You just finished cooking that delicious steak in your cast iron skillet. Now you are left with stains in the pan. Now the question remains how do I clean this cast iron? Let’s get into how is done.
How to clean a cast-iron skillet
In other to get this done, you will need a few cleaning materials.
Firstly, you will need a sponge, some paper towels, a couple of dish towels, and grapeseed oil. You can get a chain-mail scrubber made by Knapp Made. The key to cleaning cast iron is to do it as soon as you’re done cooking, while it is still hot. For this reason, I would recommend a silicone handle holder to prevent your hands from the heat. This silicone handle holder is to grip and is dishwasher safe.
Now let’s start washing our cast iron skillet.
First, wipe out your skillet with a dish towel to remove all food debris and excess oil. If you can simply remove all the food, oil, and residue then there’s no need to use water to clean it and you’re done. If your pan isn’t well seasoned or has debris stuck to it, you’ll have to keep cleaning.
Rinse the pan under hot running water or you can boil water and then rinse the pan with it. Now scrub with a nonmetal brush or non-abrasive scrub pad. The rough side of the sponge works fine.
If you can help with it, don’t use soap. Contrary to popular belief, soap won’t remove the seasoning from your pan but it will dry out the material. If pesky stuck-on food refuses to come off the pan, this is where the Knapp Made chain-mail scrubber comes in handy. The small rings are made for a nonabrasive surface that won’t damage the cast iron and can get into the corners of the pan. Since it’s stainless steel it will never rust. Thoroughly clean the skillet until no crusted-on food remains.
Any leftover bits will get trapped under future layers of seasoning, creating an irregular surface that will never become truly nonstick. Rinse it again with water. Once the pan is clean, dry it thoroughly with a dishtowel. Place the pan on a stovetop over medium-low heat or in an oven on low to dry out all traces of moisture. Once it is dried out take the pan off the fire. Now it’s time to coat the pan with a light layer of oil. There are so many types of oil you can do this with. There is flaxseed oil which is a popular choice. It can produce brittle seasoning that’s prone to flaking and is expensive. You can also use grapeseed oil; it has a high smoke point and a neutral flavor. However, if you don’t have or don’t want to buy grapeseed oil, other neutral oils like canola or vegetable oil can also work.
Rub the surface of the cast iron with just enough oil to completely coat the material inside and out. About 1 tablespoon oil should do for a 12-inch skillet. Since cast-iron skillets are made from one single piece of metal, every inch of the skillet must be covered with oil or you leave the pan capable of rusting. Now use a paper towel to wipe off any excess oil. Cleaning your cast iron using this method every day after use will make your pan more durable and nonstick and can last for a long.
Can You Clean Cast Iron with Soap?
There are so many questions as to whether you can use soap or not to clean your cast iron skillet with it. Should you never touch it with soap or should you use just coarse salt and water?
So, after cooking some people might do a quick rinse with water and then a quick dry on your stovetop. many of us will add just a touch of oil to the pan, wipe it around, let it cool and we’re done. And then there are others who after cooking, they scoop out their food literally but while the pan is hot, they clean it out with just a paper towel and put it back down and they are done. So, these are the 3 ways people normally clean their cast iron, one of them sacrilege maybe, two of them are kind of acceptable.
Cast iron has been around according to Wikipedia for 2,000 years now. The process of seasoning cast iron has a lot to do with oil painting. When painting with oil paint there’s oil in it and when cleaning cast iron oil is also used. They use a particular kind of oil which are called drying oils.
Drying oils, when the oil dries out, can be any kind of oil, it does this thing called polymerization. I know is a big word but what this means is that takes oil and polymerizes it into a non-oil product.
Back in the day, people used animal-based fats to season their cast iron and soap was not good for cleaning it. In our modern-day, cast iron that we have been seasoning could be preserved for 100 years. Nowadays we are using vegetable-based oil to create polymerization. Modern-day soaps, what they do to get fats off of an object is they don’t necessarily dissolve it. They make the fats form into much smaller little bubbles that are much more easily washed off with water. In this modern era, yes you can use soap on a cast-iron skillet. Use a little bit of regular dish soap to clean your cast-iron pan and it’s fine. It’s gentle enough that it won’t wash away that seasoning that you’ve done.
To clean your cast iron with soap you need to first clean your leftover foods or oil with a paper towel while the pan is still warm. Now then rinse it under hot running water and add a little bit of soap and get it clean with a non-abrasive scrubbing sponge. After using the chainmail scrubber to continue cleaning and rinse it then dry it using a towel. Now your pan is all clean but does not forget to season it after every use. The real enemies to cast irons are abrasives like scouring pads, steel wool, and harsh cleaning agents.
Never put your cast iron in a dishwasher!