How do you clean a cast iron pot?

Budget101 Discussion List Archives Tips-n-Tricks How do you clean a cast iron pot?

Viewing 43 reply threads
  • Author
    • #321699

      After you use a cast iron pot how do you clean it? I have ruined too many of them that I have quit using them. Soap/no soap..

      if no soap then how to get rid of the grease and the “yuck” . My pots start having a funky taste after a while or they rust.. any help will be greatly appreciated.

    • #442412

      Hi svidal, you never, ever “wash” cast iron with soaps. Detergents/soaps contain sulfides and bind to the oils in the skillet and strip them. Meaning if you use soap, you’ll have to reseason your skillet/pot Every single time or it will rust.

      Here’s the easiest way to clean it:

      1. Fill the pot with water to the line that you can still see stuck on food,
      2. bring it to a boil and gently boil 2 minutes.

      carefully carry the pot to the sink with the boiling water
      4. Using a wide spatula, scrap the sides of the pot to remove and remaining food scraps.
      5. dump the boiling water in the sink

      return the pot to the burner (with the burner off)
      7. wet a couple papertowels and wipe the surface of the pot, your paper towel will contain a dark layer of residue.
      8. Apply a thin coating of fat- shortening or vegetable oil, to give the pan back it’s smooth, glossy finish- don’t use an animal product- like lard- it will go rancid.

      Store it in a cool, dry place without a lid on it. Leaving the lid on causes moisture to accumulate, which is what causes your rust. If you’re worried about dust, cover it with a paper towel

      If you have rust you can cut a raw potato in half, dip the cut side in baking soda and scrub your skillet/pot. Rinse the pan well and re-season it.

    • #442429

      Thanks Baconeater. DH just bought 2 skillets for ribeyes and I didn’t want to ruin these also.

    • #442640

      I rinse my cast iron pots and pans with hot water and then scrub them with salt to get all the food particle off. Rinse again with hot water, dry and store.

    • #442670

      I was taught to first season by wiping with shortening and placing in the oven until it started to smoke. Then just wash with water and wipe again with shortening after each use. Also if there is a big build up of grease on the outside of the pan then you can burn it off in an open fire then re season in the oven again.

    • #442930

      I’ve had my cast iron pots for over twenty five years and they just keep getting better with age. I wash my pots and pans in the same soapy water that I use for all my other dishes. After I dry the cast iron, I let it sit on the stove top for about a half hour to let the air evaporate any residual moisture, then I rub it with a bit of veg oil.

      I think the most important thing with cast iron is to use it OFTEN and hang it up when not in use. Don’t leave it languishing in the cupboard or under the stove. Make it your “go-to” pot or frypan.

      The more you use it, the better it becomes. Mine is as good as a non-stick pan. My sister got mum’s cast iron frypan when mum passed away and it’s over 60 years old.

      The most frugal practice is to buy something that will last longer than you will.

    • #442978

      I use hot tap water (set to 145 degrees) and a scrub brush made for pots and pans.

      I run the water into the pan while scrubbing it until the surface is clean (I usually have several pans to do so I set it aside until I have scrubbed them all) then take a paper towel folded into about a 1.5″ square and wipe the water out then spray a little canola oil (not cooking spray) into each pan, refold the last fold the other way and spread the oil around the pan removing excess and put them away.

      Any lids I use I treat the same way. I have been doing this for nearly 40 years with pans that were made in the 1800s through the mid 1950s and they are better nonstick than any teflon I have ever seen.

    • #442983

      I just found a used cast iron fry pan, I washed it well with soap & water,even used a scrubber on it to get off cooked on yucky stuff. Then let it dry for about an hour. I then used some canola oil on paper towel and wiped the pan.

      let it sit for a bit. Then cooked eggs in it, they came out fine. Washed it again and re-oiled it.

      It’s ready for the next use!

    • #443624

      I never use soap on a cast iron pot. I’m with the boil water, scrape, wipe, and oil crowd. I thoroughly agree that a properly seasoned cast iron skillet is the best thing ever to cook with.

      you’ll never have a burger that tastes better than one cooked on a 100+ year old skillet!

