How to Care for Pyrex, Vintage and New, So It Lasts a Lifetime

When I was a little kid, I remember baking cookies with my mom in our small but well-lit kitchen. She would reach into the bottom cabinet and pull out these brightly-colored nesting bowls that seemed to shine as she sorted through them to choose the most appropriate size. The wet ingredients were placed into one color, while the dry ones went into another. Over time, she let me handle the bowls and after a while, she even let me use the hand mixer.

When I went off to college, I bought myself a set of cheap, plastic nested bowls and tried to make mom’s cookies. Sadly, they just weren’t the same as when we mixed them by hand in those vintage Pyrex bowls. That realization prompted me to start my own Pyrex collection and I’ve accumulated the perfect amount of decorative Corning glass bakeware. Now that I have so much of it, I was wondering how to care for Pyrex bowls and glass bakeware so they last forever.

I didn’t want to be so worried about using the vintage pieces that I avoided using them, leaving them to dust on the shelf!  The tips below are the ways I’ve found that best keep your Pyrex looking pristine while also preserving those bright colors and beautiful patterns.

1. Do use non-abrasive sponges.

Pyrex glassware may be super durable, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not susceptible to scratches and chips. Don’t use abrasive sponges, and certainly don’t use steel wool on your Pyrex pieces. A cellulose sponge or a wet cloth is all you need to clean your glassware.

Some people swear by the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, but we disagree. We’ve found that it’s a bad idea to use these products on any colored or patterned vintage Pyrex. It works well at first, but over time, it will literally erase the color!

2. Do clean with warm, soapy water.

Wondering how to care for Pyrex isn’t limited to keeping it safe – you have to keep it clean, first! Warm, soapy water is all you need on most Pyrex pieces to get them sparkling clean.

Don’t use any cleaners that have harsh chemicals, as this can damage the finish on your Pyrex. If your casserole dishes have really tough bits of food baked on, you can use Bar Keeper’s Friend.

3. Do avoid sudden temperature changes.

Pyrex glass is designed to handle hot oven temperatures, but it’s not well tempered enough to handle sudden temperature changes. Trying to clean it when it’s hot could cause the glass to shatter upon contact with cold water, sending broken glass everywhere. It’s also a good idea to let the Pyrex cool slightly before placing it in a cold refrigerator.

4. Do handle Pyrex carefully.

As we said earlier, Pyrex is made from some pretty tough glass but it can crack or chip. Once it becomes chipped or severely scratched, it could be dangerous to use the cookware, so try to prevent that from happening by handling and storing your Pyrex carefully.

The handles are especially fragile, so be really careful when you handle your precious patterned or colored vintage pieces. Be especially careful when storing items with the lid on, as that lid may move more easily than the piece itself.

5. Don’t use Pyrex with an open flame (and that includes the broiler).

We love cooking food on the stovetop or underneath the broiler, but never in our Pyrex. I’m not just talking about vintage cookware, either. This includes a brand new casserole dish you picked up at the outlet store!

The glass that Corning uses works really well when placed in a preheated oven or a microwave, but it’s not rated to handle direct contact with an open flame. Since the broiler is just a grill in reverse, this advice includes the broiler.

6. Don’t put your vintage Pyrex in the dishwasher.

Most Pyrex pieces are rated as dishwasher safe, but we don’t recommend it. Most dishwashers use high-temperature water to wash your dishes, and dishwasher soap can be full of chemicals. You might feel okay about this if it’s a new Pyrex piece, but if it’s a hand-me-down or a family heirloom, steer clear and wash by hand. This will keep your colors looking bright and avoid any scratches.

7. Don’t stack wet Pyrex.

Stacking your nesting bowls is kind of the point of those types of bowls – they save space! It’s also great that most Pyrex casserole pieces will nestle into each other, making them super easy to store. So we’re not saying not to stack Pyrex, but we are cautioning against stacking it when its wet.

They can get stuck together once they dry, which could cause you to break something trying to pull them apart. Make sure they’re fully dry before stacking, and only stack items that can obviously fit within each other.

Watch: These Vintage Pyrex Pieces Are Worth a Fortune