If you *must* clean your cast iron...
How should you do it? The pre-dishwash cycle is my house is AKA 'the dog tongue cycle' - obviously just rinsing after this isn't going to cut it. I generally wash these licked CI pans the way I wash most other dishes (soap, scrubbie/cloth) - is there a method that would be kinder on the pans?*
*not giving the pans to the dogs is not an option, they would be heartbroken and I love them more than my pans
There's nothing wrong with using soap on cast iron pans. You just won't get that perfect layer of seasoning that most people are after.
Scrubbing it under very very hot water will probably remove most of the tongue slime :-)
Or forget about cast iron altogether. The point of using bare cast iron cookware is to build a layer of seasoning that consists of fat build-up, along with all kinds of flavors along the way, which may more or less include the drools from your babies.
I have a pretty nice layer of seasoning built up on my cast iron pan, which I use every few days. I generally swipe with a slightly soapy sponge after using and rinse a few times until there's no odor on the pan. I dry the pan immediately over an open flame on the stove and then reseason when the pan is still warm with a light drizzle of olive oil, wiped over all surfaces with a paper towel. The system works well for me. The time spent heating on the open flame should kill any unwanted bacteria.
Having had a few dogs over the years, and observing where the tongues went, I would never allow them to lick my pans...It isn't cute, it isn't being a loving pet owner, it's just plain disgusting. Agree with michelleats on a sane routine to maintain ci