How to Clean Cast Iron

I use my cast iron skillet to cook with as often as possible.  It is wonderful, distributes heat beautifully, and cooks evenly.  But, you have to treat it differently when it’s time to wash it.

Here are the things you don’t do with cast iron:

  • don’t wash with soap
  • don’t use steel wool or any other kind of really abbrassive material
  • don’t put it in the dishwasher
  • don’t let it air dry

I wash mine with Kosher salt.

fish in pan

I use a paper towel to wipe out the inside.

wipe out pan

Then, liberally pour salt into the pan.

salt in cast iron

Using a clean rag that I don’t care how dirty it gets, I use the salt to scrub the pan clean.

scrub with salt 2scrubbing with saltscrub with salt

Then I dip a clean paper towel into some grapeseed oil (don’t use olive oil – it can get rancid over time), and wipe the inside with the oil.

clean cast iron

Some people scrub the pan with water first and just use salt to get out the tough burnt-on bits.  If you do that, then put the pan back on the stove and turn it on high.  Once all of the water is evaporated off (very quickly – don’t leave it there), treat it with oil and let it cool before storing it.

If you have a pan that has rusted, scrub it really good with salt, then coat it inside and out with oil.  Put it in a hot oven for about 15 minutes and let the oil work into the pan.



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