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Soap in cast iron pans

Help settle an argument for me and a friendly bet....

My friends says its ok to use soap in a cast iron pan.

I say no way...

Any thoughts?

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  1. Mine are extremely well seasoned. I always use detergent and hot water and dry over a flame

    7 Replies
    1. re: Candy

      me too. I have never had a problem with "ruining the seasoning" by using soap.

      1. re: Candy

        I have no problems with this method either. I only use soap on my cast iron when the last dish was particularly "stinky" in some way, as I have found if I don't use a little soap, the flavor/scent of that stinky food will show up in the next dish (old salmon or cumin flavored eggs - BLECH!)

        Note I don't soak the pan in soapy water, I just use the soap on a sponge. I also oil the pan after drying (over a flame) from time to time to keep up the seasoning.

        1. re: lisa13

          Me, too -- I just put my cast iron in the regular dishwater and I've never had a problem. I know you don't need it to clean the pan (I used to be a salt-only purist), but I just had too many onion-y pancakes.

          I also make sure to totally dry it, and rub it down with a little oil.

          1. re: lisa13

            I too have never had a problem cleaning my cast iron in hot soapy dishwater. I don't see how 'just hot water' is going to clean the skillet properly. I've had my skillets for at least 20 years and they're still beautiful!

            1. re: Candy

              Me, too. My pans love a little hot water and dish soap, as long as it is followed up with drying on the burner or in a warm oven.

              1. re: Candy

                I too wash my cast irons in soapy dishwater. Follow the directions for seasoning your pans and repeat whenever needed. I'm glad to know I'm not alone in disregarding the manufacturer's recommendations.

              2. Lodge Mfg.'s use and care page:

                Salient quote:
                "After cooking, clean the utensil with hot water and a stiff brush. Never use a harsh detergent, as it can remove the seasoning."

                7 Replies
                  1. re: PDXpat

                    Yes, never use a "harsh detergent", liquid dish soap isn't a "harsh" detergent.

                    1. re: cdavis

                      A long, long time ago this (never use soap) was good advice. Soap at one time was home made or store bought LYE soap. Lye soap is fairly caustic and will degrade the seasoning on a pan. So, if you are still using lye soap I would advise against it. However if you are using modern day dish soaps like Dawn, Joy etc...used properly they will not cause any problems. ~~ Lodge is just doing a little CYA.

                      OP ~ your friend wins!

                      1. re: Uncle Bob

                        Back when soap was made with homemade lye it was caustic. Modern cold process soap is in no way harsh. It is made with sodium hydroxide, and can be more or less moisturizing depending on what the recipe was intended for.

                        There is also no lye remaining in the soap, as it is used up in the saponification process.

                        That said, I use soap to wash my cast iron. I find that after seasoning using the flax oil method, I rarely even have to oil them after.

                        1. re: Becca Porter

                          I was under the impression that lye IS sodium hydroxide?

                          1. re: LaureltQ

                            It is. It's a pure chemical form though. It's not made by soaking wood ashes like in the old days. The strength of that was quite variable. It made the soap caustic.

                            1. re: LaureltQ

                              Well, I think lye can refer to a few different strong alkaline substances
                              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lye mentions a few

                              I can accept that using modern dishwashing soap on cast iron isn't the end of the world, but I guess I don't see the point. I usually just use water or salt (and sometimes one of those bristly brushes people use on woks).

                    2. Cast iron is porous. If you use soap on a cast iron pan that is not completely sealed by seasoning, the soap will get into the cast iron and impart that taste to your food. Once the pan has been thoroughly seasoned and has a hard, impervious coating, using a mild soap to wash it will do no harm.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: JoanN

                        Cast is only porous if the outer crust is compromised, the core is porous the crust is not

                      2. I can use biodegradable soap with few problems, if I use dawn I have to reseason. Depends on the "grease cutting" ability of the soap.

