Cast iron skillets are a great addition to any kitchen. Not only are good cast iron pans durable and long-lasting, but they also give your food a delicious flavor that other pans can't replicate.
However, in order to maintain the quality of your skillet and keep it in good condition for years to come, you need to clean it properly after each use.
In this step-by-step guide, we will teach you how to clean a cast-iron skillet so that it looks and cooks like new!
How to Clean a Cast Iron Pans
Step One: Wash your pan.
It's best to clean a cast iron skillet while it's still warm, just a few minutes after cooking. Make sure it's not so hot that you'll burn yourself. You can wear gloves to protect your hands.
Don't leave it to soak! Get cleaning right away. Soaking it will only make the food harder to remove and can cause rust.
Start by washing the pan with hot water and a stiff brush. Be sure to remove any food residue from the surface of the pan. If absolutely necessary, you can add a small amount of soap.
Don't use steel wool. Instead, opt for a non-abrasive sponge or brush.
Step Two: Scrub the food bits.
Once you've removed all of the food and grease from the surface of the pan, it's time to scrub away any bits that are stuck.
You can do this with a stiff brush, a non-abrasive sponge, or even salt.
If you're using salt, wet the pan first and then pour a layer of salt over the surface. Use a paper towel or cloth to scrub the salt around in a circular motion.
You should see the food bits start to come loose. Once they're gone, rinse the pan with hot water.
Step Three: Dry your pan.
It's important that you dry your cast iron skillet immediately after cleaning it. If you don't, it could rust. Water and cast iron don't mix well together, so dry it thoroughly.
The best way to dry your pan is to use a towel to remove the majority of the water, then heat it on the stove over low heat for a few minutes. This will help evaporate any water that's left on the surface of the pan.
Once it's dry, you can add a thin layer of oil to help protect the skillet and keep it from rusting.
Step Four: Oil the Skillet.
Oiling the skillet will help keep it from rusting. It's best to use vegetable oil or shortening for this.
Apply a thin layer of oil to the surface of the pan with a clean paper towel or cloth, making sure to cover the entire cooking surface.
Once you've applied the oil, remove any excess with a paper towel until there's no more oil residue.
How to Restore a Rusty Cast Iron Pan (2 Methods)
If your skillet has started to rust, don't panic! It's not the end of the world.
Restoring a rusty cast iron pan is actually quite easy. All you need is some elbow grease and a few common household ingredients.
Method One: Salt and Oil
This is the easiest and quickest way to remove rust from a cast iron skillet.
All you need is some coarse salt and vegetable oil.
Start by sprinkling a generous amount of salt over the surface of the pan. Then, use a paper towel or cloth to rub the salt into the rust.
Once the rust has been loosened, add a few drops of oil and continue rubbing. The oil will help lubricate the salt so that it can work its way into all of the nooks and crannies.
Once you've removed all of the rust, wash and dry your pan as usual. We recommend re-seasoning your pan after this.
Method Two: Vinegar and Water
If you don't have any salt on hand or if the salt method didn't work, don't worry! You can also use vinegar and water.
Start by mixing equal parts vinegar and water in a bowl. Then, pour the mixture into your skillet and let it sit for a few hours.
After a few hours, scrub the rust away with a stiff brush or sponge. Once you've removed all of the rust, wash and dry your pan as usual. Afterward, re-season the skillet.
Caring for Your Cast Iron Skillet
Now that you know how to clean and restore a cast iron skillet, it's time to learn how to care for it so that it will last for years to come!
Here are a few tips:
Always wash your skillet with hot water and a stiff brush. If you must, you can use a small amount of soap.
Never use steel wool or any other abrasive material to clean your skillet. This will damage the seasoning and make the pan more susceptible to rusting.
Be sure to dry your skillet thoroughly after cleaning it. Water is the enemy of cast iron!
After each use, apply a thin layer of oil to the surface of the pan. This will help keep it from rusting and maintain the seasoning
Store your skillet in a cool, dry place. A cabinet or pantry is ideal.
With proper care, your cast iron skillet will last for many years to come!
Cast Iron Cleaning: FAQ
What is the easiest way to clean cast iron?
The easiest way to clean cast iron is with hot water and a stiff brush. If you must, you can use a small amount of soap.
