the teflon layer. I had success removing a scratched teflon coating from a George Foreman grill by spraying it with oven cleaner [on eBay or Amazon] which also has caustic in it.


Anthony Maher
- Perth,Western Australia, Australia

Q. Why can't you use sandpaper or a drill with sandpaper to remove the coating?

Dearina Tucker
- Hamilton, Ohio
February 10, 2009

A. Hi Dearina. You surely can! But one of the readers was looking for a non abrasive method, and burning seems to be the alternative to abrasion. Further, while homeowners might have no problem spending two hours sanding a pot, that investment in time may be impractical in industry -- a consumer won't pay a shop $325 to have the teflon sanded off a pot, so burning may be more practical for them. Thanks!


Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

A. Ted's a little over the top with his alarmist views of lye. We have used lye for decades to clean grease off of things and take the skins off of our peaches at canning time. Bases are safe if used safely and can be neutralized with acids like lemon juice or vinegar [in bulk on eBay or Amazon] or dilute it with lots more water and pour it on your compost heap.

As for the PTFE you remove, toss it into a trash can wrapped in plastic and your great grandkids can deal with it when they have to mine the dumps for resources. Why anyone would consider it safe to put halogens into our food is beyond my comprehension. Nasty stuff!

Ed Brown
- Eugene, Oregon

thumbs up signHi, Ed. Thanks for the interesting and informative posting.

But funny, I was just about to say that you may be a little over the top with your alarmist views of halogens  :-)
Iodine is a halogen and a vital nutrient; the oceans are sodium chloride dissolved in water, and chloride is a halogen. Maybe your concern is fluorides, halogenated hydrocarbons or chlorinated fluorocarbons?


Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

thumbs up signThanks y'all for giving me some ideas for my problem. My pots and pans are heavy gauge aluminum and are about 40 years old, but I love them and hate the thought of just getting rid of them. Have been looking for others for replacements, but have not found what I like yet, so will try one of the suggestions on my little frying pan to see how it works, then if needed will try another method. Thanks again.

Joyce Crawford
- Mesa, Arizona, USA
September 29, 2011

A. My husband removed the teflon from our stainless steel frypan with great success. If I am allowed to post the website where I have given these instructions then you can read how to do it successfully.

We removed ours about 8 weeks ago and have used this s/steel pan with success ever since.


This is the link to learn how to remove teflon ...

On second thought I will just post the name of article: "buying a new frypan: which to buy scan pan stonedine or flavorstone"

I hope this will help anyone looking to do this. Thanks, Eileen.

Eileen hughes
pensioner - Australia

August 2012

thumbs up sign Thanks Eileen.

sidebar It's true that we don't much like to post links because almost all break within months whereas this site (on line since 1989) is trying to be a permanent reference, and broken links leave readers wasting time reading a paragraph of introduction here about where to go to read an answer, only to have 99%+ of those links break :-(

Your answer on that page is one sentence of 13 words. Wouldn't it have been better to simply re-post that single sentence here? :-)


Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

Ed. note, Dec. 2013: Sorry, that link is now broken.
Ed. note, May 2016: Sorry, there is no anymore, and google doesn't seem to find any article with that title.

Mouse Sander

(affil links)

Multimax sander

(affil links)

! I just cleaned off the flaking Teflon by using a mouse sander and a Multimax sander to get into the curvy spaces. Then I used clean sandpaper to polish the shining metal. Works fine. I get to keep using a skillet which is exactly the right size for me, and I didn't add to landfill. Just be sure to wear a mask when you sand off the Teflon.

Kimberly Huseman
- Chicago, Illinois, USA
January 9, 2013

Q. I'm trying to remove Teflon from some favorite stainless steel Cuisinart pans. I don't want to wreck the stainless ... it needs to be able to brushed out smooth after the Teflon is removed.
Would you advise chemical or blasting?
Where does one typically buy the products needed?
Thanks, Greg

greg larsky
- seattle Washington
May 16, 2009

A. Hi, Greg. The reason such a slippery thing as Teflon was able to stick to the pan in the first place is due to mechanical interlocking; the surface of the stainless was specially etched to look like a sponge.

Personally, I don't like the idea of using that etched surface, that was not intended to be a cooking surface, as a cooking surface, but you can read about the removal techniques above, and sand it smooth. There is no good chemical removal technique. Good luck.


Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

Q. I am also trying to find a safe way to remove teflon. Lye just doesn't sound all that safe to me. I have several cast iron skillets and dutch ovens that we use for the scouts to cook over an open fire. My mother-in-law, in her "great love" for me had all my cast iron teflon coated for me, and I don't really want to put a teflon coated dutch oven directly on a fire then eat out of it.

