Cleaning an Iron Skillet

Can anyone tell me how to clean built up and burned on food from an iron skillet?

By Sandi from St Louis, MO

October 26, 20100 found this helpful
Best Answer

I have cleaned my burnt on foods from my iron skillet by filling the skillet with water to cover the burnt food, adding several tablespoons baking soda and put on simmer until water is near boiling. Turn off heat, let sit till water cools. I then take my spatula and loosen burnt food. After removing water and burnt food, I wash in hot soapy water and re-season my skillet in the broiler of my stove.

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November 15, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

If you have a self cleaning oven, leave 1 rack in it and put the iron skillets upside down. Start self cleaning mode. After the oven has cooled down remove skillet and wash and reseason. They will look brand new when done.

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October 19, 20100 found this helpful

You can use a stainless steel scrapper or an SOS pad on it; if really bad you can use steel wool; once it's clean; be sure to put oil in it and put in oven for about 15 min; to "season" it; afterwards when washed always put it for a few seconds on a burner to "dry" it; and then put a small amount of oil in it and rub in; good luck!

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October 20, 20100 found this helpful

The archives tell you this. Put it in a self cleaning oven for the duration of the clean cycle. Or in the olden days it was put in a campfire cover with coals and hot ashes and left to bake quite a while. I always scrub mine with salt and a paper towel or rag, rinse well and put away dry! Good luck, they are wonderful cooking utensils to have.

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October 20, 20100 found this helpful

There is a good website,, that has step by step video and written instructions on how to clean and season cast iron cookware.

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October 25, 20100 found this helpful

I have not done this personally, but I have read if you place it in a dishwasher it will come out like a new one and you just need to re-season it. I have cleaned several using a bonfire and it works great! Good luck. I swipe mine with shortening and always dry mine on the burner to prevent any rust.

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October 19, 2010 Flag
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How do you clean an iron skillet?

By Rebecca from Cincinnati, OH


Cleaning an Iron Skillet

The old folks literally put the iron skillet in a fire and let the fire do the work. All the old grease that was burned on was then burned off, both inside and out. I have put one of my skillets in my electric oven and run the oven on clean, that worked also. Don't forget to re-season the skillet after either of these two methods. (03/01/2010)

By 2oma

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February 22, 2010 Flag
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How can I get an older cast fry pan back in shape? Any ideas are most welcome.

By Elaine from Ontario, Canada


Cleaning an Iron Skillet

Make sure your cast iron is clean with mild soap. Never use a scouring pad like SOS pad. Dry by putting it in a warm oven for a few minutes until dry. Then rub a small amount of vegetable oil all inside the skillet. The skillet has to be warm during this process. If you use too much oil, then remove excess with a paper towel. Place it back in the oven. Be sure the oven is warm 250 degrees no more than 300 degrees for 10 minutes. Turn off the oven and leave the skillet in oven until ready to use the skillet or oven. I hope this will help. (12/21/2009)

By msbridget

Cleaning an Iron Skillet

I did this once. If you do it, be careful!

Build a campfire. Put the skillet in it. Cover it with coals. Leave it for a pretty good while then rake it out of the fire on to a sandy, stony, or otherwise fireproof place with some kind of tool. It is very hot. Do not touch it! Give it some cooling time and then stand way back and poor some cooking oil into it. The Skillet should be real hot, but not so hot as to catch the oil on fire. You will need to use some judgment on this. Also, do not splash the oil.

The skillet will come out clean as a whistle and seasoned as well. Another method is to use a wire brush attachment on a drill. Another is to make a little bag of salt, oil the skillet and scrub it with the salt bag. I always clean my good skillets with a wipe down with a damp cloth and set them on the wood stove to dry. No wood stove, just set them in a warm oven that has already been turned off (in case you forget). (12/22/2009)

By old dog

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December 19, 2009 Flag
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I bought a badly charred cast iron pan in a garage sale for 25 cents. This worked for me:

Set your cast iron pan on a layer of newspaper, in a heavy trash bag. Add a couple layers of newspaper on top of pan, and pour in a couple cups of ammonia. Seal the bag and set it in the sun. I let mine sit 24 hours. The next day, all the char washed right off. Wash well and season, and you are good to go.

By Jbing from Three Rivers, MI


Cleaning an Iron Skillet

Ammonia? Who wants to put that stuff on anything you cook in? So you have a bad cast iron pan. OK, soak it with baking soda, if you want to use water, which doesn't hurt for real cleaning and a little bit of elbow grease. When most of it is off, put a little bit of oil in the pan, rub it around, get it warm and use a lot of salt to clean the rest. It will come out nice and shiny and no chemicals.

After each use, just put some salt in, use a paper towel and clean it while still warm and it is good to go for the next time. No use for water (unless you burned something in bad). Always clean with oil and salt afterward. This is an old restaurant trick. (10/25/2009)

By Margithelga

Cleaning an Iron Skillet

When the need is bad enough I put mine in the self cleaning oven, while I am cleaning the oven. Then I wipe it out and season it. Easy peasy. BJ (10/26/2009)

By antique person

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October 23, 2009 Flag
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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?

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In This Article
Cast Iron Pan
Cleaning a Cast Iron Pan
Home and Garden Cleaning DishesOctober 19, 2010
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Cooking With Cast Iron Pans
Skillet Meal
Skillet Dinner Recipes
Chicken Skillet
Chicken Skillet Recipes
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Mexican Skillet Recipes
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