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How to Clean Cast Iron

Look below at some helpful tips on how to clean a cast-iron skillet, and see what you need to do in order to keep your skillet working (and tasting!) it’s very best. Cast iron skillets have been used for literally hundreds of years to cook food to perfection. They offer flavor and durability that other pans just can’t seem to match, but with these benefits comes special care in order to keep the cast iron performing its best. When you are finished cooking with your cast iron skillet, you can’t just toss it in the dishwasher. Instead, specific care must be paid.

How to Clean a Cast Iron Skillet

The process isn’t difficult, but it should be something you pay attention to as you clean and season your pan. Making sure it is in good condition will help save you frustration down the road, and ultimately gives you a skillet that will last for many generations.

Supplies Needed to Clean a Cast Iron Skillet

  • paper towels
  • kosher salt
  • non-abrasive scrub pad
  • warm water
  • vegetable oil

As you can see, these are quite your run of the mill cleaning products. You can find cast iron skillet specific cleaning brushes and products on Amazon, but the supplies listed above will give you the same results. Because people have been caring and cleaning cast iron skillets for a hundred years, there is no reason to buy this new age, fancy products. The items listed above will work just as well for a fraction of the price.

Never Use These Items on Cast Iron

  • dish soap or detergent
  • steel wool pads
  • abrasive scrubbers or sponges
  • the dishwasher

These items can cause damage to your cast iron pan and render it useless. No matter how tempted you are or how much of a hurry you are in to clean your cast iron, avoid these items at all costs.

ProTip: You should never soak your cast iron pan. Soaking your pan in water can cause rust. Rust can be removed from your skillet, but not without a great deal of work. Instead, avoid soaking as a preventative so rust is something you never have to deal with.

How to Clean Your Cast Iron Skillet:

Clean Cast Iron While it is Still Warm

This will help the grease and grime come off easily. Take the pan while it is still warm (but not hot!) and gently buff away the grease and food with a soft and damp cloth. If the pan is too warm and you are ready to clean it now, simply use an oven mitt to hold it while you clean it.

Use Warm Water to Rinse the Inside of the Pan

For stuck-on food and grease, make a paste out of kosher salt and warm water. Apply the paste and gently rub it into stubborn and stuck-on debris. Rinse clean. Repeat as needed. For extra stubborn debris, add some water to the skillet and bring it to a boil. The heat and hot water should help loosen things up and make it easier to buff away.

Dry Cast Iron Thoroughly

You can use a paper towel to dry the skillet. Make sure no water or moisture remains as this can lead to rust. You can also place the skillet on low heat in order to dry the water and make sure all moisture is pulled out.

Coat With Vegetable Oil to Season the Pan

Apply a thin coat to the inside as well as the outside of the pan. You just want a thin coat, do not allow the oil to drip.

Properly Store the Cast Iron Pan

Do not stack it along with other pots and pans. Instead, make sure it rests in a dry place. You can cover it with a towel if you wish to prevent dust from settling into it.

As you can see, in just 5 steps you can clean and protect your cast iron skillet so it is ready for future use. Give these tips on how to clean a cast-iron skillet a try and see how simple it can be to help your skillet last for decades!

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