How can I clean cast iron pots?
My techniques is to hand wash (using very little or no soap) and rinse, I then dry the pan on top of the stove on a warm burner and lastly I always finish off by coating the pan with cooking oil then wiping the oil around with a paper towel while the pan is hot. Lastly, I'll stack my oiled pans on top of each other in the cupboard with a paper towel placed between them. Most people will say to not use dishwashing soap and to just wipe the pan out when you're done. But you can't always do this and sometimes you need to actually wash them with a little soap. Always dry the pan thoroughly and wipe it with a little oil to help avoid rust.
Don't use your cast iron pans to cook things like spaghetti sauce in without coating them with oil after washing! Sauces (especially spaghetti sauce) will remove the baked on "seasoning". and the seasoning can sometimes take many, many uses (or years) to acquire. You can also bake your pan with Crisco smeared over the whole pan then place the pan in your oven at a low temperature (like 150 - 200 degrees) for an hour or more then turn off the oven and leave the pan in the hot oven until it cools to absorb the Crisco. This baking technique can help season or re-season your pans.
* Cast iron also puts a little iron into your food! You can't get a better pan for most cooking! (05/11/2009)
I agree totally with Cyinda. That's just what I do with mine. My stepson will not allow detergent of any kind in his so I feel they're never really clean but his kids are healthy so who's to say! I DO wash mine and always will. (05/11/2009)
I collect cast iron skillets. It is my favorite choice. To remove years of baked on crud: leave it in your self cleaning oven next time you run it. This will bake off all the years of accumulation. It will look rusted, grey...as all the seasoning is gone. Wash it in soapy water, wipe dry with paper towels. Using a strip of bacon, rub the inside with the bacon fat until it is well oiled. Place it in the oven, lowest temp for at least 6 hours. This should reseason it for you. I wash mine in soapy water after each use, just quickly and wipe with paper towels and store upside down. (05/12/2009)
I have read that you should never use dish soap. Here are the tools I use.
Always clean it when it is HOT. Most everything comes right off. Use Hot water. If something is really stuck on I use kosher salt to scrub. Sprinkle on the kosher salt (large crystals and use a half a lemon like a sponge. Make sure to dry throughly and then oil. This will help keep your cast iron well seasoned. (05/13/2009)
I have for a while cleaned mine with a mild liquid hand soap, fast and rinse. Then I put in on a burner upside down and heat it till it's completely dry. I use mine for really searing meat and the stuff gets burned on. While I am doing dishes, I put some water in it and heat the water on the stove till it is almost boiling, let it sit till I am done with everything else, then dump and wash like I said. This works really great and I love these pans. (05/13/2009)
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