Spencer Miller
- Buchanan, Michigan
August 30, 2009


thumbs down sign I would be really, really upset if anyone had any of my cast iron pans teflon coated - which I believe would cost more than very good quality of the same type of pan.

thumbs up sign To apply a teflon coating a cast iron pan, say a skillet, ruins and destroys it. Cast Iron has it's own non stick properties with seasoning.

(To season a cast iron pan, clean it thoroughly, dry it, then rub it all over, inside and out with cooking oil and then buff it. Then place in in a 450 °F oven for about 45 minutes.
As the fat is heated, it bonds to the metal and to itself in a process called polymerization. With use, and more layers of seasoning, what you end up with is a hard, blackened skin that protects the metal that has nonstick properties that make even the most stick-prone foods (think: fried eggs) a pleasure when using cast iron.)

Stan Sag
- West Hills, California

Ed. note: Readers, see thread 4988, "SEASONING & RESTORING CAST IRON COOKWARE", for further ideas or to continue that discussion.

Q. I have a raised turkey pan (grate raises the bird) and the teflon is peeling off the bottom. I just assume toss it, but I thought, "hey, if I can remove the teflon, I can still use it." But the juices go in there and I do make a gravy later. So, maybe toss it? I would rather be healthy. Tell me what you think (and I am a competent adult who can safely handle chemistry and keep it safe).

- mundelein Illinois
July 30, 2010

Q. I have a question to ask I have bought a Stainless Teflon Pot at Garage Sale and the Teflon is peeling off. I read your comments using Lye to remove the Teflon coating. Anything else I can Use?

Akeem M.
- Santa Fe, New Mexico
November 1, 2011

Teflon griddle was in oven during self-clean cycle

"In the Mouth of the Dragon: Toxic Fires in the Age of Plastics"

on AbeBooks

or eBay or


(affil links)

Q. I did a very stupid thing and therefore have a related question re Teflon.

I put a stained Teflon coated griddle in the oven and set it to self-clean. When the oven cooled off the griddle was of course ruined -- but my real concern is that the enamel finish inside the oven is now covered with a fine material like light grey spray paint that I cannot remove. It appears that the Teflon evaporated during the self-cleaning and then condensed on the inside of the oven when it cooled.

Is the oven ruined or is it safe to use? Is there any way I can clean the Teflon residue off the enamel inside the oven?


Rick H [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Cornelia, Georgia, USA

Multiple threads were merged: please forgive repetition, chronology errors, or disrespect towards other postings [they weren't on the same page] :-)

Industrial removal of teflon from stainless steel

Q. I wish to remove Teflon from a fine brush finished stainless steel part. What temperature or blast method would be best. I hear that a by-product of burning could be CFC's or is this being alarmist?

Tony Clayton
- Sheffield, Yorkshire, England

A. Avoid burning off PTFE due to highly corrosive byproducts liberated at temperatures over 800 °F. Can damage oven internals and substrate.

Charles Fields
- Dover, New Jersey

A. Hello,

I could remove Teflon from aluminium by NMP (n-methyl-pyrrolidon). Rinsing 1-2 h and flush with water. Before using it, check MSDS. Good luck.


Zoltan Meszaros
- Bajna, Hungary
November 30, 2011

A. Hi. There is a mixing of home and industry in this thread :-(

N-methyl-pyrrolidon is an industrial chemical you shouldn't even dream of for home use; and burning off the teflon in a high temperature oven is also an industrial science, not a home project. If you want to do it yourself at home, sanding is the way to go, but new pots & pans often sounds better :-)


Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey
September 2014

! If you go to this website it tells step by step how to remove teflon coating:

mary talley
- avon park
September 11, 2014

Ed. note, Sept. 2016: That link now redirects to
Ed. note, July 2018: Now the newer link doesn't work either.
Ed. note, August 2021: The original link now redirects to an article on "How to Cook Eggs" on another site.

thumbs up signThanks Mary. In case that link also breaks, it tells us to scrub the teflon coating off with steel wool [on eBay or Amazon] and soapy water.

It also claims "Scientists have researched effects of cooking with Teflon ... Due to these negative findings, they recommend that you not use Teflon products ... Removing the Teflon from your cookware is essential to maintaining your health." Yes, there are probably scientists who say that (no matter what can be said, someone will say it, and they are welcome to their opinion), and many people are rightly concerned about "forever chemicals", but the implication that most scientists (as opposed to some) feel that removing Teflon is essential to maintaining your health is probably overstated.


Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

Q. I have a large electric pressure cooker made by Cook's Essentials. I believe it is a product of QVC (think, probably made in China, who knows what is in it). I used to love it until the coating began peeling off in large sections, like a bad sunburn. I have searched online, heard I can send it in for replacement. But, I am trying to get away from non-stick coatings.

I don't know what the metal is underneath, I assume it is aluminium. Can I just hand sand or Dremel off the non-stick coating and continue to use the pot for pressure cooking? I know about acids and aluminium reacting. Any special concern with combining aluminium, acidic foods (tomato or citrus based foods), and high pressure. Will more aluminium leach out into the food or should I have less worry since the food is cooked for shorter a period? Also, if I sand off the coating, I would plan to wear a mask. Any other suggestions for DIY non-stick removal? Thanks for the thread Q & A!

Genifer Michel
- DFW, Texas, USA
January 12, 2016

A. PTFE Coatings can be burned off to a certain extent. Takes about 800 - 1000 °F for a good while depending on the mass of the object you are removing it from. As mentioned previously, the fumes and particles that are produced from the burn-off are toxic, so make sure your oven is ventilated. Common practice for us is to burn off then blast, but generally we are re-coating afterwards.

Jeremy Rivera
- Chicago, Illinois, USA

! Why are all these answers so complicated? Is it because this unusually EASY METHOD Posted doesn't work?

Teflon-coated frying pan
Steel wool
Denatured alcohol
Plastic 5 gallon bucket
Liquid dish soap
Vegetable oil
Safety glasses
Rubber gloves

Scrub the Teflon-coated surface of the frying pan with steel wool. Use enough pressure to loosen the coating without scratching the metal underneath. Wipe the loose flakes of Teflon away with a clean rag.

Terry Jackson
- Punta Gorda, Charlotte County, Florida

A. Hi Terry. The steps you posted are taken from -- one of the three previously mentioned, but broken, 'instructions' sites. Have you actually tried it? -- because beyond simply telling you to scrub off the Teflon with steel wool, I doubt that it has much usefulness!

Please remember that the authors of those kinds of article usually are not widely versed in their subject -- rather, they work for sites that often are in the business of:

1. computerized scanning for widely used internet search terms,
2. paying people to write a brief article that will be found when people google those search terms, and
3. earning money from clicks on the ads on the page they wrote. But when a topic starts fading in popularity, they often just let those page die rather than maintaining them as we can see repeatedly above :-)

I understand this because I earn my living from ads on our pages too :-)
... but I like to hope that the lively public participation here, my 50-year career in metal finishing, being on line for over 25 years, and our relentless efforts to not let stuff break when the topics cool, makes us at least a tiny bit different :-)


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey
September 2016

Ed. note, July 2018: That page is no longer on line.

A. I found out how to remove it by accident. Left some high acid homemade tomato soup and forgot it a week in the refrigerator. Now I gotta do it again because it didn't get rid of all of it because it was only half full. Hopefully I can redo the recipe; it was crushed tomatoes in a can cooked down with water and lots of tomato is all I know because my husband made it.

Jayme J Jacobson
- Sparta, Wisconsin usa

Removing Teflon Coating from a Frying Pan

thumbs up sign I have a 14 inch Rachel Ray heavy duty aluminium skillet. I cook for a large family and almost need this size to cook with, and I love the pan. The Teflon coating on it has slowly been worn off and burnt off at high temps. IT looks HORRIBLE on the inside but the pan and handle are still in terrific condition. I really have appreciated reading all of your suggestions. I'm worried about putting it in super high heat because it can discolor the aluminum, and it has a silicone handle which takes high temps but probably not that high. So beings most of its gone already, I'm going to try to sand it off using a mouse sander...and then polishing it. Thanks to all. I'll update this when I'm done to give the results.

Teresa Abell
- Highland, California
January 4, 2018


July 24, 2018


thumbs up sign Hi Beverly. I never met anyone full of author before, and can't figure out the typo or auto-correct :-)

Luck & Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

"Exposure: Poisoned Water, Corporate Greed, and One Lawyer's Twenty-Year Battle Against DuPont"
by Robert Bilott

on AbeBooks

or Amazon

(affil links)

!! To everyone who is still reading this thread- google "firefighter sues Dupont" to see WHY we all need to STOP USING TEFLON. All Americans are included in this lawsuit.

Teflon NEVER was safe to use for cooking or any application that released it into the environment.

No matter which method you use to remove it it's going to be a hazard to you and everyone else. Sandblasting will release it as a toxic dust. Chemical removal will add more hazardous material to it making it an even worse problem.

There is no easy solution.