                        1. The nature of black cast iron is that it does absorb chemicals more than any other cooking surface. But, you asked about soap and some posters replied about detergent. They are 2 different things. Soap mostly is a natural animal/vegetable based product - and very gentle. Detergent is god knows what and not something you want to be ingesting. So, I say play it safe, yes it is perfectly OK to soak your cast iron in hot soapy water for an hour. Not longer because that patina is so precious you don't want to risk losing it. But a short soak with hot soapy water will help remove difficult burned on stuff. Avoid detergent - why mess with nasty chemicals getting into your food on a microscopic level if you don't have to. Then, after the pan is clean, dry it, place it over a low flame for a few moments until it's completely dry, then oil with veg. oil and place in a dry area of your kitchen to store.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: niki rothman

                            I'd never soak a cast iron pan. I wash it quickly and dry it quickly. Soaking is a good door opener to removing the seasoning and opening it up to rust.

                            1. re: Candy

                              I hear you. But what do you do when like everyone else, you're human and the phone rings and you burn something? I say soaking for under an hour loosens the crud and does less damage than the hard scrubbing that you'd have to do otherwise. I'm always careful to do a quick re-seasoning by drying over a low flame, rubbing with veg. oil and storing in my oven where it's always warm and dry. And it should be added only scrub with a plastic scrubbie and never with anything metal like steel wool (God forbid).

                            2. re: niki rothman

                              Soap vs. Detergent: good observation/comment. Thanks.

                            3. I never use soap (unless I'm about to re-season the pan). You can use a mild abrasive to clean gunk off the pan, though.

                              Agreed about not soaking (you can soak for a few minutes if you really need to, but don't forget about it). And make sure you use hot water to clean it.

                              I've also heard it's really bad to leave food in a cast iron pan after it's finished cooking.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: will47

                                This is very true - never leave food sitting in the pan. You ruin the surface of the pan and the food will taste horrible - metallic. Also, there's no reason to cook tomato sauce or other high acid foods in cast iron - this will also hurt the patina.

                              2. For a long time I wouldn't even use water in mine -- I'd put about tablespoon or so of really coarse salt and a small dribble of oil in, scrub it around with with a paper towel, and brush the contents into the trash.

                                Now I'm more lax. From time to time, I'll run it under hot water and scrub the insides with a dishwashing brush. I never use soap/detergent, but I never cook anything in it that really needs it either. Then it goes on the stove and gets heated up again with a little wipe of fresh oil before being put away.

                                1. Agreed - as my Ma be4 me did - so I have about 50 yrs experience seeing the effects of detergents - there are none , that I can see, except quick removal of the grease.

                                  1. The "no soap" in cast iron is a total hoax IF the ci is well seasoned.

                                    Like dibo817, my mom and I have a combined 100 or so years of experience cleaning ci. When it needs soap and even dish detergent then it gets it and a plastic brush.

                                    Mom even out hers in the dishwasher once or twice. It's all as slick and black as can be.

                                    No dishwasher for me (yikes!) but they get soaped if need be. Salt scubbing, IMO, is when you are camping, not in the kitchen.

                                    No soaking and very thorough drying.

                                    1. Why would one ever put soap in a nice seasoned pan when you don't have to? Water, ok, but soap? And by god, why would one ever put it in the dishy-washy? Seriously, all it needs is the coarse salt + oil treatment, rubbed around with a paper towel. That method removes even the most stubborn cooked-on food. It's easy and it serves to keep your coating nice and hearty.

                                      But, y'know, to each his/her own, right? ;) As C. Hamster pointed out, the salt method seems as crazy to him/her as the soap sounds to me. That's why I love this board!

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: litchick

                                        I don't ever have any problem getting food out of the pan, but sometimes there is a lingering, leftover flavor (like I said above, onions are the worst). I use the same skillet to make upside-down cake and pancakes that I use to make fritattas, and salt-scrub just didn't clear the palette enough for me. Maybe I just wasn't doing it right.

