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Cleaning an Iron Skillet

I have a lovely old cast iron skillet. I know soap isn't supposed to be used to clean it but how in the world do I scrub off the baked and cooked on mess and know that the pan is clean? What material can I use to 'scrub' my iron skillet besides a sponge or washcloth? I need some thing abrasive.

Also, has anyone had any success in fying eggs in their skillet? My mother swears by it but mine just scorch and well ... now I need help cleaning it off!

Thanks in advance!
Melissa W.


Cleaning an Iron Skillet

You can use soap as long as you reseason the skillet afterwards. I use a scratchy pad, works great to reseason. Just coat in oil and then bake in oven about an hour. Good luck (06/24/2005)

By Terry

Cleaning an Iron Skillet


Having used iron skillets for many years, maybe this will help -- I use soap and/or Brillo pads for scrubbing. When clean, rinse well, and dry. Then coat inside with Crisco or other shortening and put your pan in a warm oven for 15 or 20 minutes. This will "season" the pan and your eggs won't stick. It seasons better the longer you have it, so do it every time. (06/24/2005)

By Rev Alex

Cleaning an Iron Skillet

After you cook something and it leaves a mess in the skillet, just fill about half full of water and boil for a few minutes, then wash it and use an sos pad. Always set it on the burner to dry, then spray a little cooking oil and wipe it with a paper towe. Do this every time you use your skillet and you will see the difference. (06/24/2005)

By Annette

Cleaning an Iron Skillet

A little Pam, or other no-stick spray works wonders before heating. It sounds like your fire is too high. Be very patient with eggs. Personally, I LOVE eggs. I think that they may be my favorite food item. Lower your temp to medium and you will be happier. Also, I'm afraid that I NEVER use Brillo or SOS pads on iron skillet! Mild detergent and a plastic scrubber, and then season a few times after using a new iron skillet, or an ill used one. Season by rubbing a bit of oil in the skillet and baking in the oven for an hour or so, but it may take a few times.


I've just been using Pam to cook (use oil, also if needed for recipe) and I don't think I've used anything but warm water and a nylon scrubby for years. I asked for an iron skillet for a wedding gift, 35 years ago! I know what a real blessing they can be, ever tried "REAL" fried chicken in one? Coat chicken in just flour, or add a little paprika and poultry seasoning in the mix, in a plastic bag, and shake chicken and fry in iron skillet with three or four tablespoons of shortening and an equal amount real butter (medium heat), brown, lower temp. cover for fifteen, or so minutes, and uncover and crisp on medium for a few minutes on each side. Use the drippings for gravy for mashed potatoes and, maybe a few biscuits. Hope this helps.

PS: I have a recipe for "killer" gravy, too!


Cleaning an Iron Skillet

I wash with the dishes and rinse well.(No dishwasher though). Every few years when it gets too heavy I put it in a bonfire to burn off the outside coating,and season by rubbing with fat and placing in the oven a while. (06/24/2005)

By siris.

Cleaning an Iron Skillet

The next time you have a live fire in a barbecue or fireplace, carefully put the pan directly in the flames upside down so the fire hits the crusted-on food. The food will burn off. Don't forget to use an oven mitt on your hand when taking the pan off the coals. Once the pan is cool, rub the pan, inside and out, thoroughly with a vegetable oil, and bake it in a warm oven for about a half hour to season. Let it cool in the oven. Once the pan is seasoned, wash it after every use with only water, using an UNSOAPED scrubber such as plain steel wool to clean it. Dry the pan thoroughly; hang it to dry if possible. Use a paper towel to rub a thin layer of vegetable oil over the dry pan after every use, and repeat the full seasoning with baking every six months, or sooner if needed. When the pan is seasoned well, very little food will stick to it, and only a little bit of oil is needed to cook. (06/24/2005)

By Donna

Cleaning an Iron Skillet

After you have your iron skillet seasoned and ready to use, always heat the skillet BEFORE putting in the grease, butter, or whatever you are using to fry with, and stuff doesn't stick to the skillet. I make my gravies in my iron skillet and as soon as I take the gravy out, I clean the skillet with hot water and a nylon scrubber while it is still hot, and dry it right away, and it is very easy to clean. They say that cooking in an iron skillet is healthy, cause you get a little iron in your diet, don't know if it is true, but it won't hurt. (06/25/2005)

By Allena

Cleaning an Iron Skillet

The best way to clean your cast iron skillet, is to put tap water in it and put it back on the burner. Once the water starts to heat , just use a spatula or a like utensil to start scraping off the grease and food. It works like a charm, drain and rinse. Dry with a good terry cloth towel, (06/27/2005)

By Cindy Lou - Houston

Cleaning an Iron Skillet

If you have a self-cleaning oven put the pan in for the whole cycle. It will burn off anything in it. All you will be left with is ashes. Rinse off, dry well and season with oil. Preferably olive. (07/11/2005)

By Fran Marie

Cleaning an Iron Skillet

Wow! I just received a iron skillet and it is a mess. However, as I read the above I am confused. I have read that you should not clean the skillet by boiling water in it 'cause it unseasons it. I have read that you should never use brillo, steel wool or anything that abrasive. I have heard that the use of coarse salt, like kosher salt or probably sea salt is the best way to clean because it does not unseason the skillet. The oven cleaning is only for very badly abused skillets and should be allowed to cool to cold before being taken out of the oven. Now remember I am just starting to use an old skillet which was passed down to me by my late mother-in-law. The Lord only knows how long she had it. I think I will use the coarse salt method and a little olive oil after I dry the old pan. Have a good day. (08/15/2008)


By Buz

Cleaning an Iron Skillet

The inside is not a problem. How do you get the crusted, hard coating off of the outside? (11/16/2008)

By Sandy


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July 5, 20170 found this helpful


I don't think there is a best way to remove the crusty build up on the outside of a cast iron skillet. You could burn it off in a self cleaning oven or campfire, but if you did you would ruin its season. It may be possible that someone who does sand blasting would be able to remove it for you. You can forget scouring pads and steel brushes. They wont work. You could chisel it off with a steel chisel if you don't mind the work.

Listen to me. That built up crust represents many, many home cooked and enjoyed meals. Think of it not as unsightly crust, but as rich patina acquired over the years. Cook with and show off that skillet with pride!

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