Avoid Common Mistakes in Cleaning a Cast Iron Pan

Cast iron pans are a favourite tool of many chefs and home cooks.  It has great heat retention and a natural non-stick surface.

Cast iron pans are also cost-effective (you can get one for under $50) and they can last for generations.  It’s easy to see why it’s a practical choice for any kitchen.

However, like anything, the quality of your pan will depend on how you treat it, how you clean it, and how you maintain it.

If you properly clean and care for your pan, it will stay in good shape and will last for a long time.  If you neglect it, you will find that your cast iron pan is damaged.

What You Will Need

  • a dirty cast iron pan
  • a stiff brush or sponge
  • paper towel or towel
  • sponge or paper towel
  • vegetable oil or shortening

cast iron pan

The Do’s and Don’ts Cleaning Cast Iron Pans

Don’t Let it Sit Too Long

The sooner you clean your cast iron pan, the easier it will be to do.  Don’t leave last night’s dinner caked on for too long!

Clean your pan immediately – when it is still hot or warm. While it’s still warm, use paper towel to wipe off excess food from your pan.

Don’t Let it Soak

You may think that it’s like any other dish – let it soak and the grime will come off easier.  However, your pan will rust if you soak it or leave it into the sink.

Do Have the Right Tools

You do not need much to clean a cast iron pan.  First, you want to use hot water.

You also want to make sure that you choose the right brush.  The right brush will be sturdy, stiff and have a stiff bristle.

The brush you choose should be a metal brush. You can also use a sponge to clean your pan.

Don’t Strip the Seasoning

You will not want to use the following to clean your cast iron pan:

  • Dishwasher
  • Soap
  • Steel Wool

Do Scrub Off Stuck-On Bits

Create a paste of coarse salt and water.  Use that to scrub the pan to remove stuck-on food.

You can also try boiling water in the pan to loosen stuck-on food.  Of course, do not leave it for too long.

Do Dry It Off

Dry your pan off thoroughly using a towel or paper towel. You can also dry it over your stove at low heat.

Do Oil Your Cast Iron Pan

Pour some vegetable oil or melted shortening into your pan and wipe it using a cloth or paper towel.  You can also oil the outside of your pan.

Don’t Worry About Rust

You can use steel wool to remove rust.

Another pro tip: sprinkle baking soda and rub it with half a potato!  It sounds strange, but it works!

Cleaning cast iron pans can seem daunting – there are quite the list of “don’ts” above.  However, with a bit of elbow grease and the right brush, you can keep your cast iron pat looking good for decades.

You can also see how you can clean cast iron with cola!