You have whipped up that awesome dinner using your cast iron cookware, now it is time to finish the job and do the cleanup!
So, just how do you clean cast iron cookware after the day-to-day cooking? How do you clean it without removing any of that seasoning?
The good news is that the cleanup is not all that hard. There are a few key points though, — the things not to do:
– do not use soap
– do not anything abrasive like those steel wool pads, — they will wear away that seasoning
– do not soak that cast iron pan in water or put it in the dishwasher
– do not pour cold water into a hot pan, you might crack or damage the pan
Say what! Huh! So why no soap?
Since we were little, we all have learned that we clean things with soap, our hands, our clothes, and our dishes. Don’t we need to use soap to make something clean?
Using soap will strip away that nonstick, easy release cast iron seasoning you’re working so hard on building. Soap does this trick by dissolving oil and fats into water so it can be washed away. We don’t want to wash away the seasoning.
What I do to clean, protect, and season my cast iron cookware after the day-to-day cooking:
– let the pan cool enough so you can easily handle it
– remove excess food or oils, yes a no brainer
– sometimes this is enough cleaning, then I coat with a thin coat of oil and put the cast iron away
– pour some hot water into the pan and then turn the burner back on, we are heating up the water
– I push around a bamboo or wooden spatula in the warming water to loosen any stuck or stubborn food residue, yep, just scrape it around and the stuck food comes off
– I also have one of those Lodge cast iron cleaning brushes that works pretty good
Once the pan has been cleaned just give it a good rinse, then wipe it down so it the cast iron is dry.
Lastly, give it a nice light coating of cooking oil, all you need is a nice light sheen. My personal favorite is coconut oil, as I use it in my day-to-day cooking. Now you’re ready to store it away until its next use.
There are other methods that can be used to clean cast iron cookware such as using salt moistened with a bit of water or oil. I have not tried this yet, as the heating the cast iron with hot water trick works for me.
As I run across new methods and give them a try, I will certainly update this page and share those new techniques.
I am planning on creating a page on how to clean up that old cast iron pan, like the one you found at that yard sale. You know, that skillet with all of the dried and baked on gunk. I want to have a lot of pictures to share, so soon as I can find one we can do this together.