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After purchasing a PTFE nonstick pan, I noticed something in the Use & Care Instructions with the product for first use:

Before using your cookware for the first time, hand-wash with warm, soapy water and dry thoroughly. Then season by lightly rubbing cooking oil onto the cooking surface and heating the cookware over medium heat for two to three minutes. When cool, hand-wash in warm, soapy water and rinse.

This seasoning process is of particular note since the IMPORTANT section restates (caps quoted):

SEASON YOUR COOKWARE BEFORE ITS FIRST USE

For the nonstick usefulness of the PTFE coating, it's obvious that the goal is not develop a coating of oils as is standard practice with cast iron. The instructions make no reference to repeatedly applying oil as part of caring for the cookware. What functional use would this single-cycle of oil provide? Removing surface contaminants? Surely regularly frying in the pan would provide enough exposure to oil that would then be washed off.

Non-duplicate note for Should I season a Teflon-coated stainless steel frying pan: this question is not about trying to season the PTFE pan, but why applying oil is advised as a not-really-seasoning first task. Defeating the non-stick coating by making something stick is not the desired goal.

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What functional use would this single-cycle of oil provide?

I'll be reckless enough to say: none at all. There is no reason to do it.

Stuff gets printed on labels for all kinds of reasons. My best guess is that they either reused the booklet from a pan type which needs seasoning, or a package designer who did not know enough about PTFE pans wrote down what he believed to be true of all pans, and no technical person checked it. Besides this, there is a number of other explanations why information can end up being wrong, including information provided by the manufacturer about their own product.

Trying to season a nonstick pan is actually harmful, as even a good coating will be worse than a nonstick. If you follow the halfhearted instructions given here, you are likely to end up with a bad beginning of a patchy coating, which is quite a pain. So, you would be risking your brand new pan for no reason.

Disregard, and do not season the pan.

  • I'll take your recklessness and give it an upvote, to start. – user2943160 Sep 13 '16 at 11:57
  • Update: the card is definitely product-specific, including both the product number and an image of the pan. – user2943160 Sep 14 '16 at 2:02
  • after three minutes over medium heat, will the oil begin to polymerize? – Agos Sep 15 '16 at 9:11
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I suspect it is more of a cleaning step -- removing stuff that would otherwise come off in your food. In particular some labels actually stick quite well to PTFE; the glue on these is softened by oil, especially warm oil. This would remove any residual glue. I think this behaviour is from latex-based glues.

You're right that you don't want a coating of polymerised oil on your PTFE.

  • This is a little speculative, but it felt too much like an answer to be a comment. – Chris H Sep 13 '16 at 8:17
  • This pan thankfully didn't come with a pan-sized sticker in the bottom. There didn't appear to be any residues and I'd expect that soap, warm water, and non-abrasive scrubbing would be the better approach. – user2943160 Sep 13 '16 at 11:56
  • Fair enough, but as @rumtscho says in the other answer, text gets reused. Even the same pan may be sold in different packaging under a different brand – Chris H Sep 13 '16 at 12:03

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