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What’s the best way to clean a cast-iron skillet

(© Steve Cukrov –

Cast-iron skillets are trending for their practically indestructible designs and easy-to-use take on gourmet cookware. Like anything with value, you want to place enough care and consideration into managing the upkeep of your cast-iron cookware. Here we discuss the most effective ways to care for your cast-iron skillets properly.

Seasoning makes all the difference

The first thing to consider is the difference between cast-iron cookware and standard stainless-steel pans. Seasoning defines this difference in its age-old methods of adding protective agents from fats and oils that allow your cookware to remain non-stick. In the olden days, cast-iron skillets were seasoned by adding fat and baking it onto the skillet at very high temperatures. Today, people still grease their skillets and cook them in the oven to carry out the seasoning process. Many brands help the seasoning process by coating their pans in soybean oil, but maintaining the non-stick surface requires additional upkeep for non-stick properties to stick around. Lodge, a major cast-iron supplier, recommends that cast iron skillets can be washed by hand with a minimal amount of soap. Use a scraper to lift off remaining food particles.

How to clean a cast-iron skillet

The three steps to clean cast iron skillet:

1). Wash your skillet by hand with minimal soap.

2). Dry the skillet right away using cloth or paper towels

3). Use a light layer of cooking oil to season the surface. Then, use a paper towel to wipe down the body and remove oil residue.

Rules to remember

1). You never put a cast-iron pan in the dishwasher, or you risk breakage and remove the smoothening properties that allow the skillet to remain non-stick. Use your scrubbers vigorously as the pan is made to handle heavy-duty cleaning. Repeat this process as many times as needed until all food debris is gone.

2). If you aren’t down with following all of these steps, it’s not the biggest deal in the world. Cast-irons are durable and can be washed however you prefer as long as they are dried promptly. Some people like to scrape off debris before oiling down the pan, while others consider oiling to be part of the cleaning process. It comes down to your preferences and how sanitary you feel your pans need to stay for reuse.

3). However you choose to approach cleaning, it’s agreed that using non-abrasive scraping is ideal. In contrast, avoid steel wool scrubs at all costs. Lodge sells many tools that are great for cleaning, including a scrubber brush with bristles and a scraper.

The bottom line

There are different ways to clean cast-iron cookware, but the biggest thing to remember is to let it dry completely and to speed up that drying process using paper towels or a lint-free cloth. Leaving the cookware wet for too long can promote rust and destroy the non-stick properties that make the pans effective. Follow these tips and keep your cast-iron cookware good as new.

augusta free press
augusta free press