    • #443799

      Soap and scrubbing has never been a problem, I do that daily to all my cast iron. Like several people have stated, let it air dry or put it on the stove to heat dry and hang it up.

      I’ve never met a cast iron pan that was truly ruined, unless it was cracked. They can be brought back to life!!!

      The quickest and most fun way to season a cast iron pan is to cook pop corn in it!!! Get a lid, any kind of lid, (glass ones are fun!) put a little oil in the bottom of the pan, get it smoking hot, put in a tablespoon or so of corn kernels, put the lid on, when they start popping, shake shake shake, when the pop corn is done, the pan is seasoned to perfection!

    • #443838

      I use hot water & soap. For build ups, I upose a chore girl to get rid of the muck. I reoil the pot & put it into the oven on 350 degrees & leave it about a half hour to reset it.

    • #443869

      Thanks for the tip on how to get the rust out. I found one setting in my grandmothers basement and was ready to throw it away.

    • #446854

      Cast iron is absolutely the best. Be careful as many discounters and Army/Navy surplus stores are selling inferior overseas made or “aluminum”! I only purchase Lodge brand. I never use soap; there is no need to.

      Just make sure to thoroughly dry by leaving the pan over the burner until very dry. You can coat with coconut oil to protect also; I’m trying to stay away for hydrogenated oils or shortenings. Ro

    • #446923

      First of all ….cast iron needs to be “greasy”. I use cast iron all the time , I got a griddle for Christmas this year … Never put soap in your cast iron.

      I use hot water and a metal scratcher. I think there called chore girl or boy. LOL If the food is really suck on, put it back on the stove and bring some water to a boil, this usually loosen any thing up.

      When my pans start to get a little sticky I make home made french frys, this seasons them. And always store your cast iron, sprayed with oil. My big old dutch over makes the best bread.

      Yum.. Once you get the hang of cast iron , you will never use any thing else. They are so darn heavy you even get a work out when you cook.

    • #447177

      For those cast iron pots that has a build up of many years worth of grease and scale, here is the way I was taught. Get a can of oven cleaner, a heavy duty garbage bag, protective gloves and eye protection. Spray the pan well, place in garbage bag.

      Seal for a couple of days. Use a brass brush(it won’t scratch the iron) brush it really good. If there is some areas that didn’t come clean, repeat the treatment on those areas.

      After the piece is cleaned to your satisfaction, it is time to season it. Preheat the oven to 125 F., this removes any moisture in the oven that could condense on your cast iron. Preheat the pot for 15 minutes or until hot.

      Remove and wipe down with shortening. I prefer Crisco. Back in the oven, raise the temp.

      to 225, heat for 30 minutes, remove and wipe any pooling of the shortening, leaving the pot shining wet. Timing is important, too long and the shortening will thicken. Replace the pot back in the oven for another 30 minutes, remove and cool down for a bit, then wipe it to a dull shine.

      The initial seasoning should be done now. The wrong way to clean cast iron are the folowing:
      Throw in a fire: could warp or crack the cast iron
      Self cleaning oven: the intense heat can warp or crack a skillet
      Sandblasting: A cardinal sin of cast iron lovers. I watched a fellow sandblast a Griswold 12″ skillet, turn it a dull gray…

    • #447272

      Hi, I still use my Grandmothers cast iron and I have been cleaning it the exact same way with lard/oil all these years. Its in perfect condition.

    • #447634

      I use cast iron every day… what I have been taught and have all ways did the same. never use soap, i use just hot water and a razor knife (if needed) right after i am done useing it.

      the out sides of mine are built up, i have been told to leave that alone. so have never touched those. after cleaned, i make sure it is dried and rub it with oil.

      seeing yours are new, they have to be treated, and it takes time and use for it to come around, but once it does, you will never use another fry pan. good luck.

      svidal;324595 wrote:
      Thanks Baconeater. DH just bought 2 skillets for ribeyes and I didn’t want to ruin these also.
    • #447887

      I was told 2 different ways to do them.
      1. Wash with hot water ( no soap ) and a stiff brush, and dry. Then lightly rub with oil.

