Cast Iron Skillet Care: Don’t Use Soap

Cast iron skillet care can seem somewhat daunting. No soap? Who knew?!

But it is one of the most significant rules with cast iron. The rule I chose to ignore over and over again until I found this new trick on Pinterest.

It makes cleaning cast iron so much easier. As a result, my pan no longer sits for days on end, waiting to be cleaned.

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Even a cast-iron skillet used over a campfire will come clean with this easy cleaning hack.

Lodge Cast Iron Skillets are perfect for stovetop, oven use, and campfire cooking. I have a Lodge cast iron pan as well as a lesser quality pan. My preference is the Lodge pan every time.

It’s easy to forget that the handle of a cast-iron skillet gets very hot. I recommend these silicone hot handle holders for your pans. Silicone handles are safer than cloth hot pad holders for campfire cooking especially.


Soap strips the coating from your cast iron pans. I am beyond guilty of committing this atrocity. Therefore my food is forever sticking to the bottom of the pan, which then requires seasoning again.

But not anymore! I am reformed.


Cast Iron Skillet Care: Salt and Elbow Grease

This straightforward solution is going to change your kitchen game. Any cheap salt will work.

For solid grease, scrape it out into the trash with a nylon pan scraper. These Pampered Chef scrapers that you can purchase on Amazon have been in my kitchen for close to 20 years. They work very well and last forever. Additionally, they are inexpensive to replace if the need arises.

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Cast Iron Skillet Care and How to Maintain Your Pans

Then add salt and rub it around the pan with your fingers. A nylon scraper will help to dislodge the food.

If food is stuck on, I add a little bit of water and then add salt to form a paste, as shown in the picture. This method works like a charm.

hand scrubbing salt in a pan

The best part is that you can scrape it into the trash, and no grease goes down the drain.

Repeat the process if the pan is still messy. I finish it off with water and a sponge to get the last little bit out.

Do not use scouring pads, detergent pads, or steel wool to scrub your cast iron pans. It will remove the seasoning.

If you love this cleaning tip, be sure and read how I clean my stainless steel in the kitchen.

Easy cleaning tips are the best kind.

Cast Iron Skillet Care and How to Maintain Your Pans

Cast Iron Skillet Care: Preserve the Nonstick Coating

Once your cast iron is clean you can rub it with a light layer of cooking oil.

Another method I use is cooking omelets in my clean cast iron skillet.

Because YUM.

Cast Iron Skillet Care and How to Maintain Your Pans

The butter in the warm pan helps to season it again. Once my omelet is done, I wipe the pan clean with a slightly damp paper towel.

Then my cast iron is ready for the next use.

Easy peasy.

This method works because of the warm butter that coats the pan, which means the omelet does not stick. Cooking any meat or starch would not work.

Cast Iron Skillet Care and How to Maintain Your Pans

Be sure not to stack your cast iron inside each other unless a paper towel or something similar is between the pans.

I use small, inexpensive hot pad holders that work really well.

As a result, this will protect the pans from scratching. Also, the cast iron pans will always be ready to cook up something yummy.

Savvy Tip for Cleaning a Garbage Disposal

Cooking delicious food in your cast iron skillet will sometimes leave a lot of greases to clean. The paste made from salt and water will soak up the fat in your cast iron skillet. You should then be able to scrape it into the trash and wipe it with a paper towel.

Then just add a little water to get anything left behind and scrub with a sponge.

This method keeps grease out of your pipes and your pan from losing its nonstick quality.

Also, while I’m on the subject, put as little down your garbage disposal as possible. Lettuce and eggshells are a big NO.

It makes for a cloggy mess. Cloggy’s a word. I promise.

Indeed, baking soda and vinegar poured down the garbage disposal will help break up the gunk and dislodge it.

Pour 1/2 c baking soda followed by 1/2 c vinegar and let it soak. Once the fizzing stops, run the disposal to clear it.

You may need to repeat this process a few times.

Next, follow it up by pouring a pan of boiling water down the disposal. Let it sit while it cools and drains.

Then clear it with warm water from the sink.

To conclude, cast iron skillets will last for many years if you take proper care of them. Besides, it’s simple to do with the above cleaning tips.

What is your favorite thing to cook in your cast iron pans?

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