Cleaning And Seasoning Cast Iron: Simple and Easy Steps

cast iron food

Did you know:

Cast iron is some of the best cookware that money can buy. It is tough as nails and can last in a family for generations. 

I even use Griswold cast iron skillets that are over 75 years old. By taking care of them, they still look brand new.

Here's the thing...

clean cast iron skillet

Many people think that cast iron is hard to clean and maintain, but this simply is not true.

With the right know how, cast iron cleans up easily, and does not require too much to maintain it.

Good news!

In this guide, I'm going to show you the down and dirty, simple and easy steps for cleaning, seasoning, and restoring your cast iron.​

After reading, you will be a pro at treating your cast iron cookware right so that you will still be using it for many years to come.​

Let's jump right into cleaning.​

Cleaning

When it comes to normal every day cooking, it turns out that cleaning your cast iron skillet is a cinch.

cast iron cleaning steps

Here are the quick and easy steps:

  1. ​With warm water and a medium dish scrub brush, clean off any food residue and rinse clean
  2. Dry the skillet completely with a rag
  3. Rub in a small amount of vegetable oil into the pan until you get a nice even coating which will give it a nice sheen

Notice here that we clean it by using regular water without soap. This is because soap is great at removing oil from the pan, and that oil coating is exactly what keeps the pan seasoned and protected.

season cast iron skillet

Many people are afraid that not using soap won't get the pan clean enough. 

However, if you clean your pan soon after it is cooled down after cooking, there shouldn't be much bacteria build up.

Also, the next time you cook, you typically will heat the pan up to a high enough temperature that it will kill any bacteria remaining.

For example, heating your skillet ​on Medium heat for 4 minutes gets the temperature of the cast iron pan up to about 400 degrees Fahrenheit, where anything above 212 degrees Fahrenheit sterilizes it.

Cleaning cast iron is as easy as wash, dry, and oil! @trek_warrior

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Check out the video below to see just how easy it really is:​

Seasoning

When we say "seasoning", we really just mean that the pan has a light coating of animal fat or oil on it.

This coating protects the pan from moisture and rust, as well as provides a nice non-stick coating which makes cooking so much better.

cast iron cooking

Sometimes, you just feel like a deeper cleaning is needed for your pan.

Either there is a lot of buildup, you simply let the pan sit dirty for a few days (it happens), or you simply want to be proactive in taking good care of your pan.

This is where you can use dish soap to get it squeaky clean.

The thing is that soap will most likely remove all of the oil out of the pan, so it will no longer be seasoned properly and prone to rusting.

By using soap, we just need to add in a few more steps:

  1. ​Use warm water and soap with a dish scrub brush and thoroughly clean the pan, then rinse it clean with water
  2. Dry the skillet out with a rag
  3. Take a small amount of vegetable oil and rub it into the pan until you get a nice, even sheen all over it
  4. Place a strip of aluminum foil that is longer than the length of your pan on the bottom rack of your oven (it is going to catch any oil drips)
  5. Place the cast iron pan on the top rack upside down and centered over the alumninum foil in your oven
  6. Turn the oven on to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake the pan for 30 minutes
  7. Turn off the oven, let the pan cool, then remove the pan and the aluminum foil from the oven

Restoring

Sometimes, things seem to go south for our cast iron and we find that it has rusted up on us.

steel-scrubber

No worries! All we need to do is to take a steal scrubbing pad and scour off the rust.

Feel free to use some water and soap to help get the rust off and keep it from getting rust dust all over the place.

Then, all you have to do is follow the steps for Seasoning that we covered above. You will have your pan looking brand new in no time at all!​

Check out the video below, it's so easy to restore your cast iron:​

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