How to Clean Cast Iron Cooking Equipment

How to Clean Cast Iron Cooking Equipment How to Clean Cast Iron Cooking Equipment

When stocking your kitchen with new pots and pans, knowing what to choose can get a little confusing.

There are so many different materials, sizes, and shapes to choose from.

Pots and pans can even range between $30 and $2,000 depending on what you need.

Before checking out with your new kitchenware, make sure to grab a cast iron skillet.

Unfortunately, many great home cooks feel scared off after hearing all the dos and don’ts for cleaning cast iron.

For starters, you shouldn’t put it in the dishwasher.

Don’t stress!

Instead, read our guide for how to clean a cast iron skillet.

With this guide, you’ll learn the proper do’s and don’ts for a clean, well-seasoned skillet that gets better with age.

Keep reading to learn how to clean cast iron!

How to Clean Your Cast Iron Frying Pan

Learning how to clean cast iron properly isn’t complicated.

Remember, you shouldn’t stick your cast iron frying pan in the dishwasher.

Instead, cleaning and seasoning your pan by hand will create a rust-resistant, nonstick surface.

When cared for properly, your cast iron skillet won’t deteriorate over time.

First, know that it’s okay to use mild dish soap, but only a little.

Make sure to have a cast iron plan cleaning brush or scouring pad at the ready. Then, wash, scrub, rinse and dry your pan.

A sturdy scrub brush will make cleaning your cast iron skillet a lot easier.

The brush will help remove stuck-on food more effectively as well.

If you have a lot of clinging, burnt food particles on the pan, you’ll need to take a different approach.

First, soap and scrub your pan. Instead of soaking your pan in water, add hot water within the pan.

Leaving your pan to soak in water could cause it to rust.

Then, place the cast iron skillet on the stove with the burner turned on.

As the water starts to simmer, use a wooden spatula to scrape the food remnants off. You can also apply a paste of coarse kosher salt before cleaning it off with water.

Then, rinse or wipe with a paper towel.

As you learn how to clean cast iron, you’ll realize it’s a lot easier to clean immediately after use.

Try cleaning your pan while it’s still warm.

cast iron skillet

How to Properly Dry Your Pan

Once your pan is clean and rinsed, you’ll want to make sure that rust doesn’t form.

Turn your burner to high heat and place the pan on it.

Then, let any remaining water burn away. This will parch your pan and ensure it’s properly dried.

Next, dry your pan promptly using a lint-free cloth or paper towel.

You might notice a little black residue come off of that towel. That’s the seasoning, which is completely normal.

Finally, store the pan with a paper towel placed against the cooking surface.

proper dry frying pan

Seasoning Your Pan

Before you put your pan away, you’ll want to season it first. Seasoning allows oil to bond to the pan.

First, heat your clean cast iron skillet on the stove. Make sure it’s very hot.

Then, pour a little canola or flaxseed oil on a wad of paper towel.

Rub the paper towel over the pan, careful not to touch the pan with an unprotected hand.

If needed, you can wear gloves or use prongs to hold the paper towel during this step.

Make sure to wipe the surface of the iron skillet with a clean paper towel. This will remove any excess oil.

Make sure there isn’t a thick layer of oil lingering on the pan, either.

Otherwise, you could end up with a sticky, gummy mess clinging to the surface of the pan.

Give your pan time to cool.

season frying pan

Taking Care Of Your Pan

Using steel wool or too much soap can cause you to strip down your pan.

If this occurs, you want to repeat these steps a few times. Repeat the process until your pan looks shiny and smooth.

However, you don’t want to slather your pan with oil to speed the process up.

This could also cause you to develop a gummy-looking pan. Instead, try to schedule routine maintenance for your pan.

One round of seasoning each time should keep your pan clean.

If your pan appears rusty, you’ll need to repeat heating, oiling, and cooling your pan.

Try re-seasoning the pan two or three more times before you use it again.

taking care of frying pan

Cleaning a Rusty Cast Iron Pan

If you find an antique cast iron skillet, that’s great.

In fact, you’re better off searching for vintage pots and pans from the 19th or 20th centuries.

However, you might notice a lot of rust on the skillet.

That’s okay!

When someone neglects to learn how to clean cast iron properly, the pan can start to rust.

Don’t toss it right away! Instead, remember there’s an almost indestructible pan beneath that layer of rust.

You just need to give your pan a little elbow grease to get it clean again.

Once it’s clean, you can get back to cast iron grilling and cooking up your favorite dishes.

When learning how to clean a cast iron pan that’s rusted, you’ll need:

  • A scrubby-sponge
  • Soap
  • Fine steel wool

First, scrub the pan using the soap and sponge.

You should start to see a little of the rust fade right off the bat.

For the more stubborn rusted spots, use the fine steel wool.

If these steps don’t work, try placing the cookware in the oven upside down on the top rack.

Then, place a large baking sheet or aluminum foil on the bottom rack. This will catch any excess oil that drips off the cookware.

Bake at 450°F for about an hour. Then, allow the skillet to cool.

Repeat as necessary to achieve the black patina that’s ideal for your pan.

Once you’ve removed the rust, use the steps above for cleaning and seasoning the skillet.

You might have to repeat the process a few times before you start seeing your pan shine.

Remember: clean it, dry it on a hot stove, oil it, and let it cool.

Repeating these steps will make even an old, rusty skillet easier to clean in time.

Re-seasoning your cast iron as needed will also make it more non-stick. Then, it will become less prone to rusting as a result!

rusty cast iron pan

Keep It Clean: How to Clean Cast Iron Properly

Keep your cast iron skillet clean and shiny.

Now that you know how to clean cast iron properly, you can make sure rust never ruins another cooking session again!

Ready to put your now-clean skillet to good use? Explore the Recipes section of the blog for delicious ideas today!