      First wipe out any excess oil in pan. Then put in dry salt and clean with the salt. I use a paper towel when wiping around the salt.

      I like this method. I use a paper towel to lightly wipe with oil after I empty out the salt.

    • #447895

      I have over 12 cast iron pans. You cannot use soap on them to clean them. You must put some sort of oil, like vegetable oil on them after cleaning.

      So they don’t dry out

    • #447949

      I always wash mine in soap raise good the I dry it on the stove. and then I oil it.

    • #447996

      I wash mine strictly with hot water, a good scrubber, and I scrub it clean. No soap on my cast iron. After washing I set it on a burner on high until all the moisture comes out.

      I let it cool a bit until it’s just warm to the touch and wipe cooking oil on the inside with a paper towel until next I use it…which usually is only a few hours.

    • #449186

      @svidal 324381 wrote:

      After you use a cast iron pot how do you clean it? I have ruined too many of them that I have quit using them. Soap/no soap..

      if no soap then how to get rid of the grease and the “yuck” . My pots start having a funky taste after a while or they rust.. any help will be greatly appreciated.

      The Salt Method for Cleaning Cast Iron:

      Using a thick paste of warm vegetable oil and salt does a great job of bringing rusty cast iron pots and pans back to life. Following are the step to follow:

      Rub the cast iron pan with fine steel wool.

      Wipe out loose dirt and rust with a cloth. Repeat steps 1 and 2 until the pan is largely cleared of rust.

      Place the pan on the burner of your stove over medium-low heat. Add enough vegetable oil to coat the pan bottom heavily. Heat for 5 minutes or until the handle is too hot to touch.

      turn off the heat.

      Depending on the size of your cast iron pan, add approximately 2 to 4 tablespoons coarse salt to form a paste. The salt acts as an abrasive to gently srub any goop off the surface. Wearing a glove, scrub with a thick wad of paper towels, steadying the pan with a pot holder, scrub the pan, concentrating on the rusted spots but covering all surfaces with the oil and salt mixture.

      Add more salt or oil as needed.

      Wash the pan with hot water and dish washing soap. Rinse the pan thoroughly in hot water, wipe dry, and then coat with a thin film of vegetable oil, wiping off any excess oil with additional paper towels.

      To maintain your cast iron pan after cooking in it, using coarse sale and a paper towel, scrub the pan. Dump the salt out and rinse the cast iron pan in cold water. Wipe dry with a paper towel (if you still get a brown stain on the paper towel, dump more salt in and repeat the process), and then wipe a thin film of olive oil in the pan.

    • #449212

      Going to use this method in a moment! My hubby just made hashbrowns in two cast frying pans that are sitting on my stove waiting to be cleaned. Thank you for the info!

      I knew not to use soap, but had the same difficulties with stuck on foods, blackness or rust!

    • #449230

      Also consider “seasoning” it regularly. Again apply a thin layer of crisco or vegetable oil with a papaer towel, then bake it on 200 for at least 30 minutes. I went to housekeeping with mine 42 years ago and still use it regularly.

      I guess they will bury me with it. LOL but my daughter wants it so maybe not .

    • #449615

      Try this website! Thats what I did with my cast iron pans and it works veeeeery well! Its not something you can do it 15 minutes time, but its well worth the wait!

      I Believe I Can Fry: Reconditioning & Re-Seasoning Cast Iron Cookware

    • #449929

      @svidal 324595 wrote:

      Thanks Baconeater. DH just bought 2 skillets for ribeyes and I didn’t want to ruin these also.

      After each use i turn burner on high heat up cast iron ,add some cold water not much use stainless steel pad to scrub use pot holders so you wont get burned empty in sink rinse in cold water put back on the burner untill dry you can wipe with paper towel to speed things up oh i also spray a little pam wipe with paper towel man what a shine,it is easy to do fast and the heat kills anything bad ,had a few people ask about my cast iron on how i keep it so nice looking over the years.

    • #450999

      I have found drying in a warm oven is key … Whether I wash with soapy water or just hot water and wipe down depending on what was cooked

    • #451149

      I have an old (really big!) cast iron skillet that my great grandfather bought my Mom when I was a kid. My Mom used it to fry chicken in. I used it for many years until the inside started flaking off.

