How to Clean and Care Your Cast-Iron Cookware?

How to Clean and Care Your Cast-Iron Cookware?

Cast iron cookware is known for its durability and even heating, but it requires proper care to maintain its quality. Various situations can occur during everyday cooking that can cause pots to have stains that are difficult to clean. Master the tips for daily cleaning and maintenance to keep your pots and pans consistently clean.

1. How to Clean Cast Iron Cookware

3-Step Cast Iron Cleaning Method

1. Wash

Clean cast-iron cookware with water. You can use a small amount of soap. If necessary, use a pan scraper to remove food particles stuck in the pan. For stubborn, sticky food, add a small amount of water and cook for 3-5 minutes, then use a spatula after the pan has cooled
Rinse with Hot Water: After use, rinse the cookware with hot water to remove any loose food particles. Avoid using soap, as it can strip away the seasoning.

2. Dry
Quickly and thoroughly dry surface moisture with a lint-free cloth or kitchen towel. If you notice a little black residue on your towel, don't worry. This is just seasoning and completely normal.
You can also place it on the stovetop on low heat for a few minutes to ensure it's completely dry.

3. Oil
Coat the surface of the cookware with a thin layer of cooking oil or another brand of seasoning spray. Wipe all surfaces of the pot with paper towels until no excess oil remains.

2. Cast Iron Troubleshooting and Care

For daily use, cleaning, and maintenance, following this step is enough. But cast iron may encounter various issues over time. At this time, additional steps are needed to help you. Here's how to troubleshoot and care for your cookware:

2.1 Rusty:


Rust can form when cookware is exposed to a damp atmosphere for an extended period of time, although it is not harmful. It may occur when cast iron cookware is left to soak in the sink, placed in the dishwasher, or air-dried, or when the cookware is stored in a moisture-prone area (such as a cabinet near the dishwasher, an open cabinet in a wet region, or outside).

Fix Method:
1. Scour
Scrub any loose or flaky rust from the cookware's surface with steel wool or a wire brush. Rinse thoroughly to eliminate all surface moisture.

2. Oil
Apply a thin layer of vegetable oil or cooking oil to the inner and exterior surfaces of the cookware. You can apply the oil using a paper towel. Make certain that the entire surface is evenly coated.

3. Bake
Preheat the oven to 350–400°F. In the preheated oven, place the oiled cookware upside down. To catch any drips, place a foil-lined baking sheet or a sheet of aluminum foil on the rack below. Allow the cookware to bake for around 1-2 hours in the oven. This will polymerize the oil, forming a new layer of seasoning that will protect the cookware from rust.

2.2 Sticking:

The Cause:
Food can sometimes stick to cast iron pans. This can happen for a variety of reasons, including not using enough fat or oil while cooking, using unseasoned cookware, or using new cookware without an extra coat of seasoning.

The Fix:
To avoid sticking, add roughly a teaspoon of oil to a skillet and gradually heat it on the stovetop or in the oven before cooking. Allow the cookware to cool before using a pan scraper to remove stuck-on food, scrubbing with a nylon brush or anti-scratch pad, drying your hands, and coating with a thick coat of oil. Rub the oil all over the pan until it is evenly dispersed.

2.3 Flaking: 

The Cause:
Occasionally, the seasoning on your pan may break down and leave black specks, especially if the cookware is not well-seasoned, but it is not harmful in any way.

The Fix:
To remove any loose flakes, softly wash the cookware, then season it by wiping the pan with a thin layer of oil, turning it upside down in the oven, and roasting for one hour at 450-500 F. To catch any excess oil, line the bottom rack of your oven with aluminum foil. The flaking will eventually be minor as the seasoning builds up over time.

2.4 Stuck-On Food:

The Cause:
If you leave your cast iron cookware on a heat source for an extended period of time, meals, marinades, and sauces can burn and stick to the surface.

The Fix:
To remove stuck-on food, use a pan scraper. If the problem persists, heat a small amount of water in the pan for 3-5 minutes before using the scraper. Make sure to properly dry before applying a coat of oil. If this does not remove the burned-on food, proceed to the rust section for re-seasoning advice.

2.5 Sticky Surface

The Cause:
If the seasoning in your pan is sticky, this indicates that there is too much oil on the cookware.

The Fix:
To remove stickiness, roast the cookware upside down on the top rack of the oven for one hour at 450–500 degrees F. Allow to cool before repeating if necessary.

2.6 Odors

The Cause:
You may detect residual odors when you cook fish or other fragrant meals on cast iron or inadequately clean your cookware before storing it.

The Fix:
Simply bake your cast iron pan at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes to get rid of the stench. This simple odor-removing approach will not harm the seasoning on your cookware. A conventional method involves sprinkling plain table salt on the cooking surface of your cookware, leaving it on overnight, and then rinsing it off in the morning. This will help remove any remaining odors. If the odors continue, scour and re-season your cookware.

Cast iron cookware may last for generations if properly cared for and maintained. Cleaning on a regular basis, re-seasoning as needed, and diagnosing common concerns can ensure that your cast iron pans and pots continue to function admirably in the kitchen. So, roll up your sleeves, get cooking, and enjoy the numerous advantages of cast iron cookware.

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