                                      2. Why would you ever in a million years want or need to use soap on a cast iron pan? Seems like an unnecessary step to me...

                                        1. I use a tiny bit of soap in my mine especially after frying hamburgers(beef grease is the worst...lingers and taints everything). No problemo.

                                          After gentle washing I immediately dry the CI out on a burner, flame off, duh, spray her with some Pam(recommended by Lodge, themselves), let that smoke up a teensy bit, wipe her down, good as gold.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: aelph

                                            Cast iron DOES absorb food odors more than anything else you will cook in. Another item that does this is a wooden salad bowl. You don't want fugitive flavors of the last thing you cooked (like hamburger and onions) in your pan.

                                            1. re: aelph

                                              This is exactly what I do. I don't always use soap but I do when I need to.

                                            2. Wow. Never knew this stuff took this much attention. I've been washing my old cast iron skillets in the sink with the rest of the dishes all along. My big one is sitting on the stove right now with water in it soaking out some fried rice my husband made in it at lunch time.

                                              When I wash them I put them in the drainer to air-dry. I've re-seasoned them maybe once. I think I had to re-season one of them after I cooked salmon in it (Bittman's recipe; sounded like a good idea at the time, but really wasn't) and had to do some major, intensive cleaning to get the smell and taste out. Other than that I don't give them much special care at all, and they're well-seasoned and don't seem to have any problems with rust. (But they're both quite old; don't know if this would be the case with new ones.)

                                              1. I never will use soap on cast iron. Soap, as we know it contains perfumes, a nasty flavor enhancer.

                                                I heat up the skillet or item with water only, wipe, and grease. (Do not boil the water unless you are prepared to re-season them.)

                                                If a strong flavored food item has a high water content it is easy to boil off the seasoning, thus impart flavor. Gently boil a 1 tsp cream of tarter and water, then gently boil with clear water, and re-season

                                                EDIT: Salt is an item that can promote moisture thus rust under the seasoning layer. This is normally greyish in color and you may notice that expecially in the bottom of fried eggs.

                                                1. I use detergent in mine when I cook greasy stuff, and I still have no problems cooking omelets with no added fat in my vintage cast iron.

                                                  1. I use Dawn liquid, a scrubby sponge and hot water. Dry it over a hot flame. Never a problem.

                                                    1. I'm going to be a pedant here. Do you mean actual soap? Detergent should be fine if the pan is dirty, but you might have to reseason after. I'd never use actual soap though because I fear it would be too harsh. (I'm sure in the old days plenty of lye soap was used to wash dishes. But the old wives probably didn't wash their skillets very often with it.)

                                                      4 Replies
                                                      1. re: sueatmo

                                                        "but you might have to reseason after."

                                                        Today detergents are gentler than before, so this could be the reason for the different approaches.

                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                          I agree totally, which is the point of making a distinction between soap and modern dish detergent.

                                                        2. re: sueatmo

                                                          Yes, real Dawn liquid dishwashing soap. I assume every pan I have cooked in is dirty, so I wash them all. Cast iron gets the drying over a hot gas flame to make sure it's dry, to assure no rust, but the seasoning remains just fine.

                                                          1. re: escondido123

                                                            I use Dawn too. Just a little. But I don't wash my skillets every time I use them.

                                                        3. My, this is such an old post, but evidently got revived. Interesting that the original poster had no longer post here since 2009. Anyway, since everyone is sharing their experience. Yes, I also clean cast iron with detergents, but nothing too harsh. Also I don't do it every time. I probably wash it with soap if I thought water alone is not doing a good job.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics


                                                            I couldn't imagine not using a little soap after making paneed redfish with Cajun seasoning, and then trying to cook something else in it the next day, like cornbread. Ewww...

                                                            Anyway, my pans are so seasoned that they have even survived a few accidental overheating/smoking incidents without really ruining the seasoning.