      How can I fix it? I would love to be able to use it again.

    • #451296

      If you have food sticking, you need to re-cure the pot. My Granny had a better way for stopping stickiness tho. You clean your pot.

      .. In boiling hot water with steel wool – soap is a big no-no! Once put is clean fill it half to 3/4ths full of Potatoe peelings, fill the pot with water (cover your peelings), bring water to boil on stove top.

      Reduce heat and simmer for6 to 8 hours (refill water as it evaporates). The potato skins will turn black. Drain water & discard potato skins, allow put to cool.

      Clean with hot water & steel wool. Rinse. Put drained put on stove & heat to evaporate amy water.

      Once dry, dip a paper towel in bacon grease & coat the warm cast iron pot/skillet with the bacon grease. My Granny’s family will build a hot fire & put all cast iron skillets & pots in once a year to clean or cure the cast iron.

    • #451622

      Cast iron is all I cook in, hope you enjoy yours as much as I do mine!! I never use soap on mine, fill with very hot water (my water heater is set to 160F), let soak til burned bits are loose, wash with scrubby sponge, dry water and oils off with dish towels (don’t air dry), and put away til next time… works like a charm 🙂

    • #452938

      You can never ruin a cast iron pot, pan, skillet ever. From many years of cooking, I have learned the best way is to clean the pot/pan dry in the oven making sure the oven is hot enough to warm the skillet enough to melt some Crisco. Wipe out all the rust that has accumulated, wipe the Crisco completely sides and bottom.

      Leave the skillet in the oven until the Crisco is completely melted, leave it there for a day or so. Repeat if it is not seasoned as well as you would like, but do not was it before the second treatment.

    • #452953

      “I have ruined too many of them that I have quit using them.” Well, here’s an old man’s 2 cents worth. The only skillets my Momma had were cast iron.

      I still have and use them, regularly, to this day, including her cornbread skillet. The only skillet or pot that I haven’t washed with dawn and cold water is the cornbread skillet. the finish on cornbread skillets is very delicate and the most that has ever been done to it is wiped out with a dish towel after it cooled off.

      the best way to wash a frying skillet is with cold water while the skillet is hot… as soon as the cooking contents are removed. no matter how you wash it, a thin film of bacon grease is essential in keeping your cast iron utensils healthy.

      i keep bacon grease in the refrigerator for cooking. if the utensil is cold ok, but it works best if it is warm. get a little bg on a paper towel and rub down bottom and sides.

      so far as ruining a cast iron utensil, that’s really hard to do unless you break it. if you have some you think are “ruined’ send me an email about what’s wrong with them and i think i can help you fix them. happy trails, god bless.

      br. john

    • #453077

      I have always washed my cast iron pans and pots with soap and get them really clean. I use a scrubbie if they got really gunky. Rinse them really well then pop them back on the stove and heat the pans till all water has evaporated and the pan is dry.

      Turn off the heat and let cool. If they have a spot that food sticks to it means the “seasoning” is gone. To season a cast iron pan you apply a thin coat of grease (shortning, lard.

      oil) to the pan when you shut off the heat from drying. let sit it will seep into the pours of the pan and help food to not stick. I f you have a new cast iron pan ” after the first wash and dry on the stove, apply a thin coat of grease on all the surfaces top and bottom, place in a 300 degree oven for an hour then turn off the oven and let cool.

      If it still sticks repeat. Soon you will have a wonderful pan that will retain heat cook evenly and never rust. I have done this same procedure when I got rusted cast iron at a garage sale. Couple of seasoning treatments and they are back in shape.

      Hope this helps.

    • #453209

      Actually I find the best thing is to just leave them dirty and not clean them till you’re just about to use them. Especially if you used them for something greasy. I never ever use soap of any kind on mine.

      To scrub them I use very hot water and a pot scrubber, and a bit of salt if they need something more. If I’m not using them right away I coat them inside and out with coconut oil or lard. They’re all really non-stick but if that ever starts to disappear I bake them in the oven for a couple hours at about 450F.

