How to Clean Cast Iron Skillet After Use

Cleaning your cast iron cookware is an essential part of caring for it. But how often should you do it? And what’s the best way to clean it? Cleaning your cast iron cookware doesn’t have to be difficult – follow a few simple steps to learn how to clean cast iron skillets after use.

Cast iron skillets are one of the most versatile and durable cookware options available. They are an excellent investment for your kitchen because they can be used for cooking everything. From frying eggs and bacon to making delicious sausage gravy and a scrumptious Sunday pot roast dinner.

Caring for Cast Iron

Cast iron skillets come with many benefits that make them worth investing in. They are durable, non-stick, and come with a natural non-stick coating when seasoned correctly.

They also provide superior heat retention and distribution, perfect for cooking at high temperatures or searing meat on the stovetop.

Cast iron skillets are an excellent cooking tool. They are durable and can last for a lifetime. However, the pan can become dirty and difficult to clean when food is cooked after use and not cleaned properly.

clean cast iron skillet after use

Do You Clean a Cast-Iron Skillet After Each Use?

Cast iron skillets should be cleaned after each use. The best way to care for your cast iron skillet is to clean it properly after each use. This post will show you the steps you need to take to ensure that your skillet lasts for many years.

Kitchen Essentials You may Need

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You can find my favorite essentials can be located on my Amazon storefront. While I often try to link to the exact products you see in my photos and videos, my pieces are usually vintage and thrifted. However, I try to find and connect replicas as much as possible, made in the USA or by other small shops, as I believe in supporting hardworking American families.

  • Dish Soap: a gentle, non-abrasive dish soap. I like using a solid dish soap that is made with few ingredients.
  • Cast Iron Scrub Brush: a cast iron scrub brush has a built-in pan scraper to remove the toughest baked-on bits of food residue without removing the pan’s seasoning.
  • Salt: sprinkle a little bit of kosher salt into the skillet to help remove stuck-on food bits.
  • Nylon Pan Scrubber: This pan scraper tool is excellent for cleaning and scraping the build-up of food that can occur on an iron skillet. 
  • Oil: You want one high in polyunsaturated fats such as organic, cold-pressed grapeseed oil and organic linoleic sunflower oil, which are the best oils to season cast iron skillet cookware.
  • Paper Towels or Dry Clean Cloth: Used for drying a cast iron skillet after washing and rubbing the oil into the skillet.

How Do You Clean Cast Iron After Cooking?

Cast iron skillet is a must-have for any kitchen. It can go from stovetop to oven, and the food cooks evenly and tastes great. But, it needs to be adequately cleaned. Here are five easy steps to clean your cast iron skillet after use the right way:

Step 1: Allow the Skillet to Cool

Once you have finished cooking in the cast iron skillet, remove it from the burner and allow it to cool. Then, remove any excess food with a wooden spatula.

Step 2: Clean the Skillet

There are several ways to clean cast iron skillets, but washing by hand with warm water and a small amount of gentle dish soap is the most common.

To clean the skillet, try to avoid harsh chemicals and steel wool – instead, use a soft scrubber or dish towel to remove oils and dirt with hot water. This will keep seasoning intact. Once clean, rinse the pan with warm water.

Sometimes the seasoning on the pan will wear off, which means that the food might stick to it. To get rid of food residue, wait until your pan has cooled, and then scrub it with coarse salt using a nylon pan scrubber or chainmail scrubbers.

Step 3: Dry the Skillet

After rinsing, dry the cast iron skillet entirely with a dishtowel. Then put it on the top of the stove and turn the heat to low for a few minutes to ensure all the moisture evaporates.

Care for Cast Iron after Use

Step 4: Oil the Skillet

Add a light layer of oil (about a 1/4 teaspoon of oil) to the skillet and set it on low to medium heat. Use a dry paper towel or other dry cloth to rub the oil into the skillet’s surface.

Heat the skillet until the oil starts to smoke, then turn off the heat and let the pan cool to room temperature. Once the skillet is cool, wipe off any excess fat with another dry cloth or clean paper towel.

This process is called seasoning the skillet and will create a nonstick surface on your skillet that also helps prevent the skillet from rusting.

Best Oil for Cast Iron

Step 5: Store the Cast Iron Skillet

To avoid rusting, it’s essential to keep your cookware in a dry place with the lids off. Leaving cast-iron cookware in a damp or humid environment can cause rust to form on the surface and eventually ruin your pan.

Follow this post with tips and ideas to make sure you’re storing your cast iron pan properly so it will be ready when you need it.

The Don’ts of Cast Iron Skillet Cleaning

  • Avoid the Dishwasher: Cleaning cast iron pans in the dishwasher will cause them to rust and deteriorate faster than if they were cleaned by hand. Dishwasher detergents are harsh on the metal, causing it to lose its protective coating, which will make it vulnerable to rusting.
  • Don’t Let the Pan Soak: When you soak your cast iron in water, rust will form, and your cookware’s non-stick surface will erode. Make sure to dry your cast iron thoroughly after each use and avoid soaking it.
  • Avoid Thermal Shock: If you just cooked something in a cast iron pan, don’t take the pan off the stove and put it in cold water to cool it down. The temperature difference could cause thermal shock, warping, or cracking of your skillet or pan.

Should I Oil My Cast Iron After Every Use?

After each use, to get the most out of your cast-iron skillet, it is best practice to apply a thin layer of oil on the surface. Regularly oiling your cast iron skillet will provide a protective layer to the surface and help keep it from rusting.

What is the Best Oil to Season Cast Iron

The best oil for seasoning cast iron and other cast-iron cookware is one high in polyunsaturated fats. Oils such as organic, cold-pressed grapeseed oil, and organic linoleic sunflower oil are the best oil to season cast iron.

Another excellent option for seasoning oil is to purchase a high-quality pre-made blend. My personal favorite is the Seasoning Oil from Field Company. It is a mix of beeswax, organic grapeseed oil, and organic sunflower oil.

How To Maintain Your Cast-Iron Skillet After Use?

Cast iron is one of the most durable materials, but it needs to be cared for to maintain its quality. The key is to prevent any rust from forming and keep the surface as nonstick as possible.

If you stick to a routine of cleaning your cast iron skillet after use, you will have a natural non-stick surface achieved by cleaning and oiling your skillet.

My Favorite Cast Iron Cookware and Supplies

A cast-iron skillet is a must-have for any kitchen. They are durable, functional, and also have aesthetic value. Features that you should think about are the weight, size, and shape of the pan, as well as its handle design.

  • Field Company: I have owned quite a few cast iron pans and dutch ovens, but these are the best! They are the lightest cast iron pans I have ever used and come pre-seasoned, which is fantastic. These pans are incredibly smooth to cook with and hold heat well.
  • Seasoning Oil: I used to buy individual bottles of oil. However, after discovering this seasoning oil, I use it to protect my cast iron and build a naturally non-stick seasoning.
can you use soap on cast iron

I have put together several posts that relate to cast iron skillet care. I hope you’ll find this list helpful! I have been cooking with cast iron skillets for over 20 years, and since then, I have learned a lot about the best ways to take care of them.

Thank you for sharing!

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