Which is more important- your $1,500 pans or your health?

brad creacey
retired firefighter - nashville, Tennessee, usa
October 19, 2018

Q. Hi Ted,
I enjoy your enlightening comments on the subject and need some advise regarding my extremely expensive Fissler frying pan. I removed the Teflon by abrasive means and polished it until the stainless steel bottom was shining.
Through that shining bottom I can still see, with a magnifier glass, microscopic dark spots which are not found on other parts of the pan.
My question: could it be eventually unsafe for health?
Thanks in advance,
Rodrigo (Portugal)

Rodrigo Marim
- Albufeira Portugal
March 1, 2019

A. Hi Rodrigo. Thanks for the kind words. I am just the curator of this website, not an epidemiologist nor an epicurean :-)

At high enough magnification all surfaces are rough, and I suspect that your polishing dug deep enough to level out most of the surface but not the very deepest pits. I suppose it might be possible to re-polish deeper to get to the black spots. Still, a general way of looking at things is: if you can't remove something when you're trying quite hard to remove it, the idea that it's spontaneously going to come off into your food by itself seems awfully unlikely.

I am not qualified to comment on the safety of Teflon, and feel that 'forever chemicals' are inherently dangerous to the environment. But in a world of risks everywhere, I continue to use mine. And if those black spots which you can only see with a magnifying glass are in fact Teflon rather than pits, and if it were in fact dangerous in any way, the remaining amount seems so minuscule that you're ten thousand times safer than the rest of us :-)
Be well.


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

thumbs up sign Hi Ted,
Thanks for your words.
I think you are right. The spots are probably the result of intensive use, being myself a retired chef. I think the inside structure changed the bottom and has nothing to do with Teflon because I polish it very accurately!
I will visit your site regularly in the future.
Greetings from sunny Algarve,

Rodrigo Marim
- Albufeira, Portugal

opinion! I would like to comment on the safety of Teflon, and the hysteria surrounding it. And I'm gonna be blunt.

Teflon, or PTFE, is SAFE SAFE SAFE. It (along with a few other related fluoropolymers) is FDA approved for use in medical applications, both implantable and peripheral.

I have a tank of 640 gallons of the stuff used for Type III hardcoat impregnation sitting outside my office and it's the safest thing in the shop. Yup, I had it tested in 2016 for residual PFAS content (full suite) just to get ahead of the inevitable customer questions re: safety, and it came out virtually clean, with a blip for PFOA just below the reportable detection limit of A FIFTH OF A PART PER BILLION. This is not much higher than the current allowable level for drinking water. Not that I'd drink the tank; it smells like cat piss and looks like spoilt milk, but the PFOA is not what I'd be concerned about in there lol.

Just because a 'firefighter sued DuPont' does not mean that PTFE, the chemical compound, as a finished product, has ANYTHING to do with this! That statement, without context, doesn't add to the discussion; rather, it adds to the hysteria. I'm going to try to sort it out:

There is an ENORMOUS difference between PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene) and PFOA (polyfluorooctanoic acid) and other chemicals in THAT family (generalized as 'PFAS'), used as surfactants in the chemical reactors that produce the final Teflon polymer. This chemical family also includes surfactants used in firefighting foam, and there are multiple lawsuits and drinking water contamination violations making the news (Westfield MA airfield is an example) caused by a PFA used in airport and gas station firefighting foam -- NOT FREAKING TEFLON.

Where Teflon IS related to drinking water contamination, it's not because it's necessarily being applied or molded or milled as a finished product- these are sites where the chemical reaction that produces it to begin with were or are located! Remember, PFOA is used in the chemical reaction that builds the PTFE molecule. It's not the end product. An example of this was indeed a DuPont factory in the 1980s. PFAS were found in the blood or urine (can't remember which) of some workers in the 1970s, and drinking water in the 1980s.

Another environmental source of these compounds is again due to their surfactant qualities- they are found in some electroplating additives as fume suppressants, and ironically, were pushed as a solution by the EPA itself, in an effort to reduce mists coming off of chromium containing baths. What we know now that we didn't know then, right?

The PFAS also are used- not as Teflon, but as their own not-so-sweet selves- in GoreTex and ScotchGuard, among other things. So if you're REALLY worried about PFAS, please DO NOT EAT your raincoat or stain resistant carpeting. This is a public service announcement.

Your FOOD GRADE Teflon pans are safe. The amount of residual PFOA from the reaction is undetectable. If you decide to sandblast the Teflon off your pan, it's not going to release a bunch of toxic dust. Wear a dust mask as if you were doing drywall. Though honestly, it's safer than inhaling plaster dust.

