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Soap in cast iron pans

MacArthur Mike Dec 14, 2006 08:48 PM

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. Candy RE: MacArthur Mike Dec 14, 2006 08:49 PM

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

    7 Replies
    1. re: Candy
      DGresh RE: Candy Dec 14, 2006 09:01 PM

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

      1. re: Candy
        lisa13 RE: Candy Dec 14, 2006 09:08 PM

        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
          heatherkay RE: lisa13 Dec 15, 2006 02:58 PM

          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
            Kenyatta46 RE: lisa13 Oct 31, 2011 12:01 PM

            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!

          2. re: Candy
            GH1618 RE: Candy Nov 22, 2011 01:41 AM

            That's exactly what I do.

            1. re: Candy
              DebinIndiana RE: Candy Nov 26, 2013 05:07 PM

              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
                elegraph RE: Candy Nov 27, 2013 06:30 PM

                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. p
                PDXpat RE: MacArthur Mike Dec 14, 2006 08:52 PM

                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
                  GH1618 RE: PDXpat Nov 22, 2011 10:44 AM

                  They don't have to know.

                  1. re: PDXpat
                    cdavis RE: PDXpat Nov 26, 2013 01:13 PM

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

                    1. re: cdavis
                      Uncle Bob RE: cdavis Nov 26, 2013 01:49 PM

                      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
                        Becca Porter RE: Uncle Bob Dec 2, 2013 07:06 AM

                        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
                          LaureltQ RE: Becca Porter Dec 2, 2013 11:41 AM

                          I was under the impression that lye IS sodium hydroxide?

                          1. re: LaureltQ
                            Becca Porter RE: LaureltQ Dec 2, 2013 11:52 AM

                            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
                              will47 RE: LaureltQ Dec 2, 2013 04:49 PM

                              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. JoanN RE: MacArthur Mike Dec 14, 2006 08:59 PM

                      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
                        Dave5440 RE: JoanN Nov 1, 2011 09:22 PM

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

                      2. a
                        Alan408 RE: MacArthur Mike Dec 14, 2006 08:59 PM

                        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. n
                          niki rothman RE: MacArthur Mike Dec 14, 2006 09:15 PM

                          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
                            Candy RE: niki rothman Dec 14, 2006 09:29 PM

                            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
                              niki rothman RE: Candy Dec 17, 2006 10:32 PM

                              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
                              Alan408 RE: niki rothman Dec 14, 2006 10:57 PM

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

                            3. w
                              will47 RE: MacArthur Mike Dec 14, 2006 10:06 PM

                              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
                                niki rothman RE: will47 Dec 17, 2006 10:34 PM

                                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. l
                                ladelfa RE: MacArthur Mike Dec 14, 2006 11:24 PM

                                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. d
                                  dibob817 RE: MacArthur Mike Dec 14, 2006 11:37 PM

                                  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. C. Hamster RE: MacArthur Mike Dec 15, 2006 04:47 PM

                                    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. litchick RE: MacArthur Mike Dec 15, 2006 07:49 PM

                                      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
                                        heatherkay RE: litchick Dec 15, 2006 08:01 PM

                                        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. p
                                        Procrastibaker RE: MacArthur Mike Dec 16, 2006 04:19 PM

                                        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. a
                                          aelph RE: MacArthur Mike Dec 16, 2006 06:08 PM

                                          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
                                            niki rothman RE: aelph Dec 17, 2006 10:38 PM

                                            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
                                              C. Hamster RE: aelph Dec 17, 2006 11:02 PM

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

                                            2. revsharkie RE: MacArthur Mike Dec 18, 2006 12:56 AM

                                              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. RShea78 RE: MacArthur Mike Dec 18, 2006 05:55 AM

                                                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. r
                                                  rasputina RE: MacArthur Mike Nov 2, 2011 09:16 AM

                                                  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. e
                                                    escondido123 RE: MacArthur Mike Nov 2, 2011 09:21 AM

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

                                                    1. s
                                                      sueatmo RE: MacArthur Mike Nov 2, 2011 05:30 PM

                                                      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
                                                        Chemicalkinetics RE: sueatmo Nov 4, 2011 06:07 PM

                                                        "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
                                                          sueatmo RE: Chemicalkinetics Nov 5, 2011 07:21 AM

