How To Clean Cast Iron Cookware

How to Wash and Care For Seasoned Cast Iron

It’s seasoned and it’s non-stick… Now what? The more you use your seasoned cookware, the more non-stick it will become. However, to keep it that way you have to wash it properly.

When I was growing up my mother always used SOS pads to wash the cast iron skillets. She taught me to wash them that way too. I hated cooking with cast iron because everything stuck to it and cleaning it up was a pain in the neck.

Once I learned how to season it and wash it properly, I’ve never had a problem with it since, and I’ve never bought another SOS pad.

So how do you wash a properly seasoned cast iron skillet?

It’s simple. Wash your seasoned cast iron in very warm water (as warm as your hands can stand) and use only a plastic scrubber. Do not use soap. Do not use a dish cloth. Do not use a copper scrubber or one of those green scrubbers. All of those will remove the seasoning and you will have to season the cookware all over again.

You will be amazed at how easily the cast iron cleans with this method once it is seasoned. The only thing I ever have problems with are scrambled eggs and only then if I have used a pan that was not fully seasoned. The plastic scrubbers take even scrambled eggs right out.

You will notice that water bubbles off your cast iron and that it does not stay wet as long as it did before it was seasoned. You will want to allow the cast iron to air dry, again because using a dish towel wipes out the oil that you have seasoned it with.

But overall, you will have cookware that is much better than the non-stick pans and won’t leave any of the chemical residue so many warn us of from use of those pans. The iron from the cast iron is not harmful and is a naturally occurring nutrient in our foods.

You will want to store all your cast iron cookware together because of the seasoning. This is another reason to keep the outsides wiped with oil occasionally as stacking pans inside each other will cause rust without the oil coating. Do not leave them so coated with oil, however, that they cause a fire when you put them on the stove. Make sure that all the excess oil is wiped clean before storing or cooking.

Now that you have learned how to season, wash, and care for your cast iron cookware, I hope that you get a lot of enjoyment out of using it daily when you cook. You can even bake safely with it.

Utensils For Cast Iron Cookware

When you are cooking with the current, modern idea of non-stick cookware, you are supposed to use either rubber or plastic, or wooden utensils so you don’t scratch the surface of the cookware. Scratched non-stick cookware is no longer non-stick, and it is said to leach harmful chemicals into your foods. Just check out our article on stainless steel vs cast iron cookware for some facts.

With cast iron you don’t have to worry about scratching the surface or about harmful chemicals leaching into the food. You can use any type of utensil that you wish to use when cooking with the best cast iron. It will just depend on what you are cooking, not what you are using to cook in.

Of course, for fried eggs, you might need a specific type of spatula to be able to flip the egg over without breaking the yolk. I have found that the rubber, plastic, or wood spatulas are too thick to do this well.

The best spatulas I have found for making eggs over easy are very thin metal spatulas. Even many of the more modern metal spatulas can be too thick. I am lucky and still use the spatula my mother used way back when I was still a child. It is cracked slightly at one of the rivets and I treat it very gently so I can keep it around many more years. I’ve only found a few spatulas in the stores that work for me with eggs.

If you are lucky enough to find a thin metal spatula, take good care of it. In fact, I have found that my spatula is pretty well seasoned from years of use and if I wash it the same way I wash the skillets, I have very little trouble cleaning it. Sometimes I do have to break down and use the copper scrubber on the spatula, but not often.

Most of my skillets are as old or older than that spatula. Can you say that about products manufactured today?

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