How To Clean a Cast Iron Pan?

How to Clean Cast Iron Pan?

You cannot get any closer to perfect cooking equipment than cast iron. Using one regularly can increase your iron intake, as they’re cheap, last forever, and sear steak like a dream. Are you able to cook that with your cheap non-stick skillet? That’s not the case, I thought.

It may be that you’re hesitant to purchase one, however, since you’ve heard they’re a little complicated to clean. Although you cannot wash them with soap or put them in the dishwasher, you can put them in the fridge. As soon as you learn how to clean a cast iron pan, you will use it constantly. It is important to trust me.

Step-by-Step: How to Clean a Cast Iron Pan

Clean Cast Iron Pan Soak

Despite being able to handle heavy-duty cooking, cast-iron pans can create a messy mess when they’re done cooking. But worry not, your pan can tolerate whatever method you use to clean it. Listed below are step-by-step instructions.

  • When the pan is still hot, you should clean it. While it might be tempting to leave your cast iron pan sitting while you enjoy your freshly prepared meal, you can save yourself a great deal of time by caring for it right away. The reason for this is that dried-on food hardens as it cools.
  • Make sure the pan is clean by rinsing it with hot water without soap. You can loosen stuck food by running hot water over it. Using your cast-iron scrubber, scrub the pan vigorously. When it comes to whether soap can be used, there is conflicting information.
  • Soap is considered to strip a pan’s seasoning. It has been claimed in some articles that your pan can be cleaned with a tiny bit of soap. In our tests, we found that soap does indeed remove a small amount of cast iron, even when it’s just a little bit. Don’t get involved.
  • Using a dry towel and salt will help eliminate stuck-on messes. With salt abrasiveness, the food is lifted away, and by rubbing it with a large surface area towel, more elbow grease is exerted. When no water is boiling in the pan, you can try boiling some water to help the food come off.

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Cast Iron Seasoning

Clean Cast Iron Pan Season

The surface is now clean and dry, but you need to season it. When the scientists start talking about long-chain polymers, I start looking out the window and just want some lunch. Seasoning is basically oil bonding with iron (there’s more to it than that). You can avoid a class on metallurgy simply by following these steps: Set your cast iron pan on the stove until it’s really hot.

The pan should be rubbed with a little canola or flaxseed oil after you pour it on a wad of paper towel. Hands shouldn’t be touched by unprotected hot surfaces. Once the surface is clean, wipe away extra oil with a clean paper towel. Your pan should not be covered with a thick layer of oil, otherwise, it will end up sticky and gummy. Wait until the pan has cooled.

Cast-Iron Pan Drying

Ensure that you dry your pan thoroughly with paper towels so that it does not rust. During the final step of drying, place it on the stove and gently heat the water until all of it evaporates. Once the interior has been cleaned, wipe it with an oiled paper towel. There is no better oil than neutral oils such as vegetables, canola, or grapeseed.

Clean Cast Iron Pan Brush

Keeping it safe

There is a lot of weight and awkwardness involved in storing cast iron. Honestly, sometimes my cast iron pans live just on the stovetop at my house. When storing them, hang them with an appropriate heavy-gauge hook or stack them with a piece of paper towel between each pan if you are going to hang them. It is very unlikely that you will mess up your seasoning using either of these methods. Take care not to ruin the seasoning!!

How to Clean a Cast Iron Pan With Salt

It’s better to use coarse salt for seasoning your pan than dish soap, and it can help keep it clean. Cast iron can be cleaned with salt to preserve its patina and reduce the need to season it frequently. Choosing the right method ultimately depends on the user’s preference. To build up a non-stick coating, I prefer cleaning with salt rather than soap and water.

  • The pan should be emptied, and any drippings or leftover food should be discarded.
  • Put kosher salt on the pan, coating it completely. Compared to table salt, kosher salt has a coarser texture, which is more effective when used for cleaning.
  • Scrape any burnt-on bits or stuck-on food off the surface with a wooden spoon or spatula. Performing this procedure on the stovetop will prevent the countertop from being scratched.
  • Continuing to scrape can help you remove hard-to-remove bits by allowing the salt to heat up.
  • Don’t toss the salt into the trash until it has cooled completely. The pan should be cleaned with a cleaning cloth or paper towel.

Getting stuck with food

Okay, so sometimes you need something more than soap alone to clean the inside of the pan when the food gets stuck. It won’t matter if that happens. In order to clean the pan without scratching the whole surface, there are two easy ways.

Option One

Use red wine to deglaze your cast-iron cookware. There’s nothing complicated about it. Put a thin layer of red wine (an inexpensive bottle, do not drink the good stuff) in the pan until the stubborn, stuck food is covered.

Bring the wine to a light boil in the pan over the stove. Use a pan scraper to remove the stuck food pieces gently after allowing it to boil a few minutes for softening.

Cast iron can be damaged by prolonged boiling due to the acidity of the wine when used for removing food remnants. Keep the water boiling for no longer than 5-6 minutes. The second option will be employed if the food still won’t come off after that point. 

Second Option

Make yourself salty. Salt is one of my favorite methods for removing food residue. The cast iron will actually need to be dried off during this process. Once that’s done, add a half cup of coarse salt to the pan. Scrub away those food particles with a dish towel or some paper towels.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is my cast iron pan sticky and gummy?

It is not a good idea to use too much oil when you season cast iron, as it will make it sticky. The pan needs to be cleaned with soap and hot water to remove any remaining oil, then reseasoned with just a thin, thin, thin coat of oil.

How long can I soak my cast iron pan?

That’s not right! The rust on cast iron can be caused by soaking it in water. Using a nylon scrubbing brush or pan scraper, remove sticky or stubborn food by rinsing the surface under warm water. After you have dried your pan, be sure to wash it again.

You shouldn’t panic if your pan develops rust as a result of accidentally leaving it in water for too long! By removing the rust and taking extra care, you can continue to use your cast iron cookware.

Is cast iron supposed to be cleaned after every use?

Sadly, no. The only time that we clean our cast iron pan is at the end of the month at most, but it is a somewhat personal preference. It’s a staple in our kitchen, and we cook with it a few times a week at least.

Whenever there are a few bits of cooked food left on the pan between, as long as they are not excessive, it actually enhances the flavor and texture of our meals.

Stir fries are mostly made in our pan, with shrimp, chicken, vegetables, rice, and the kind of seasonings and sauces you might expect. Before and/or after cooking something that has a very different flavor profile, we’d probably wash the skillet well.

Is it possible to clean a heavily rusted cast iron skillet?

The cast iron skillets I use don’t rust very often due to the lack of time they have to do so. Cooking is something we do quite a bit over here, if it wasn’t already obvious. There are, however, rusty cast iron pans that exist, particularly if they do not get regular use.

I’d like to discuss how you can save your rusty old skillet if you own one! To get started, follow these steps:

The first thing to do is to scrub the pan with a wire brush, metal scouring pads, or steel wool to remove all the rust. Soap is okay for this purpose, since you will be re-seasoning the pan after cleaning it.

Is it possible to ruin a cast iron pan?

However, they will only break if they are severely scratched or broken. Assuming they have been washed with soap, a simple cleaning (and re-seasoning if necessary) will suffice.

With heavy use, it should last you for many years as long as it’s not broken (which is hard to do). Cast iron pans are great for cooking because they are economical and safe.

Hi, I'm Emma Gold and I am the Blog Editor at My blog is all about kitchen accessories and utensils that you need to make your cooking life easier! If you're looking for a new knife or spatula, or want to upgrade your pots and pans; then come visit me at my blog to see what's hot in the kitchen world today!