Below are a couple of tips for cleaning a cast iron skillet.
The first tip deals with using salt, which is a very popular method, but there are other ways to do it as well which are listed further down the page.
I don't know about you, but my husband loves to cook corn bread in his iron skillet but I have always been totally afraid to mess with it afterward, to clean it, because I don't want to mess up "the seasoning."
I put that in quotes because he gets really aggravated when "the seasoning" has been disturbed and the cornbread sticks to the pan.
So, below is a quick video tip for how to clean this pan without having to reseason it again afterward.
I use my cast iron skillet my mom gave me soon after I was married almost every day.
I wash it with soap and water every time I use it too.
I sometimes rub oil on it and place it in my oven if it was on and still warm and it never sticks.
Thanks for sharing your experience Virginia.
I have noted that the older the cast iron, and the more often it has been seasoned and used, the less it is likely to have food stick to it, even if it is washed in a "rougher" way, such as using soap.
I would assume this is because the seasoning has had more time to set up, and you are actually replenishing it now and then when you add more oil and place it in the oven.
I will share a personal story here that I think may help people who are confused about what will work, and what won't, because there is actually a lot of controversy about using dish soap on cast iron.
A while back we bought a brand new iron pan (we wanted a smaller one, not just the huge one we already had) and it was crazy how much the food stuck to it at first, despite its claims that it was "pre-seasoned."
As we've used it more and more it has gotten better though, presumably because the seasoning we've now done to it has actually stuck at this point.
I will say that at the beginning I wouldn't have dared to wash the new pan we'd bought with dish soap -- it would have made a huge mess of the food we cooked in it the next time, with everything stuck to it.
Perhaps, therefore, the age (and use) of the cast iron cookware you're using has an impact on whether you can use soap to clean it, or not.
***Update: I got this comment from a reader, Connie, which seems to confirm my theory of using dish soap. She said:
The age of your skillet does matter, when cleaning. I have my grandmothers and use dish soap and water, dry on the stove, then occasionally wipe with mineral oil. Because of the age, and baked in seasoning from decades of use, I have no issues with this old skillet. A newer one, I never use...EVERYTHING sticks! Thanks for the salt tip!
Therefore, if you decide to use dish soap, I would suggest only doing this after your seasoning is well aged, and definitely religiously reseason after each washing with soap! ***End Update
Here's a very simple way to clean your skillets: immediately after use fill the pan with water and set back on the warm burner.
You can even turn the burner back on.
As the water steams use a wooden spatula or wooden spoon to gently remove the stuck on food.
Then rinse and dry on the warm burner.
Thanks for this simple but effective tip Shannon!
I would note that after you do this, you should again add some seasoning to the skillet by rubbing it with some more vegetable oil.
Scraping Is Especially Essential When Only Using Water
As I've heard from even more readers who use the water only method for cleaning their cast iron, many echo the same thing. Scraping is vital!
Readers seem to have different favorites for scraping, with some using wooden utensils, others metal, some scrubbies and scrubber sponges like Dobie, and then finally, there are actually scraper tools made for this purpose. Some of just pan scrapers, while there is also a chain mail type product used to scrub and scrape cast iron.
Here's what one reader, Renee said:
"I use a Pampered Chef plastic scraper that you use on their stoneware with hot water. Always comes clean. Then put it on the stove top with a small flame, then rub Crisco on it.
If by chance something is burned in it, I put water in it and and boil it and use a metal spatula and scrape it.
The salt sounds like a great idea. One of the reasons you don't use dish soap is because the cast iron absorbs the soap, besides taking the oil out of it. So, the residue of the soap leaches into your food."
Here's some scraper tools you could try if you want a tool just for this purpose:
I'd love to hear how even more people clean their pots and pans made of this metal.
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