Can I use steel wool to clean my cast iron skillet?
No! Steel wool or any other abrasive material will damage the seasoning on your skillet and make it more susceptible to rusting.
Is it okay to use dish soap on my cast iron skillet?
Yes, but only if absolutely necessary. Dish soap can strip the seasoning from your skillet, so it's best to avoid using it if possible.
How do I prevent my cast iron skillet from rusting?
The best way to prevent rust is to keep your pan dry and well-seasoned. After each use, apply a thin layer of oil to the surface of the pan.
How do you clean a cast iron skillet without destroying it?
If your pan is only lightly soiled, you can simply rinse it with hot water and a stiff brush. For more stubborn dirt and debris, you can use a cast iron cleaner or a mixture of salt and water.
What are some common mistakes people make when cleaning cast iron?
One of the most common mistakes is using too much soap. As mentioned above, dish soap can strip the seasoning from your pan. Another mistake is scrubbing too hard with a stiff brush. This can also damage the seasoning.
How do you get sticky grease off cast iron?
There are a few different methods you can use. One is to heat up the pan on the stovetop until the grease is melted. Then, use a paper towel to wipe it away.
Another method is to sprinkle baking soda on the pan, then scrub with a sponge or brush.
You can also use a commercial degreaser.
Can you ruin a cast iron pan?
Yes, you can ruin a cast iron pan if you don't take care of it properly. One way to ruin it is by using too much soap or scrubbing too hard, as mentioned above. This will strip the seasoning from the pan and make it more likely to rust.
Can I use a scrub pad on cast iron?
Yes, you can use a scrub pad on cast iron. However, be sure to use a non-abrasive one so you don't damage the seasoning.
Can you use a Brillo pad on cast iron?
No, you should not use a Brillo pad on cast iron. This is because it is too abrasive and will damage the seasoning.
How do you refresh a cast iron skillet?
If your pan is starting to look dull or feel sticky, it's time to give it a refresh. The first step is to wash it with hot water and a little dish soap. Be sure to rinse it well and dry it completely.
Next, heat the pan on the stovetop until it's hot. Then, add a thin layer of oil and use a paper towel to rub it in.
How often do you season a cast iron pan?
It's generally best to season your pan every few months, or whenever it starts to look dull or become sticky.
What should you not cook in a cast iron pan?
There are a few things you should avoid cooking in a cast iron pan, such as acidic foods and dishes with a lot of moisture. These can damage the seasoning and cause the pan to rust.
Can you put water on a cast iron pan?
Yes, you can put water on a cast iron pan. However, be sure to dry it completely afterward to avoid rusting.
Can you clean cast iron with soap water?
Yes, you can clean cast iron with a bit of soapy water when needed. However, be sure to use mild dish soap and rinse the pan well afterward to avoid damaging the seasoning.
Can you use a metal scrubber on cast iron?
No, you should not use a metal scrubber on cast iron. This is because it can damage the seasoning. Instead, you should use a nylon or plastic scrubber.
Should you wash cast iron after every use?
Yes, you should wash cast iron after every use. This will help to prevent rusting. For regular washes, you can use hot water alone.
What is the best way to dry cast iron?
The best way to dry cast iron is to dry it with a paper towel. You should then place it on the stove over low heat for about a minute.
What is the best way to store cast iron?
The best way to store cast iron is to place it in a cool, dry place. You should also make sure that it is well-seasoned before storing it.
Can you use Dawn dish soap on cast iron?
Yes, you can use Dawn dish soap on cast iron. This is because it is a mild soap that will not damage the seasoning. Just be sure to rinse it well afterward.
Can you put cast iron in the oven?
Yes, you can put cast iron in the oven. This is a great way to season it or to cook food. Just be sure to preheat the oven first.
Can you use butter in cast iron?
Yes, you can use butter in cast iron. This is a great way to add flavor to your food. Just be sure to use a small amount so that it doesn't burn.
What is the best cooking oil for a cast iron skillet?
The best cooking oil for a cast iron skillet is one that has a high smoke point. This includes oils such as vegetable oil, canola oil, and peanut oil.
As you can see, there are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to cleaning and caring for your cast-iron skillet. By following these simple tips, you can keep your skillet in good condition for years to come.