Cleaning a Cast Iron Skillet

How to Clean a Cast Iron Skillet

Here are the main points about cleaning and maintaining your cast iron skillet.

Dishwasher, dishwashing detergents and scrubbers are not suitable for cleaning

It is not possible to clean the cast iron skillet in a dishwasher, since this can damage the natural protective coating and destroy the patina. Cast iron skillets must not be cleaned with detergent, as this will damage the surface of the cast iron skillet, which makes them very vulnerable to rust.

Skillets treated with rinsing agent usually appear very dull. The surface can also be destroyed by the preparation of very acidic foods, such as tomatoes for a tomato sauce, which necessitates renewed seasoning. Cast iron skillets must also not be cleaned with scrubbing sprays, since they remove the patina, which gives the cast iron dishes their characteristic flavor.

Cleaning Right After Use

Generally it is sufficient to wipe the cast iron skillet directly after use with a kitchen towel. It is recommended to clean the pan immediately after use, as it is the easiest to clean in this condition. Any food remans can be easily removed in this stage. If you notice some dried remains after the skillet is completely cooled, hot water can still help remove them.

My Recommendation:

In general however, it is important to avoid wetting food residues in cast iron pans in water, as this can also damage the surface. In the case of proper roasting, however, food residues are very rare. If it happens, the reason is usually either too high temperature or turning the food at the wrong time. After cleaning, cast iron skillets should always be greased with oil and a cloth.

Treating Rust

If for whatever reason the cast iron skillet has started to rust, it is possible to remove the grate again. This is best done with a rough cloth and rinsing agent. If you scrub strong enough, the grate dissolves from the pan. After this treatment you should immediately cook something in it to create a patina. The result is an almost new cast iron skillet.

What I have written above primarily refers to non-coated cast iron skillets. On the other hand, enamelled pans can easily be cleaned by hand with dishwashing detergents.