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soap sacrilege (moved from Home Cooking)

Does everyone REALLY not use soap on their cast iron pans? I just bought the pre-seasoned Lodge set and I keep balking at the no soap cleaning protocol. Do I just have to suck it up and get accustomed? Does the pan never start to smell rancid or anything?

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  1. heat kills bacteria. After I'm done cleansing my pan( without soap) I lightly wipe it with oil and heat it up again to both keep my seasoning and to kill anything that might be there

    1. I scrub mine out with detergent and rinse well and set over a flame to dry. If it looks like it needs it (rarely) I will wipe on a little lard and rub it well.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Candy

        dumb question: by detergent do you mean the liquid stuff or the granular stuff?

        something else I don't understand... are you able to use any kind of sharp utensil on cast-iron? someone told me that it will scratch off the seasoning, so to avoid it. So does this mean that the castiron is indestructible but that the seasoning is not?

        1. re: alex8alot

          The only abuse it doesn't like it the soap/detergent. I have used the dish det on cast iron, GENTLY, and the seasoning has not washed out, but I wouldn't do it often. (Reseasoning by heating the way coastie and Candy describe, above, after that wash) I've found, though, that cooking acidics, such as ANYTHING with tomato, will strip that seasoning fast as a wink. Scratching with harsh utensils?...that'd be a neat trick, I think.

          AnnieG

          1. re: alex8alot

            The liquid stuff and a brush. Some crud is just going to stick and scrubbing with salt is not going to remove it. I've had most of my cast iron for over 30 years and it has not suffered a bit. When it gets too gunky and crudded I run it through the self-cleaning cycle of my oven and start over. It does not take too much work to get it back to perfect again.

        2. I use Dawn regularly, and I have a fabulous old cast iron pan I bought (at a garage sale) that used to belong to the grandmother of someone I worked with. I'm guessing the pan is at least 50 years old! I do dry it immediately after cleaning well (rinse with cold water), and will rub some vegetable oil into it as needed. Sometimes I will scrub it with salt, but that is rare. After once burning some milk in it, I did reseason it in the oven. The poster who said tomato sauce will remove the seasoning is right, as well. So far, milk and tomato sauce are the only things I found that will completely remove the seasoning..
          Not sure if this holds true with a new pot, but that's what works with my old one.

          2 Replies
          1. re: mschow

            how funny that the two opposite things would do the same damage! Why is milk so deadly, is it the burnt sugar in it?

            1. re: alex8alot

              I make caramel in a cast iron skillet and have no problems with clean up.

          2. I cooked fish in my cast iron pan last night. I used a smidge of liquid dw soap (Dawn) with a scrubby to clean it and get rid of the fish smell. I reseason the pan once in a while in the oven with a little oil--sometimes I scrub it with kosher salt.

            1. There is a huge to-do and lots of great tips about cast iron and seasoning and cleaning in the cookware board. I believe it has something about crisco in the title.