                                                            1. re: RGC1982

                                                              Great example. Yes, I definitely wash the cast iron with detergent after cooking strong flavor or oily foods.

                                                              Did you just notice your "Ewww" is a world wide web address? :D

                                                          2. A while back I had written under another post about my grandmother and all her sisters cooking with cast iron plans. (Farm born, raised and married into farming families) It is all they had back in the day and they cooked on a wood-fired stove until they left the house.

                                                            All of these women are complete germ-o-phobes and I suspected that there was no way they didn't wash out the pans after each use.

                                                            I asked, and I suspected, they did wash out the pans after each use. They (the great aunts) thought I was nuts when I told them about the no-wash movement.

                                                            1. I also use a bit of dish soap, but my pans are well-seasoned, old pans. Sometimes when others have been in charge of clean-up at night, I awaken to find the CI has been soaking all night to "clean" it. Yikes! But, I just wash it out, rinse it well, then dry it and re-season. Never a big deal.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: wyogal

                                                                Old is the key, I think. I bought my skillet about 40 years ago, and it was probably second-hand then. I used to fuss with it trying to get it properly seasoned, but eventually stopped worrying about it and just used it. Now it is perfectly seasoned, with that smooth, matte finish on the inside. To maintain it, I just soak for a short time in hot water with Dawn (amount depending on residue in pan), wash with a plastic scrubber, rinse, dry inside with a paper towel, and apply heat for a short time to ensure that it is thoroughly dry.

                                                              2. Technically, you should not use soap -- or use little soap and definitely an "all natural" one (not dawn or anything like that). A *little* soap soak in the sink is fine. As an alternative, try a salt scour or high heat. However, if you use soap heavily, after doing this over and over again, you may have to reseason the pan. For those of you on this board who do that regularly, you probably have to reseason your pan but don't realize it. It may still "look beautiful" but the seasoning has likely become impaired. Maybe you've noticed that your pan has gotten more adhesive to the food you cook in it -- that's because the seasoning has been broken down. And continuous dishwasher use will definitely do this. Although sink detergent is rather mild, the stuff in your dishwasher is goopy and made to stick to the pan throughout the cleaning cycle. This makes the negative effects of soap come on faster than with sink soap. Just use a mild, "all natural" soap in the sink and don't let is soak too long. Just a quick soak and rinse and then use a scrub.

                                                                See more here:

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: ask230

                                                                  Automatic dishwasher detergent is definitely a no-no. Sink detergent is fine on rare occasions. I agree with what you said.

                                                                  1. re: ask230

                                                                    Yes to everything except about Dawn. The Old Wives most likely used lye soap to clean their CI pots, when they needed to. Apparently some of them did this regularly, although I remember my mother did not. Dawn is certainly milder than soap. And when I do use a drop or two on my pans, it cleans without harm.

                                                                    Unless you want to strip your CI, don't put it into the dishwasher.

                                                                  2. I wouldn't, but then, many would. They're the ones who wonder why it rusted. I have at least one cast iron frying pan that must be waaaaaaaay over a half century old and it's still going strong. It has NEVER had soap or detergent touch it. If something gets scorched or dried food of some sort attaches itself to the interior, I dry and wipe the pan well, then scrub it off with table salt (the inedible kind that comes in a round blue box). Salt is very sharp and abrasive. I use a paper towel to scrub with, along with a tablespoon or two of salt. My cast iron dutch oven seems to have run away from home because I haven't been able to find it for years, but I cleaned it the same way.

                                                                    To my GREAT regret, I have had a new housekeeper or two put one of my cast irong frying pans in the dishwasher. I had to start from scratch on curing it. That was a couple of years ago, and it's still not like it was before being assassinated.

                                                                    Using natural abrasives to clean cast iron pots is an old tradition. Many "pioneer" women (and undoubtedly city women of the day as well) took their cast iron pots and pans out in the back yard and used plain old dirt to scrub them. Do NOT do this today! We no longer have pesticide free dirt in our back yards. Use salt.

