Cast iron is easy to clean and care for as long as you know what you need to do.
Your cast iron cookware is easy to care for and store, as long as you follow a few simple rules. When you clean you cast iron cookware you have two main goals.
The first is obvious, to clean off the remnants of your last meal cooked in it, but you want to do that without removing the pan’s seasoning.
This can be easily accomplished with hot water and a little elbow grease. Never wash cast iron in an electric dishwasher. The dish detergent strips away the seasoning that you have built up on your pan. And that’s the secret flavor!
Step One: Remove and bits of stuck on food. Simply scrap the bottom and sides of your cast iron cookware with a spoon, just as you would to get out the last bit of leftovers. If the bits are stubborn, I suggest heating the pan a little. Keep it cool enough to touch safely, but warm enough to open the pours and easier to clean.
You can also scrub any problem spots with salt dampened with oil or warm water. If you still cannot got those last bits out then try using very hot water and scrubbing the problem spot with a piece of crumpled up aluminum foil.
Step Two: Use hot water and a scrub brush to clean the cooking surface. Do not use a wire brush or steel wool; instead use a plastic or natural bristled brush. Let the hot water run over the pan as you scrub.
Do not use soap. Soap is used to cut through oil and grease, the very heart of the seasoning you have worked so hard to bake into your pan in the seasoning process and cooking. If the lack of soap leaves you shuddering about the possibilities of germs or bacteria then pour boiling water over the pan after you have finished scrubbing it.
Step Three: Dry your cast iron thoroughly as soon as you are finished scrubbing and rinsing. To be certain that the cookware is completely moisture free place it on a heated oven or burner for a few minutes.
Never let cast iron air dry, or leave it resting on the towel you dried it with. Any moisture remaining on the cast iron, or touching it for any period of time, can cause you cookware to rust.
Step Four: Coat your cast iron with a thin layer of vegetable oil while the cookware is still warm. Then wipe excess oil from the pan with a paper towel. This will help preserve the seasoning and replace any of the oils that were removed during the cleaning process.
One quick side note, if you are using your cast iron to make breads, biscuits, cakes or other bakery type foods you do not really need to clean the pan at all. All you need to do is remove the baked good and wipe the surface with a clean towel then apply the thin layer of vegetable oil.
Your pan is then ready for its next use.