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Cast iron skillets have been a tried and true kitchen staple for years. They not only provide great heat distribution and retention, but their long-lasting design makes them a multipurpose kitchen tool. Using a cast iron skillet, on the other hand, maybe a messy process, with food and oil residue complying on the surface.
Cleaning your cast iron skillet properly is vital for preserving its seasoning and preventing rusting. This article will go over the top ten best techniques to clean your cast iron skillet to keep it in beautiful shape for years to come.
- Wash and scrub your cast iron skillet with hot water and a mild detergent.
- Use a stiff brush or non-metal scrubber to clean off any stuck-on food or residue.
- Dry your skillet thoroughly with a clean towel or paper towel.
- Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners on your cast iron skillet, as these can strip away the seasoning.
- If your skillet has rust spots, scrub them with steel wool and then re-season the skillet.
Materials you need
Here are the materials and tools needed to clean cast iron skillet.
- Coarse salt
- Chainmail scrubber
- Warm water
- Dish soap
- White vinegar
- Nylon brush
- Baking soda
- Oven mitts/potholders
- Paper towels/cloths
10 Best Ways to clean cast iron skillet
Whether you’re a professional chef or a home cook, cast iron skillets are a must-have in every kitchen. The multi-purpose pan is ideal for searing steaks, frying eggs, baking cornbread, and much more. The key to maintaining your cast iron skillet in good condition, however, is thorough cleaning and maintenance.
A cast iron skillet’s seasoning is what gives it its nonstick characteristics and makes it a long-lasting cooking tool. Improper cleaning may take this seasoning and expose your skillet to rust. Here are the top ten most effective ways to clean your cast iron skillet and keep it in good condition.
1. Scrub with Salt
One of the easiest and most effective ways to clean your cast iron skillet is by scrubbing it with salt. Simply sprinkle coarse salt onto the skillet and use a damp cloth or paper towel to remove any food residue. The salt acts as an abrasive and helps to remove stubborn bits of food without damaging the skillet’s seasoning.
2. Use a Chainmail Scrubber
For tougher stains and burnt-on food, a chainmail scrubber is a great tool to have. This metal scrubber is specifically designed to clean cast iron without scratching or damaging the seasoning. Dip the scrubber in warm water and use it to gently scrub away any stuck-on food.
3. Boil Water
Another simple way to clean your cast iron skillet is by boiling water in it. Fill your skillet with water and bring it to a boil on the stovetop. The heat and steam will help to loosen any stuck-on food, making it easier to scrub away. Be sure to dry the skillet thoroughly after this method to prevent rusting.
4. Use a Nylon Brush
A nylon brush is a great tool for cleaning cast iron skillets, as it can reach into the nooks and crannies without damaging the seasoning. Mix warm water and a few drops of dish soap in the skillet, and use the brush to gently scrub away any residue. Rinse and dry thoroughly.
5. Use Vinegar
For particularly stubborn stains and odors, using vinegar can be an effective cleaning method. Mix equal parts water and white vinegar in the skillet and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. The acidity in the vinegar will help to break down any residue, making it easier to scrub away. Rinse well and completely dry.
6. Scrub with Baking Soda
Baking soda is a natural and gentle cleaner that is safe to use on cast iron skillets. Make a paste with equal parts baking soda and water and use a nylon brush or cloth to scrub away any residue. Thoroughly rinse and let it dry.
7. Use Potato Peels
Believe it or not, potato peels are a great natural cleaner for cast iron skillets. Scrub the skillet with wet potato peels, and the starch and abrasive texture will help to remove any stuck-on food. Rinse and dry thoroughly.
8. Avoid Soap
Many people believe that using soap on a cast iron skillet will ruin the seasoning. While this is not entirely true, avoiding using soap unless absolutely necessary is best. If you do use soap, be sure to rinse and dry the skillet completely and then lightly coat it with oil before storing.
9. Dry Thoroughly
The most crucial step in cleaning a cast iron skillet is drying it thoroughly. Excess water can lead to rusting, which can ruin the skillet’s seasoning and potentially contaminate your food. After washing, use a paper towel or cloth to dry the skillet, and then heat it over low heat on the stovetop to ensure all moisture has evaporated.
10. Re-season When Needed
Despite proper cleaning and maintenance, the seasoning on a cast iron skillet can wear off over time. If you notice that your skillet is no longer non-stick or has developed rust spots, it may be time to re-season. This process involves heating the skillet in the oven with a thin layer of oil, which will help to build up the seasoning again.
By following these top 10 best ways to clean your cast iron skillet, you can ensure that it stays in pristine condition for years to come. With proper care, your cast iron skillet can be a reliable and versatile cooking tool that will last for generations.
How to clean a rusty cast iron skillet
Rust on a cast iron skillet can be a common problem, especially if it has not been properly cleaned and maintained. To clean a rusty cast iron skillet, start by using a mixture of equal parts water and white vinegar to scrub away the rust.
Use a nylon brush or steel wool to gently scrub the surface, and then rinse with water and dry thoroughly. Then, apply a layer of oil to the skillet and heat it in the oven to re-season. Repeating this process a few times may be necessary for deeply rusted skillets. With proper care, your cast iron skillet can be restored to its former glory.
How to season a cast iron skillet for the first time
Seasoning a cast iron skillet is an essential step in maintaining its non-stick properties and preventing rust. If you have a new cast iron skillet, it will likely come pre-seasoned, but it is still recommended to season it before using it for the first time.
To do this, coat the skillet with a thin layer of oil and bake it in the oven for about an hour. This process helps to create a polymerized layer on the skillet’s surface, providing a natural non-stick coating. After the first seasoning, be sure to use and clean the skillet properly to maintain its seasoning and prevent rusting.
How to clean cast iron without removing seasoning
Properly cleaning a cast iron skillet is essential to maintain its seasoning and prevent rusting. While some methods of cleaning, such as using soap, can potentially strip away the seasoning, there are ways to clean the skillet without removing the seasoning.
Using a nylon brush, coarse salt, or chainmail scrubber can effectively remove stuck-on food without scratching the seasoning. In addition, avoiding soap and thoroughly drying the skillet after cleaning can also help preserve the seasoning. Natural cleaners like vinegar or baking soda can also effectively clean the skillet without damaging the seasoning.
How to clean cast iron after cooking
Cleaning a cast iron skillet after cooking is crucial for maintaining its seasoning and preventing rusting. The best way to clean it after each use is by using a nylon brush and warm water to gently scrub away any residue. Avoid using soap unless necessary, as it can strip away the seasoning.
After cleaning, be sure to dry the skillet thoroughly and lightly coat it with oil before storing. If there are stubborn stains, using natural cleaners like vinegar or baking soda can effectively remove them. Regular and proper cleaning after each use will keep your cast iron skillet in top condition.
Cleaning a cast iron skillet may seem like a challenging task, but with the right techniques, it can be a simple and effective process. By using natural cleaners and avoiding harsh chemicals, you can maintain your skillet’s seasoning and ensure its longevity.
Remember to dry the skillet thoroughly after cleaning and to re-season when needed. With these top 10 best ways to clean cast iron skillet, you can continue to enjoy delicious meals cooked to perfection for years to come.