How To Clean Cast Iron Pans

If you have cast iron pans or you’ve always wanted some you’re probably wondering to clean cast iron pans effectively? 

Well, it’s very easy, it might seem a little daunting without an easy to follow routine and that’s why we’ve developed our own.

cast iron pan

And you’ll be pleased to know there are no toxic chemicals involved at all, just a little hard work and some of the products you already have in your kitchen. 

How To Clean A Cast Iron Pan

Before you start, you’ll need:

  1. A cast iron pan (one in need of cleaning, obviously)
  2. A stiff brush (or you can use a sponge if you want to do a bit more leg work)
  3. Something to dry it with (cloth, paper towels, etc.)
  4. Some vegetable oil or animal shortening

You may also want to use:

  1. Some kosher salt
  2. A stove

However, they’re both optional – they can just make the cleaning process a bit easier. 

The Step-By-Step Instructions As To How Clean A Cast Iron Pan

Begin Immediately

We know, it’s tempting to leave pans to cool before you clean them but it’s a bad idea to do so.

One reason is that iron pans can, if left moist for long enough, end up starting to rust and nobody wants flakes of rust in their breakfast.

cast iron pan on a stove

It’s also easier to clean a cast iron pan while it’s still hot (or, at least, warm). 

So, don’t delay – get the dirty pan and start washing. 

Get Your Gloves On

If you’re cleaning a hot pan, you should wear some heat proof gloves or, alternatively, you can grab and secure the pan using tongs – if you have the dexterity to do so.

All you need is some hot water and either that stiff brush or the sponge you got ready before you started. 

It is important to note that the pan should never be placed in a dishwasher and you shouldn’t use a caustic cleaning agent or steel wool, either, it will damage the seasoning

If There Are Stubborn Stuck On Bits

If you have that kosher salt to hand, this is the time to use it. 

All you need is some salt and water – make it into a sort of paste and then use the brush or sponge to scrub at anything that is stuck.

dirty and rusty cast iron pans

If that doesn’t help, fill the pan with water and boil it for a bit on the stove, that will loosen it up. 

Now It’s Clean, Dry It

Once the gunk is out of your pan, it’s time to dry it. 

You can either use your towels or paper to give it a thorough rub down or just pop it on the stove on a low heat for a few minutes. 

Oil And Store It

Then, finally, you should just wipe down the pan with a little coating of oil or your chosen shortening. 

You can, optionally, also do the outside but it’s not necessary. 

Give it a little buffing if there’s any obvious remains on the pan and then pop it away in a cool, dry place until you need it next time. 

Final Thoughts On How To Clean Cast Iron Pans

It’s not hard to do when you know hot to clean cast iron pans. 

You can easily preserve their seasoning and the finish of the pan without damaging it and you don’t need to use any harmful cleaning agents to do so. 

Properly cleaned cast iron pans can last a lifetime and if they ever do develop a little rust – you can remove it by rubbing it with some raw potato and then a little baking soda. 

Don’t forget to reseason a pan if you have treated it for rust, though. 


I'm Olive. I'm a Mom of 3. Kitchen Lover. Adventurer. Big Time Foodie.

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