How to clean a cast iron skillet?

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Some myths about cast iron skillets debunked

Myth 1: You should avoid using soap for cleaning a cast iron skillet.

Fact: Using soap for cleaning the cast iron skillet wouldn’t harm your pan at all while you remove the dirt from the pan.

Myth 2: Soaking the cast iron skillet in water would help in removing the stains easily without damaging it.

Fact: Soaking the iron cast skillet would damage the seasoning and you would need to re-season it again. For stubborn stains, use soap and water directly to wash and avoid soaking.

Myth 3: Seasoning a cast iron skillet requires hard work

Fact:For re-seasoning the cast iron skillet, all you need to do is rinse the skillet with water and soap and rub it with any oil with a paper towel.

Myth 4: There is no use of warming the cast iron skillet for a long time for cooking.

Fact: Cast iron takes time to heat up. Hence, you need to warm it for a longer time compared to other pans and utensils which takes approximately 10 mins.

Myth 5: One should avoid using any metal utensils along with cast iron.

Fact: Cast iron can be used with any other metals which include the metal utensils as it doesn’t have any kind of chemical coating which would flake while using.

Cast Iron Skillet – Introduction

Love using the wide range of cast iron skillet for making delicious dishes? But the question how to clean a cast iron skillet disturbs you? Don’t worry, you are not the only user thinking of this. The cast iron skillets are too loved for their nonstick surface, value and the robust durability they come with. But there are very few who know that the cast iron can easily be restored again if damaged.

Basically, when it comes to cleaning the cast iron skillet, it isn’t limited to simply cleaning it. It is much more than only cleaning. It also includes priming the top shape so that further seasoning becomes easy. This is a natural process of maintaining the skillet and improving its performance.

How to clean a cast iron skillet?

No doubt, the cast iron comes with a reputation of difficulty in cleaning, it is still easy to clean, maintain and season the skillet by following particular steps. Here are various steps on how to clean and season a cast iron skillet that would make your complicated cleaning easy and quick.

1. Cleaning the skillet

When it comes to cleaning cast iron skillet, this can easily be done by wiping the skillet with the help of a paper towel that is dry or even a dry cloth. If the skillet is properly seasoned, there is food stuck on it or there are burnt bits on the skillet, wiping it with a paper towel would remove all these giving you a clean skillet. But if they are much stubborn, using a plastic spatula for scraping it would be an ideal way to clean it.If dry cleaning doesn’t work, you can also go for cleaning the skillet using some water along with scrubber.

For washing the skillet, here is what you need to do:

  • Take the skillet and place it in the sink.
  • Add some warm water in the to the skillet around a ½
  • Sprinkle coarse salt about a half cup to the warm water.
  • Immediately take a nylon scrubbing pad and wash the skillet.
  • Rinse the skillet using water for preventing it from rusting.

The salt acts similar to abrasive for cutting the remaining on the skillet.

2. Cleaning with soapy water

Generally, when it comes to how to clean a cast iron skillet with burnt on it, drizzling the skillet with any handy oil and a clean cloth works magically. You can simply take any cloth or paper towel and fold it. Sprinkle the oil in the skillet and wait for a minute or two. Wipe out the oil and both the oil and remaining would be cleaned.

For the messy skillets, using some soapy water for cleaning is also advisable. Here is how you can use the soapy water for cleaning.

  • Take the skillet and fill it using some warm water.
  • Now add some soapy liquid to the water. Scrub the skillet with a steel pad or any metal chain scrub.
  • Wait for around 10 minutes and rinse using water. For drying, use the oven.

If required, after drying in the oven you can also add some drops of oil and wipe it.

3. Seasoning the skillet

The best answer to how to wash a cast iron skillet is seasoning it which helps in maintaining the skillet too. For the first time users, seasoning would help in keeping the pan clean and prevents the food from sticking. It also protects the skillet from rusting. Here is how you can season the skillet.

  • Switch on the oven and preheat it at around 350 degrees.
  • Wipe the skillet using any handy oil or vegetable oil and a paper towel.
  • Place the skillet in the preheated oven for around an hour.
  • Remove the skillet and allow it to cool a little.
  • Add some more drops of oil on the skillet, wait for some minutes and wipe off.

This process will not only help you in maintaining the texture of the skillet but would also help in protecting it from getting ruined in the first-time usage.

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4. Removing the rust from the cast iron skillet

While using the cast iron skillet, no matter how much cleaning you carry out, rust is sure to knock the skillet once. This is the time when the seasoning becomes damaged or dull which rusts the skillet very badly and you will have to overhaul it properly. Here is the answer to how to clean a rusty cast iron skillet.

  • Firstly, take the cast iron skillet and strip it properly. Also, preheat the oven at 500 degrees while you strip the skillet.
  • Once the seasoning of the skillet is stripped off, rub around 1 tbsp of oil on the surface using a paper towel.
  • With the help of the paper towels, remove the excess oil from the skillet or surface which gives the skillet surface a smooth and dark appearance.
  • Place the skillet in the oven for around 1 hour.
  • Remove it from the oven and allow it to cool down completely.

If required, you can repeat this process for around 6 times until you get a smooth and dark finishing.

Hence, these were some quick ways of cleaning or washing the skillet by protecting it too.

What needs to be avoided for maintaining the cast iron skillet?

When it comes to how to clean a cast iron skillet, only cleaning is not enough. There are certain things you need to avoid for having a healthy skillet. The cast iron skillet is good for searing meat, vegetables, crisping rice while frying it, baking, etc. But when it comes to cooking particular dishes, it’s a big NO. Avoid any kind of liquid, water or even acid as this can result in rust. Avoid using citrus, vinegar,and even tomatoes to keep your cast iron skillet in a maintained structure.

How to store the cast iron skillet?

Along with working on how to clean a rusty cast iron skillet, it is also important to properly store the skillet for proper maintenance. The cast iron skillet is quite heavy and hence, it can be a little tricky to store it. Hence, a better way to store the skillet is by hanging it with a proper hook regarding heavy gauge. Again, storing them on the shelf in the stacked position along with the paper towel which is placed in between the skillets or pans is also another good way of storing it. No matter whatever method you carry out for storing the skillet, it is sure to keep them safe without disturbing the seasoning.

Hence, cleaning cast iron skillet, seasoning it properly and storing it would help in properly maintaining the surface of the skillet. Again, for seasoning, nearly all the natural oils are used but compared to the vegetable oils, the flax seeds come up with good results as they contain polyunsaturated fats, monosaturated fats and saturated fats that play a vital role in giving you a smooth and dark seasoning texture. Again, remember the best way to remove the rust is to protect your skillet from getting it. So, keep your skillet properly maintained and enjoy recipes with a healthy touch.

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