                                                                    EDIT: While I'm thinking about it, I also use lots of salt and the juicy face of a lemon half to clean my copper cookware. Cheap and works brilliantly! Then the lemon goes down the garbage disposal to clean its breath.

                                                                    14 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Caroline1

                                                                      Soap will not cause it to rust! Not drying it causes it to rust

                                                                      1. re: Dave5440

                                                                        And the reason you're splitting this particular hair is...? Soap/detergent attacks and diminishes the nonstick properties of well seasoned/cured cast iron, and that leaves it susceptible to rust. If you wash/dry a cast iron pan and put it away for a week or two without coating it with a thin film of oil, dependding on the humidity where you live, it may well be rusted when you want to use it agaain. One cycle in a dishwasher (with or without detergent) can rust cast iron. Would you like more clarification?

                                                                        1. re: Caroline1

                                                                          I'm sorry, Caroline1, but you do say specifically that those who use soap on their CI wonder why it rusted.

                                                                          I have four CI skillets and one CI grill pan. All are well seasoned and all get washed with soap occasionally. Sometimes I film them with oil while they're drying, sometimes I don't. I spend about 3 months of the year out of the country so my pans sit in the cupboard for as long as a month or two at a time. Not once, not ever, did I return to find the pans with any rust on them whatsoever. Of course, I never put them in the dishwasher so I have no idea what effect that might have on them. But as far as washing them with soap every once in a while, I don't need more clarification. I've been living for years with the empirical evidence.

                                                                          1. re: JoanN

                                                                            The OP's orginal question was whether it is a good common practice to wash cast iron pans with detergent. She did't ask whether occasional usage will cause permanent damage. I tried to address that. You're taking ONE sen............

                                                                            EDIT! Ooooooops! You're not Dave 5440! Sorry about that!

                                                                            The OP's original question was whether or not it's okay to use detergent in cast iron pans. Obviously (as illustrated by her question) there are at least two schools of thought. Equally as obvious, we don't sit on the same side of the aisle. So let me just suggest that if your method works for you and you're happy with the results, keep on doin' what you're doin'! But don't expect me to convert from my way. '-)

                                                                            1. re: Caroline1

                                                                              The title of the thread is "Soap In a cast iron pan" "My friends says its ok to use soap in a cast iron pan".
                                                                              Just where the hell am I splitting hairs here? Using soap doesn't matter, won't make it rust anymore or any less. Or damage the pan, no where does it say is using soap commonplace, the word occasional doesn't come up either.
                                                                              But for the record it seems to appear that it's pretty much split down the middle on people that use soap to those that don't .
                                                                              And why would putting it in the DS without detergent make it rust? Do you not boil water in your CI to aid cleaning crude out of it?
                                                                              And nobody here tried to make you change your ways, we are just answering the OP's question and correcting any wrong misinformation.
                                                                              And finally if you've never used soap, detergent from what experience do you gain your knowlege that it makes it rust?

                                                                              1. re: Dave5440

                                                                                if properly seasoned you shouldn't really get "crud". Some soaking with water, hot or cold is fine.

                                                                                I can't imagine why anyone would want to run it through the DW without detergent. A bath in hot water isn't the same as being SCRUBBED with plastic and water together. After all, when you take a shower, just standing under the water alone isn't good enough ...

                                                                                If you want it to rust, destroy the seasoning, or don't give it a good one to begin with, and just toss some water on it.

                                                                                1. re: jkling17

                                                                                  Caroline1 wrote-"One cycle in a dishwasher (with or without detergent) can rust cast iron. Would you like more clarification?"
                                                                                  I personally have never done this , but responded to it in my post.
                                                                                  I'm not sure who cooks in your house , but there used to be 4 in mine , and the things i've found stuck in the bottom of all our pans CI , SS and nonstick required boiling to remove, as well as finding CI sitting in a sink full of what was once hot soapy water the next day(after a night shift) and low and behold, no rust, no damage to the seasoning

                                                                            2. re: JoanN

                                                                              I use detergent on mine almost every time I cook in them. I've got a decent collection and some pans I've not used for months and have never had rust issues. And that includes when I was living in South Louisiana, where we know what humidity is LOL.