    • #453310

      I wash mine also then put it back on the fire to make sure it is completely dry to prevent rust. You have to use them on a regular basis to keep them seasoned and they just get better with time. I prefer my cast pans even tho they are heavy.
      If you have high iron in your blood you need to avoid using cast iron pans.

    • #453581

      I line my cast iron pot with newspaper to prevent rusting

    • #453789

      I’ve had really good luck cleaning cast iron with salt, you use it to scrub off the rust and then reseason the pan.

    • #453858

      Once you get a cast iron pan ‘seasoned’ it really doesn’t take much to keep it looking good. If you cook eggs or gravy in a cast iron pan you need to clean it right away. ok to use a little soap, not much, and clean the pan…..then put it on a hot burner to dry.

      that’s the trick…clean it, then put it on a hot burner to dry.
      if yours is still not well seasoned then after you clean it, spray a little pam or rub oil/shortening inside the pan then set it on a hot burner to dry.
      if you don’t dry it on he buner before you put it up then you end up with rust.

    • #454302

      If your pan is rusty or all caked up, put them in a self cleaning oven and clean the oven with the pans inside. They will come out good as new, ready to season. You can also clean your cast iron grill grates when needed.

    • #454974

      Scrub them clean like any pan, put it on the stove turbo the burner on high put a tablespoon of oil in pan with a generous sprinkle of salt watch it until it is dry and rub in the oil and salt with a paper towel. And that is how I was taught to clean an iron pot of any kind.

    • #454979

      Just sharing that the DH found four cast iron pans in a dumpster area that were so rusted and nasty looking. I used the salt and scrubbed them like crazy, treated them in the oven and we just sold them for $30. I already have a nice set so didn’t need these so remember to keep your eyes open sometimes people don’t realize that cast iron can be revived.

    • #456312

      Immediately after cooking take out the food wipe out excess liquid fat
      take to sink add hot water with a clean cloth wipe out excess residue rinse really well
      return to hot burner dry with paper towel if cast iron has lost the seasoning wipe a tablespoon of oil all over the dry pan Remove from burner place upside down in your oven 350 for 1 hour turn off oven leave it in over night
      In the morning you have a cool, freshly seasoned pan.
      no this job can not wait or you will have a ruined pan.

    • #457667

      1st & foremost, make sure you “season” the skillet before use. (even if it says preseasoned). preheat your oven to 500.

      Use Vegetable shortening or cooking oil and spread it liberally in the pan, sides included. Now, place the skillet in this smoking hot oven for 30 min. then, do not remove but rather turn the oven off and let it sit until completely cold.

      take it out when completely cooled and run the hottest tap water you can in the pan & mildly scrub with a brush or teflon pad. do not use a steel wool pad as this will cause rust. now, lightly oil up your skillet & fire up the burner, put pan back over the heat until it’s hot about 3-4 min. (NEVER, never leave a greasy pan unattended on a flame) Let it cool slightly and rub all the excess oil out with a paper towel.

      Your skillet is ready to fry baby fry!!! If you will follow the second step each time after use, it wil last a lifetime.

    • #458292

      Please do not wash cast iron with soap, or stoneware for that matter. they are porous and will absorb the fragrance and taste. i washed my cast iron immediately after meals.

      not letting them stand and get hard is best. worst thing you can do is cook tomatoes in cast iron. the acid will take the finish off the pans. when i was in charge of a girl scout trailer, i found leaders soaking the pans in soap water to clean them.

      they lost their finish. my neighbor sand blasted them back to the bare metal and i started over seasoning them with a backyard fire and shortening. my home ones were cleaned with hot water and scrubbies.

      i let them dry upside down in my oven. when they begin to lose their shine, i take a paper towel with shortening on it and wipe them down. best time to do this was after i was done baking something and i could leave them in the oven to “cure.”

      please use stainless for tomato based soups and stews and save the cast iron for frying and roasting. i gave my set up when i moved and ended up with a glass topped range. i miss my gas range.

Viewing 43 reply threads
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

Budget101 Discussion List Archives Tips-n-Tricks How do you clean a cast iron pot?