There are a lot of uninformed people out there, with just enough knowledge (or just information of dubious origin) to be exceedingly annoying, if not outright dangerous (see also: anti-vaxxers), and it makes me nuts!

As an environmental contaminant, there's no trivializing PFAS: They are persistent, highly mobile, and bioaccumulate in much the same way as PCBs. Look THERE for hazards. Not at that poor maligned skillet on your stove. As a cooking implement, nonstick pans will never hold a candle to a good crusty cast iron or raw non-stainless steel monstrosity that has never seen soap, and has been cleansed only in bacon grease and a handful of sand from the backyard. But I digress ...

Once you understand the life cycle of Teflon and its precursor chemicals, you'll see where they are TRULY hazardous- and where they are medical-implant safe!

Okay that's it for now, thank you for coming to my Ted Talk :)


Rachel Mackintosh
- Greenfield, Vermont
March 1, 2019


A. Hi Rachel. You being's current most helpful contributor, and on the all-time list of most helpful as well, I don't like to disagree with you.

But as we are continuing to learn every day, our proteins and genes and other small body parts react in strange ways to microscopic chemical shapes, whether they be opioids, Covid variations, cannabis smoke, fragrances, or just large molecules. "Protein folding" is apparently all about this. And it applies to all life forms, from plankton on up. Just because Teflon is not chemically reactive is no guarantee that it has no effect on life. I generally have no problem with society trying things where there is no obvious harm; if we learn to the contrary we can simply stop using it. But Teflon, being a 'forever' chemical, radically changes that equation. If we do discover that it is harmful there is nothing we can do about it; the more we've put into the environment, the worse. Luck & Regards,
pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

! In 2008 I had 8 little birds in a cage in a room 50 feet from my kitchen. One night we forgot a Teflon coated cast iron enamel frying pan on the stove on low heat. In the morning all 8 birds were dead. The vet declared they died of Teflon poisoning. The canary in the coal mine! At that point I junked all my Teflon cooking utensils. Lately I watched on Netflix a documentary called "The Devil we Know", and I am horrified that DuPont again is allowed to sell Teflon and the new nonstick GEN-X. Watch that video and judge for yourself.

R. Pacini
Retired - Golden Colorado, USA
March 28, 2019

A. Hi R. Sorry to hear about your birds. Indeed I've heard several times before that parrots and parakeets and maybe other household birds are especially vulnerable to teflon fumes. Overheated, gassified, teflon might be dangerous to people too; I don't know. But I think I agree that 'forever chemicals' should be minimized.

opinion!The video you suggest may or may not prove that teflon is dangerous ... but it certainly proves that, shamefully, Dupont achieved corporate capture of the EPA.

And that corporate capture of our regulatory agencies continues. Verizon's lead attorney was chosen to chair the FCC, and Dupont's lead attorney, W. Michael McCabe, went on to serve as Deputy Administrator of the EPA in 2000. Incredibly, even after all these years of scandal, he was appointed by President Biden as his "special advisor on EPA issues". Again, I don't know for sure whether teflon is dangerous, but our corrupt government constantly appoints the fox to guard the hen house so we will probably never know -- and these things are absolutely typical, not exceptions :-(

Luck & Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

A. People here suggest sanding or sandblasting the teflon coating from a pan to make it still usable.
Some suggest lye, but don't do that, lye is very caustic, nasty stuff.
Q. Has anyone here tried a drill mounted small wire wheel or wire cup (image search term "multimax sander") or a drill sander (search term "drill mounted sandpaper disc")?

Stan Sag [returning]
- West Hills, California

A. Be careful using lye. Aluminum reacts with it. When I was making anodized aluminum jewelry, I used it to remove the surface so that the piece could be selectively oxidized in the anodizing process.

Christopher Weaver
Amateur - Huntsville, Alabama

Q. Speaking of using heat to remove teflon coating from baking dish... What do you think about putting it into the oven while it is running for cleaning the oven and it gets to a very high temp? Would that work? It's a cast iron dish with a glaze over it, and then with a teflon coating over that. It has started peeling and I want to take the rest off. It was expensive and I'd like to keep using it. I'm opting for the Dremel [on eBay or Amazon] and a sanding if not.

Petra Unk
- Texas
February 1, 2022

thumbs down sign Petra, I would strongly advise against doing this in your house. The fumes from the Teflon can make you very sick. Also, depending on the kind of teflon, even on the self cleaning cycle may not be hot enough to burn the coating off. We don't apply food grade teflon in our shop, but the kind we do apply cures at > 700 °F.

Marc Green
Marc Green
anodizer - Boise, Idaho

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