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

                                                        2. re: sueatmo
                                                          escondido123 RE: sueatmo Nov 4, 2011 08:40 PM

                                                          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
                                                            sueatmo RE: escondido123 Nov 5, 2011 07:22 AM

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

                                                        3. Chemicalkinetics RE: MacArthur Mike Nov 4, 2011 06:05 PM

                                                          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
                                                            RGC1982 RE: Chemicalkinetics Nov 4, 2011 06:37 PM


                                                            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
                                                              Chemicalkinetics RE: RGC1982 Nov 4, 2011 06:40 PM

                                                              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. c
                                                            cleobeach RE: MacArthur Mike Nov 22, 2011 09:01 AM

                                                            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. w
                                                              wyogal RE: MacArthur Mike Nov 22, 2011 09:35 AM

                                                              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
                                                                GH1618 RE: wyogal Nov 22, 2011 10:58 AM

                                                                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. a
                                                                ask230 RE: MacArthur Mike Jan 15, 2012 11:50 AM

                                                                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
                                                                  Chemicalkinetics RE: ask230 Jan 15, 2012 11:58 AM

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

                                                                  1. re: ask230
                                                                    sueatmo RE: ask230 Jan 15, 2012 12:49 PM

                                                                    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. Caroline1 RE: MacArthur Mike Jan 16, 2012 05:35 AM

                                                                    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
                                                                      Dave5440 RE: Caroline1 Jan 16, 2012 02:54 PM

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

                                                                      1. re: Dave5440
                                                                        Caroline1 RE: Dave5440 Jan 16, 2012 09:52 PM

                                                                        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
                                                                          JoanN RE: Caroline1 Jan 17, 2012 05:01 AM

                                                                          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
                                                                            Caroline1 RE: JoanN Jan 17, 2012 06:02 AM

                                                                            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
                                                                              Dave5440 RE: Caroline1 Jan 17, 2012 02:15 PM

                                                                              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
                                                                                jkling17 RE: Dave5440 Jan 17, 2012 03:24 PM

                                                                                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
                                                                                  Dave5440 RE: jkling17 Jan 17, 2012 06:34 PM

                                                                                  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
                                                                              rasputina RE: JoanN Jan 17, 2012 11:55 AM

                                                                              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
                                                                              rasputina RE: Caroline1 Jan 17, 2012 11:52 AM

                                                                              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
                                                                                jkling17 RE: rasputina Jan 17, 2012 02:11 PM

                                                                                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
                                                                                  GH1618 RE: jkling17 Jan 17, 2012 02:54 PM

                                                                                  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
                                                                                    rasputina RE: jkling17 Jan 17, 2012 05:19 PM

                                                                                    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
                                                                                      Chemicalkinetics RE: rasputina Mar 6, 2012 12:31 PM

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

                                                                                      I don't.

                                                                                  2. re: rasputina
                                                                                    dixiegal RE: rasputina Mar 6, 2012 12:29 PM

                                                                                    >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. c
                                                                              cdavis RE: MacArthur Mike Nov 26, 2013 01:12 PM

                                                                              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. f
                                                                                filtered RE: MacArthur Mike Nov 27, 2013 09:53 PM

                                                                                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
                                                                                  Caroline1 RE: filtered Dec 2, 2013 06:58 AM

                                                                                  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
                                                                                    RealMenJulienne RE: Caroline1 Dec 3, 2013 09:59 AM

                                                                                    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
                                                                                      Caroline1 RE: RealMenJulienne Dec 3, 2013 08:32 PM

                                                                                      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
                                                                                        DebinIndiana RE: Caroline1 Dec 3, 2013 09:04 PM

                                                                                        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
                                                                                        JayL RE: RealMenJulienne Dec 4, 2013 06:54 AM

                                                                                        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. t
                                                                                    twinsue RE: MacArthur Mike Dec 2, 2013 09:33 PM

                                                                                    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
                                                                                      JayL RE: twinsue Dec 3, 2013 07:40 AM

                                                                                      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
                                                                                        512window RE: JayL Dec 3, 2013 04:47 PM

                                                                                        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. d
                                                                                      DebinIndiana RE: MacArthur Mike Dec 3, 2013 09:01 PM

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

                                                                                      1. d
                                                                                        deputygeorgie RE: MacArthur Mike Dec 3, 2013 09:07 PM

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

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