How to clean a cast iron pan? – It would help if you did not clean cast iron pans in a dishwasher, as their natural protective layer may be lost, and the patina may be getting destroyed.
It is also not recommended to clean cast iron pans with dishwashing detergent, as this will damage the surface of the cast iron pan, which makes the pans very susceptible to rust.
Cast iron pans treated with a washing-up liquid usually look very dull and dull afterward. Besides, the surface can also be destroyed by preparing very acidic foods, such as tomatoes for a tomato sauce, which makes it necessary to re-burn.
Cast-iron pans must not be getting cleaned with scouring sponges either, as this will destroy the patina that gives cast-iron pan dishes their characteristic flavor.
Lets us look in-depth on how to clean a cast-iron pan the best way.
A related video about “how to clean a CAST IRON PAN after cooking” here to watch.
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Table of Contents
How to clean a cast iron pan? – Cleaning cast iron pans properly – Tips and household remedies
You can clean a cast iron pan in different ways. However, you should always try to prevent the dirt from getting in: wipe the residue out of the pan immediately after use and rinse it with hot water. It will save you work, time, and nerves later.
- If something has stuck, pour hot water directly into the pan and add a small detergent drop. Then place the cast iron pan back on the still hot plate and leave it to stand for a while. Then you can remove the dirt with a sponge.
- For more stubborn stains, soda is beneficial: After boiling, add some water and a level tablespoon of soda to the pan, let it cook briefly, and then wipe the pan.
- Alternatively, add a little salt to the cast iron pan and gently rub it clean.
- For very stubborn cases, you can also carefully use the ceramic hob scraper.
- It is also particularly helpful if you burn the food leftovers. Set your oven to 250 degrees and put the pan in the oven for about an hour. The charred remains will turn to ashes, which you can easily remove.
Tip: No matter which cleaning method you choose, there are two things you should avoid: Firstly, you should never clean the cast iron pan in the dishwasher, and secondly, you should not leave the cast iron pan in water for long periods. In both cases, there is a risk that the pan will quickly become rusty.
Burn-in dirty cast iron pans
If you have fought too hard against burnt-in food leftovers, you may have damaged the patina. However, you do not have to do much to restore an entirely non-stick surface:
- First, rub the cast iron pan with oil. Cheap rapeseed or olive oil is already suitable for this. The ground of the pan should be covered entirely.
- After you have placed the pan in the oven, set the temperature to about 200 degrees.
- Wait a good hour before removing the pan from the oven.
- When the pan has cooled down, repeat the procedure. Afterward, the surface is getting restored.
In contrast to iron & steel pans, cast iron pans are relatively easy to clean. It should be getting noted that a cast iron pan with a wooden handle does not belong in the oven.
It would be best if you also refrain from storing food in the pan for extended periods. It applies to acidic dishes like vinegar, lemon juice, wine, etc..
Otherwise, the long-lasting reaction of the acid with the iron could lead to impairments in taste and discoloration, which are utterly harmless to health.
Caring Cast Iron Pan Correctly
Occasional subsequent greasing improves the frying properties of your cast iron pan. Use standard cooking oil or margarine for after greasing.
Spread this in the pan and dry out using the residual heat from the stove or oven. If necessary, ensure that the room is well ventilated.
After the pan has cooled down, remove excess grease.
Things To Avoid When Using A Cast Iron Pan
You don’t burn your cast-iron skillet
So that nothing burns in a cast-iron pan, it must first be burnt in. Even if the manufacturer of your pan states that it has already been treated or is pre-seasoned, you should take the time to do this yourself.
When baking, you fill the porous structure of the cast iron and create a smooth surface that gets better and harder with each use.
Experts recommend baking on the stove as opposed to baking in the oven. How you proceed:
- Wipe the pan thoroughly with a dry cloth.
- Place it on the stove and pour a little sip of vegetable oil into the pan. Linseed oil is best suited for this purpose because it decomposes quickly. If you use other oils, it will take a little longer.
- Wipe the cast iron pan with a regular paper towel, spreading the oil evenly and removing excess fat.
- Now heat the pan to the highest level until smoke is getting formed.
- Repeat this process three to four times (not necessarily directly after each other), and you will be getting rewarded with a beautiful patina and an excellent non-stick layer.
You cook strongly acidic food in your cast iron pan
Acidic foods such as tomatoes, vinegar, and co. will attack the pan, and a metallic taste may develop if the cast-iron pan has not been thoroughly getting burnt in.
If you cook these foods for a more extended time, e.g., if you cook a tomato sauce in the pan, the laboriously built up non-stick layer can be attacked.
You clean your cast iron pan in the dishwasher
It is tedious to wash up after cooking and eating, and the invention of the dishwasher is one of the best of humankind but not for cast iron pans. You have to wash the pan by hand because the dishwasher attacks the patina and can even cause rust.
As an emergency solution in acute dislike, you can first wipe the pan with kitchen towels. If you have more time and leisure, rinse the pan thoroughly with warm water and dry it with a soft cloth.
You can even use some washing-up liquid to remove stubborn food residue. A well-baked and often used cast iron pan will not do this. Just oil it a little afterward.
If you do not prefer to use detergent in your pan, you can also use coarse-grained salt to clean it. Put a spoonful of it in the still-warm pan and rub it with a kitchen towel until everything is clean. Then wash the pan with warm water and rub dry.
You do not let your cast iron pan dry sufficiently
You were exemplary and rinsed your cast-iron pan with water? Then you must now show patience. Do not just put the pan in the cupboard, but let it dry thoroughly. Otherwise, you risk unsightly rust spots.
Are you short in time, in a hurry, or want to be sure? Then place the iron pan on the stove over medium heat for about five minutes. The remaining moisture evaporates, and you can put the pan away as soon as it has cooled down.
You let your cast iron pan soak
If you have burnt or stubborn food leftovers, there is a strong temptation to soak the pan in water overnight.
Resist, because rust threatens. Instead, boil some water in the pan to dissolve the food. Then clean the pan as usual.
Cool your cast iron pan with cold water
The pan is still boiling, and you want to clean it quickly? Well, don’t get cold water on it. The thermal shock will cause the iron to warp.
It is better to start with hot water and slowly turn it lukewarm until you can clean the pan painlessly.
Cast iron pans are very robust, and if you follow these tips, you will enjoy your pan for a long time – some of them are even getting inherited.
Correct cleaning after use is necessary – In general, it is sufficient to wipe the cast iron pan with a kitchen towel immediately after use. It’s getting recommended to clean the pan quickly after use, as it is easiest to clean in this state.
Browned pieces that are still in the pan can be removed, for example, with a metal spatula. If cooked food is only getting discovered when the pan has cooled down completely, hot water can help to remove dried up residue.
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