If you have a cast iron pan that needs to be clean, it’s best to clean it as soon as possible, preferably while it is still warm after you finish cooking. Most pans can be soaked in the sink to remove debris, but unfortunately cast iron cannot. If you do soak it, it can rust over time, so instead you’ve got to give your cast iron pans some extra attention when it comes to cleaning. Also, NEVER put your cast iron in the dishwasher.
Here are the materials you will need to get started:
- Sponge with a good scrubbing surface or a stiff bristled brush
- Paper towels
- Vegetable oil
- Coarse salt
First, wash your cast iron cookware by hand with some hot water and your brush of choice. Don’t add dish soap! Just worry about scrubbing for now and try to get off as much residue as you can.
If you find that you have some stubborn food residue that won’t come off, just sprinkle some coarse salt in the pan along with water. It should make a thick paste (like the consistency of toothpaste). The salt granules will start to loosen up those stubborn food pieces you can’t get off by hand.
When your cookware is clean, dry it off with a towel. Then, apply a light coat of vegetable oil to the inside (and outside if you would like) of your cast iron pan using a paper towel. This will enhance the non-stick nature that cast iron is so good at and also prevent rust. Just try not too much too much oil.
If your pan already has some rust, you can use steel wool or a halved raw potato and salt to remove it. If you decide to use the potato method, just sprinkle some salt in the pan and use the cut side of the potato to gently rid the pan of rust. It sounds bizarre but it actually works! After you finish, you might need to reseason your pan to restore its nonstick surface.
Now your pan should look great and so much cleaner! Make sure to maintain this type of cleaning practice on your cast iron pans so it will last for a long time.