                                                                            3. re: Caroline1

                                                                              Who dries cast iron and doesn't give it a little fat before storing? I was raised to always do this, and yes I do use detergent. I've never had rust issues.

                                                                              And really the dishwasher? Who is advocating putting cast iron in the dishwasher?

                                                                              1. re: rasputina

                                                                                The longer I have had cast iron, the more I've figured out how truly rugged and carefree that it is. Provided ... that it is Well-Seasoned. These are now my favorite pieces of cookware for anything other than crepes and eggs - or my steamer trays. Cast iron, where have you BEEN my entire life? I've had them now for 3+ years but only got around to really seasoning them very well a few months back. OMG ... amazing!

                                                                                By Well-Seasoned I mean 4+ sessions, at least 2 of them using the oven so that it can be done inside AND out. And then follow-up sessions just on the cooktop. My favorite 10" lodge skillet has probably gotten more like 6+ sessions for the inside.

                                                                                Now that my cast iron is really well-seasoned, I don't bother to care for it at all. I let it soak if I like, sometimes overnight. I use a bit of liquid dish soap sometimes when cleaning it, along with a long-handed plastic brush. I never dry it anymore - just let the water drip out for a few seconds and the rest evaporate off. I also don't bother using oil anymore - unless I'm about to cook something.

                                                                                No rust, no problems, no sticking. I only wish that i knew sooner. As to the "no dishwasher rule", I think that's pretty obvious and it wouldn't be worth the space in the vs. a few seconds to give it a quick scrub in the sink. I honestly can't ever recall using a dishwasher for ANY pots/pans over the years.

                                                                                My 2 cents.


                                                                                1. re: jkling17

                                                                                  That's my position, almost exactly (I agree re crêpes and eggs, but use other than cast iron for other things, as well). But with respect to cast iron, it's exactly as you say. If a cast iron pan needs "reseasoning" after encountering a little soap, it wasn't well-seasoned to begin with.

                                                                                  1. re: jkling17

                                                                                    I actually only cook eggs in my griswold cast iron. I cook lots of other stuff too, but my eggs are always cooked in these pans. Everything from omelets to scrambled. I might add a tiny amount of fat, maybe, often I don't add any additional fat and I never have sticking problems with my eggs. But my pans are well seasoned and about 80 years old, even though I wash them with detergent LOL.

                                                                                    1. re: rasputina

                                                                                      "Who dries cast iron and doesn't give it a little fat before storing?"

                                                                                      I don't.

                                                                                  2. re: rasputina

                                                                                    >Who dries cast iron and doesn't give it a little fat before storing?<

                                                                                    ****raising hand****** I never, ever oil or grease my CI before storing. I have done this for over 30 years and my mother for much longer.

                                                                            4. Soap is fine. It's not a good idea to soak it in soapy water over night, but to wash it is fine, just make sure you dry it and oil it after, just as you should if don't use soap.

                                                                              1. I found a little soap and light scrubbing took off some well seasoned patina. months and months of patina started flaking off. never again.

                                                                                i'm sticking to just plenty plenty plenty of hot water and finger scrubbing.

                                                                                your seasoning may vary.

                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                1. re: filtered

                                                                                  I ONLY clean my cast iron frying pans with table salt, Just dump some in the DRY COLD pan and use a paper towel to scrub away any burnt or stuck-on foods. Salt is VERY abrasive (it's rock!) yet will not harm your cast iron.

                                                                                  1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                    Caroline, I clean mine the same way. My question to you is, are you able to get the skillet 100% completely clean this way? Whenever I do it, there is always at least a little film of grease left no matter how many paper towels I use. It doesn't really bother me, but is it possible to use the salt/wipe method and get the pan perfectly clean?

