There are so many things to love about cooking with cast-iron cookware. Is it the durability, exceptional heat retention, affordability, or multi-purpose use? You could cook virtually anything on it.
Whether you want to fry chicken or bake bread, they work really well on a cast-iron skillet.
However, maintaining a cast iron skillet is quite important. It could last you for many decades as long as you care for it properly.
In this article, we will share a thorough guide on keeping your cast iron skillet clean without damaging it.
How to clean a cast-iron skillet after use
Cleaning your cast iron skillet after every use is a good practice. It is one of the ways to maintain your skillet and protect it from getting damaged.
As soon as you are done cooking, allow the pan to cool down. Then, wipe down the cooking surface using a paper towel. It will help if you do this immediately when the pan is cool and not several hours later so that the food particles on the pan don’t get dried and stuck to it.
However, if the pan is still dirty or smells of the last meal you cooked with it, you can wash it briefly with a non-abrasive sponge and soapy water.
Then, rinse it thoroughly under running water before drying with a clean cloth or paper towel.
Ensure that you do not leave water in your pan – even for a few hours. Doing so can make the pan get rusty in no time.
How to clean a cast-iron skillet with burnt-on food
Do you have a scorched pan, and you are worried about how to make it clean again? You can trust our pro tips to guide you through that.
First, you need to get kosher or coarse sea salt. Then, sprinkle inside the pan and scrub it with a damp cloth. Kosher salt is a good abrasive to get rid of burnt-on food on cast iron skillets. You can also use a plastic pan scraper if it doesn’t work. It will help if you do not use steel wool or scrubbing pads to avoid damaging the pan or stripping out the seasoning.
How to clean black residue off cast iron skillet
Over time, you might notice a buildup of black residue on your cast iron skillet. And, you might be wondering how to get rid of it. Read further as we guide you through the process in this post.
First, you should know that black residues are not harmful. They are just a buildup of food leftovers and carbon from heated oils and fats. So, if you find them in your food, you don’t have to be scared or worried as they do not pose any health risk.
Also, there are several causes of this buildup. It could be a result of poor maintenance or lack of seasoning of the skillet. So, you should maintain your skillet properly to prevent a recurrence.
There are two ways to get rid of the black residue on your cast iron skillet. You can either use salt or a hard-bristled brush.
How to clean black residue off cast iron skillet using salt
Step 1: Add a few cups of water into the pan and boil. Then, leave for a few minutes before turning off the heat. The heat from the water will loosen the stuck residue from the pan.
Step 2: Next, dry the skillet using a paper towel or a clean dish rag. However, you should be careful as the skillet will be hot.
Step 3: Once you have dried the pan. Add about a half cup of salt to the pan and scrub the surface using a rag or a paper towel. You should notice that the residues are peeling off.
Step 4: Next, wash the skillet with mild dish soap and warm water. If there are stuck residues, you can repeat the process till you remove them completely.
Step 5: Rinse and dry the pan.
Step 6: Coat the pan with drops of oil – you can use either vegetable oil, coconut, or flaxseed oil. Then, heat the pan for a few minutes to secure the oil to the cast iron skillet.
Pro Tip: While cleaning your skillet, remember to clean your microwave too!
How to clean a rusty cast iron skillet
If your cast iron skillet gets rusty and you contemplate throwing it out. We are here to offer you a better alternative to doing that.
First, you should know that cooking with rusty cookware has no severe effect on your health. However, it is good to eliminate them.
Also, by following these pro tips, you can get rid of any rust and enjoy your skillet again. But if it is severely rusty, you might need to give it an overhaul by taking it to a machine shop. There, it can be restored to the raw cast iron before it is seasoned again.
However, for less serious surface rust, you can follow these steps:
- Steel wool
- Cooking oil
- Dishwashing soap
- Protective gloves
- Stiff bristled brush or scouring sponge
- Aluminum foil
Step 1: Use the steel wool to remove the rust by scrubbing the pan thoroughly. Continue scouring till you remove the crusty residues, and the area returns to a raw cast iron.
Step 2: Add dishwashing soap and warm water to the skillet and wash thoroughly. You can also scrub the surface with a brush or a scouring sponge.
Step 3: Dry the pan using paper towels or a clean cloth.
Step 4: Coat the entire skillet with the cooking oil, including the bottom and handle.
Step 5: Next, place an aluminum foil on the bottom rack of your oven, and place the skillet upside down on the upper rack. Set the temperature to 300 to 360°F and leave for about one hour.
Step 6: Finally, remove the pan from the oven and allow it to cool for about 45 minutes. Then, you can enjoy cooking with it.
Pro Tip: How to clean a glass top stove.
How to get the rust off cast iron skillet with vinegar
If your pan is so rusty that it needs a lot of work to get rid of the rust. Then, vinegar is the best way to clean it. How do you go about it?
Step 1: Prepare a vinegar solution—Mix equal amounts of water and vinegar in a bowl.
Step 2: Then, submerge the skillet in the bowl. You should use a bigger container or plug your sink if the skillet is large. Also, you can pour the solution inside the pan if the outer part isn’t rusty.
Step 3: Soak for a few hours. It is advised that you don’t leave the pan in the vinegar solution for too long. When the vinegar dissolves the rust, it can go further to the actual pan.
Step 4: Use dish soap, brush, or an abrasive sponge to buff the pan and remove any lingering rust residue.
Step 5: Dry immediately with a clean cloth or paper towel.
Step 6: Finally, reseason your pan. You can follow the steps above on how to go about it.
You should never drop your cast iron skillet in a dishwasher – it could get really damaged. Plus, if you maintain your skillet properly, you can use it for many years and even pass it on to other people.