How to clean your cast iron gently and effectively

Cast iron is considered an extremely durable material, which guarantees decades of durability. Nevertheless, it sometimes happens that a cast iron pan or roaster starts to rust, also the non-stick effect of the greased surface can be lost. With gentle cleaning, this won’t happen – so you’ll thoroughly savor the long life of your cast iron!

Things to know about cast iron cooking utensils

Cast iron is pure iron that has been cast into shape, and it can certainly rust. However, if the surface does not come into contact with water and air in the first place, corrosion is prevented.

Therefore, it is important that a permanent protective layer forms on the iron, shielding the material from the outside. This film lying on the surface also acts as a kind of anti-stick coating, so that in a well-maintained cast iron pan food hardly burns.

The aforementioned protective layer on woks, roasters and pans consists mainly of cooking oil, but also sometimes contains salt and other residues from frying and cooking. In the best case, it is visually noticeable as an even, black patina.

Most important rule: Do not damage the patina when cleaning!

Since the said patina, which forms during the initial baking and is further developed over time, consists largely of fat, it should not come into contact with fat solvents.

Dishwashing detergents and dishwashers are of course taboo with it, otherwise you are virtually challenging the rust. Gentle cast iron cleaning looks like this:

  • If possible, only wipe the inside surface dry.
  • Rinse the pan, wok or roaster with warm water if necessary.
  • Remove stubborn stains by wiping with oil and salt.
  • Brief soaking in warm water is allowed, but severely limit the time of this process.
  • Dry the the entire surface thoroughly.
  • After cleaning, you should carefully grease your cast iron, either with cooking oil or the old fashioned way with a bacon rind.
If your cast iron is already starting to rust, don’t be afraid to scrub off the corrosion products with steel wool. However, you will need to re-bake the pan or wok afterward to form a new protective layer.

William C Arpin

William C Arpin

I like to test products and recommend the best ones, write reviews, travel and spend time with my family.

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