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How To Wash Your Cast Iron Pan

After you're done cooking with your cast iron pan, it needs to be hand-washed without soap. Here's what to do:




The idea of washing a pan without using soap makes some people nervous. The science of chemistry explains that using heat to dry the pan after rinsing sterilizes it. You've basically boiled everything on the pan, and that's why you don't need soap. This is one reason why it's best to cook with your cast iron pan at a very high heat. The high temperature will kill harmful bacteria and give your food a clean sear. (Also, soap doesn't kill germs. Soap just cuts grease, which is why it's not recommended for seasoned cast iron.)

See also: Seasoning Your Cast Iron Pan

How to Clean a REALLY Dirty Cast Iron Pan


Here is a #10 Griswold cast iron skillet. This pan was used to make Coq au Vin, the wonderful French dish of chicken stewed in wine. An important part of the recipe calls for boiling the chicken in wine, in order to reduce the wine to a thick sauce. This provides a delicious flavor…but as you can see, it results in a cooking pan coated with greasy sauce. What's more, this pan was left on the stove overnight, and the coating hardened to a thick, gelatinous consistency. To simply scrub this pan out would require enormous effort…or so you might think. In fact, a simple method removes cooked-on grime from most cast iron pans with little effort at all.







(Larger high-quality photos can be found on Facebook's Cast Iron Cooking group: Cleaning a Dirty Griswold Cast Iron Skillet.)

Return to our section on cast iron cooking.

Lodge Cast Iron offers their own video guide to washing a cast iron pan:

How To Wash Lodge Cast Iron

On YouTube: