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Easy Steps to Clean Your Cast Iron Pan

A cast iron skillet is so much more than any other pan. Its unique composition makes it especially durable and when you know how to season a cast iron pan correctly, its cooking surface improves over time. Its heat retention is also excellent, which means once it’s warmed, it can perform just about cooking tasks in the kitchen.

In addition to its sensitivity to acidic food, the one quality that intimidates chefs is the cleaning process. It’s well known that avoiding soapy baths is best. Instead, aim to clean the pan while it’s still hot, putting it under running hot water. Combined with gentle scraping, this temperature-optimizing cleanse should prevent any stuck bits. A small amount of soap is permissible for the job, just don’t go overboard since it can strip the seasoning off.

And if there is still some pesky stuck debris, add some water to the pan, then simmer it over low heat. Getting stuck food off a cast iron pan without ruining the seasoning may feel intimidating but such methods make the process stress-free.

Clean cast irons pans while they’re still hot

dirty cast iron ready for cleaning

The truth about cast iron pans is they’re more forgiving than many consumers believe. An understanding of how the iron composition interacts with external elements aids in optimizing its use. Firstly, it’s important to note that although the iron surface may look smooth, it’s actually filled with many micro indentations. These are the reasons an oil seasoning is important — the substance coats across the chiseled surface, ensuring that no food gets lodged into the surface. 

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It’s important to keep it hot during cooking and cleaning, which aids in the morsels coming off the surface sans any tension. This is because once the oil cools down, it becomes thick and gooey. Perhaps you’ve noticed such an effect with cooled bacon grease or a cooled frier, the oil becomes harder to rinse. As a result, a cooled cast iron pan — even when seasoned — will turn much more sticky and become harder to scrub. 

And under no circumstances place the hot pan in cold water. Not only will it impede the cleaning process but it could also cause cracks in the iron. Rinse shortly after cooking and your pan will last for many subsequent uses.

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