                                                                                    1. re: RealMenJulienne

                                                                                      Yes! The glistening oil is a good thing. One of my pans is god-knows-how-old because it was my mothers first, and I suspect it was a hand-me-down to her, but I don't know who handed it.

                                                                                      Whether a pan is new or old, after you clean it with salt, you should make sure it has that shiny oil look to it because that is what protects it from rust. One of my favorite favorite favorite pans to make a really good Irish stew (lamb) or beef stew in is my largest cast iron skillet. I transfer the stew as soon as it's finished, rinse the pan well with HOT water (no soap), then dry it well, scrub it with dry salt to make sure any residue is removed, then I coat it with a thin film of oil using a paper towel, then back in the cupboard it goes.

                                                                                      As for "sterile," that's really sort of a moot point if you're going to cook in it because the heat of cooking will kill about most anything I know of, except maybe a prion, and don't buy beef from cows with mad cow disease! (feeble joke)

                                                                                      But if you ARE concerned, put a good layer of salt over the bottom of the pan (maybe an inch, more if you'd like) and put the pan over high heat for about four minutes. Anything threatening will be dead. Salt can get incredibly hot -- it is a rock, after all -- but it's also a very effective antiseptic. Saline is used as an IV, saturated saline is used to kill germs as a wound wash and as a gargle for a sore throat or mouthwash. Salt was the most important component in the creation of mummies in ancient Egypt because it draws fluid from tissue and "wrings it out," so if you were a pharaoh, you knew you were going to be packed in salt just like any old ham being cured. (Another fact based feeble joke)

                                                                                      Just keep doing what you're doing and you'll still be cooking in that baby when the cows come home! '-)

                                                                                      1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                        I would never argue with Caroline!

                                                                                        It just goes to show: although I use soap and water and frequent bacon, and Caroline uses salt and oil, we both have 100+ year old pans going strong.

                                                                                        Pans must be pretty tough to mess up, right?

                                                                                      2. re: RealMenJulienne

                                                                                        I intend for my pans to be stored with that little film of grease or oil after cleaning. If they still have that sheen after a wash, I just put them away. If for some reason they look a little dry, I add a bit of oil and give a quick wipe down.

                                                                                  2. I use soap and water and never have had trouble keeping the seasoned finish. I occasionally rub with oil and heat it in aoven or a cooktop. I used to worry about it but have dicovered that maintaining the finish isn't a problem. I have inherited rusted pans, scrubbed them,oiled and baked them and have renewed pans. The good thing about cast iron is that it is just about infinitely renewable and indistructable.

                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: twinsue

                                                                                      People do worry about this stuff too much, don't they?

                                                                                      Occasionally I hit mine with a soapy sponge...actually my wife does and then worries about it until I tell her it's ok. It's not going to hurt my pans...most are decades old and I've never seasoned them. I just use them.

                                                                                      I also scrub them, more times than not, with a stainless pad. Again, a seasoned pan will not be damaged by this.

                                                                                      People have issues with their pans because they don't allow them to season on their own. They use all these "popular" formulas that are supposed to give you instant seasoning...and then they have problems. That's BS. The few pans I have purchased new have been used without issue from day one. I just use them. They take on their own seasoning...I don't put it in there...they take care of it for me.

                                                                                      1. re: JayL

                                                                                        People do worry about this stuff too much. Even if you screw up the seasoning, you can just re do it over time. Just takes more grease and heat.

                                                                                        My daughter moved back in after college and a few years on her own. She put the cast iron skillet in the dishwasher. I re-seasoned it. It's fine now.

                                                                                        The only one that didn't make it was the one that I left on the burner so long that it cracked.

                                                                                    2. Seasoning on a cast iron skillet is among the many things that can easily be treated with copious amounts of bacon.

                                                                                      1. I do it, along with salt and occasionally baking soda.