How Do You Clean a Cast Iron Skillet?

How to clean cast iron utensils?

For generations, cast iron skillets have been treasured kitchen workhorses. While these hardy pans seem impervious, proper care keeps them in peak form. Learning the right techniques helps maintain the pan's natural non-stick patina over the years.

With some know-how, anyone can keep their cast iron cookware looking new while building up that lovely seasoning. Discover the easy process that keeps this classic piece going strong.

4 Steps to Clean Cast Iron Skillets

Here are the steps for cleaning cast iron skillets:

Step 1. Scrub off the remaining food

Take a soft sponge or a pad and gently scrub away any stuck food or debris. Don't use soap yet! Just focus on removing crumbs and bits. Scrub lightly so you don't damage the seasoning.

Step 2. Rinse the skillet with water

Once you've removed the particles, hold the skillet under running water to rinse away the loosening food debris. Let the water flow over the surface to carry away grease and crumbs. Shake off excess moisture.

Step 3. Dry the skillet with paper tissues or towel

It's important to thoroughly dry the cast iron after rinsing. If left to air dry, water can cause rust. Blot dry with a towel or paper towel. Make sure to wipe into all the crevices and absorb any standing water drops.

Step 4. Oil the cookware

After drying, pour some cooking oil onto a paper towel and lightly rub over the interior cooking surface. This protective layer of oil will seal the pan and prevent rusting. Rub the oil into the pores and crevices to displace moisture. Wipe away any excess. For those looking to streamline their maintenance routine without sacrificing quality, can also consider the Stahl Cast Iron Kadhai This particular model is crafted with an enameled rust-proof and stick-resistant finish, which significantly reduces the need for frequent seasoning. Read a complete guide on how to season a cast iron skillet.

What Happens if Cast Iron Skillet is Not Cleaned Properly?

Cast Iron Skillet cleaning is very important. If not cleaned properly, it can lead to below mentioned problems:

1. Rust Formation

Rust formation can happen if you don't thoroughly dry your cast iron skillet after washing. Water left sitting on the surface can cause rust spots. If the rust isn't cleaned off, it can spread and cause pitting or flakes to the seasoning layer. Essentially, little bits of rust start eating away at the pan. Make sure to dry all pan surfaces fully after handwashing to prevent this.

2. Loss of Seasoning

Not cleaning properly over time can also cause your nice seasoning layer to break down. That's the dark, non-stick coating that builds up through regular use. Letting food bits sit too long or scouring too aggressively can wear down that layer. And without seasoning, food is way more likely to stick. Your pan relies on that coating. So be gentle and make sure not to leave food caked on too long after cooking.

3. Pitting and Degradation

Finally, harsh cleaners like bleach or super abrasive scouring pads can damage the cast iron over time. Little pits and grooves can form, again ruining the once-smooth seasoning layer. Overall, the pan just doesn't perform how it should. Stick to mild soap and water or an occasional salt scrub if you need something more heavy-duty. Gentle care will let your pan last for ages.

Variety of Cast Iron Cookware at Stahl Kitchens

You'll immediately notice the featherlight feel in your hands - these pans achieve a nearly 50% weight reduction compared to traditional cast iron, yet lose none of the peerless heating capabilities.

I. Blacksmith Plus Series

The Blacksmith Plus series is designed to be an innovative take on traditional cast iron cookware. The main goal was to make these pots and pans more lightweight and easier to care for than typical cast iron while retaining the benefits.

There are a few key things that set this series apart:

Cooking with the Blacksmith Plus series is an elevated experience. The bespoke ergonomic handles remain cool to the touch, enabling graceful maneuvers between stove and table. The seasoned cooking surface facilitates exquisite browning and crisping with less oil or butter than other materials require.

The nitride tech also yields superior rust resistance and resilience against humidity, eliminating the need for fastidious drying. The iron imbues foods with hints of supplemental minerals while distributing heat evenly to prevent hot spots.

II. Black Smith Hybrid Series

The Blacksmith Hybrid series is Stahl's latest line of cookware, blending the benefits of traditional cast iron with modern technology. The goal is to create pans and pots that have non-stick properties and heat retention abilities of cast iron while also being lighter weight and easier to care for.

Some standout features that make this cookware unique:

The Blacksmith Hybrid series features an exquisite enameled cast iron construction paired with ergonomic handles engineered to remain cool to the touch. This fusion of old and new worlds enables a sublime cooking experience previously unattainable.

The enamel coating delivers two gifts - a smooth surface requiring no seasoning alongside enhanced resistance to sticking, and corrosion. Cleaning proceeds with ease after use without the meticulous drying cast iron normally dictates.

The Bottom Line

Properly caring for cast iron pans allows them to last for generations. Gentle yet thorough cleaning, careful drying, and regular oiling help maintain the seasoning, making cast iron a versatile, high-performing cookware option. With some simple care, these classic pans will continue providing excellent cooking results and building cherished kitchen memories for years to come.


What is the best way to clean cast iron cookware?

The best way is to gently scrub off food debris with a brush, rinse, thoroughly dry, and rub with oil. Harsh soap or scouring can damage the seasoning over time.

What should you not clean cast iron with?

Avoid using very abrasive pads, bleach, or dishwasher detergent, as these can cause pits and flakes in the seasoning layer.

Do I need to wash cast iron after every use?

It's okay to wash after every single use. For light cooking, you can often just wipe clean with paper towels.

How do you clean cast iron naturally?

Clean cast iron naturally using coarse salt as a gentle abrasive scrub or baking soda and water paste to lift residues.

Can you soak cast iron overnight?

It's best not to soak cast iron for long periods, as this can strip off seasoning and leave behind rust-promoting moisture.

Can I boil water in cast iron to clean?

You can boil water in cast iron to loosen stuck-on food remnants. Afterward, dry thoroughly.

How do you maintain cast iron?

To maintain cast iron, allow a light coating of oil to polymerize after cleaning. Storing with some paper towels can also minimize moisture.

Can I use soap on cast iron?

To clean cast iron, you can use small amounts of mild soap when needed, but avoid heavy-duty dish soaps.

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