Sometimes a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet needs more than just a simple scraping/wiping to get it ready for the next job. In those cases, I used to soak mine in hot water in the sink. Then I wised up and decided to boil water in it on my stove top. I believe the hotter water soaks and cleans the pan better. Just a few minutes at boil followed by brushing with coarse brush should do the job.
Then I wipe dry, finish the drying on low stove top heat. When totally dry, add a tiny dab of whatever oil you like and continue heating for another few minutes. I use a heavy-duty paper towel to burnish the oil in the pan once or twice before shutting the stove down.
My favorite skillet then gleams and I can almost see my reflection in it. The bottom is just as smooth as the proverbial 'baby's butt'.
By tomatohanger from Canton, OH
Most of the time you can clean cast iron with hot water and a nylon scrubbie - no soap, unless you want to start all over. To re-season a totally grungy pan, or one that is rusted, put it in your oven on the "self clean" cycle. When the oven cools, the cast iron will be "virgin" and ready to be seasoned all over again. I rub in lots of Crisco shortening, turn it upside down on the top rack of the oven, put foil on the rack under the rack the pan is on to catch any drips, then put the oven on to 350 for an hour, turn it off, and let it cool completely. If there are spots that didn't "take" just coat it again and do the 350 for an hour one more time.
After a couple of times of having to re-season, I've gotten very diligent about how I clean my cast iron.
Men do not need additional iron since they do not have a monthly period and too much iron can actually cause serious problems.
If you clean your cast iron after every use, you do not need to put water in it which will ruin it. A good dry scrub with a copper scrubber or dry steel wool pad is sufficient. then wipe it out with a paper towel. If you have seasoned your pan well, it never has to be washed. the older the seasoning, the smoother and more non-stick the surface. If you burn it -try not to- then scrub with salt and baking soda, but no water and proceed as above
My mother used to clean her cast iron skillets, dutch ovens, etc. with a steel wool pad and hot water, then place it on the stove and dry the cast iron piece on the stove on high heat; I have done this procedure also; and my cast iron cookware is smooth; I do not remove all the oil in the pan after cooking and that "re-seasons" the cookware when the pan is dried on the stove on high heat.
I re-season my cast iron cook ware when we go camping; I coat the cast iron cook ware with a heavy coat of Crisco shortening or lard; place it in the hot campfire and let it burn overnight; I take the cookware out of the burnt out campfire the next morning; wash the soot off with hot water water and dry the cook ware piece on my camp stove on high heat.
I keep my cast iron well seasoned by holding it under hot water while scrubbing it with a brush immediately after each use, while it is still Hot. Food comes off like it's Teflon. Then dry thoroughly and if necessary, rub on a little oil with a paper towel or napkin.
Love my cast iron skillets and Dutch ovens.
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