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Cleaning a seasoned cast iron skillet-- advice please!

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We love our two skillets and have remained faithful to only cleaning them with coarse kosher salt and a plastic scrubber but sometimes we can detect an off taste and blackened areas on the pan from browning meats remain and will discolor onions, eggs, etc. wouldn't it be ok to simply wash them in hot soapy water with the regular scrubber and them dry over heat and coat with a thin layer of oil? Please share your experience with these pans. Thank you!

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  1. <wouldn't it be ok to simply wash them in hot soapy water with the regular scrubber and them dry over heat and coat with a thin layer of oil?>

    In my experience, it is perfectly fine to wash with soapy water once awhile. If necessary, I do a quick stovetop seasoning after -- 5 minutes.

    <we can detect an off taste and blackened areas on the pan from browning meats remain and will discolor onions, eggs, etc.>

    See.... I see off taste and blackened areas as two separate issues. Most often, off tasting comes from exposed cast iron cookware which means part of the seasoning has been worn off, and now the iron is reacting to the foods to the water to the air, and causing "metal" taste. Blackened areas are results of burned-on foods or burned-on sauce, which means a layer of burned material is added on TOP of the existing seasoning layer.

    Therefore, the solutions to these two issues are different. One requires reseasoning, while the other requires scrubbing.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

      Thank you! This is helpful.

    2. If I cook something greasy, or fry something I always wash with a little dish detergent. The seasoning is fine.

      1 Reply
      1. re: rasputina

        A while back, I asked my great aunts about the cleaning of cast iron pans. (farm family) They all said, back in the day, that they washed out the pans with soap.

      2. Hot water, soap and scrubby after every use, then a few minutes on heat to dry it out. I live in a pretty dry climate so no need for reoiling.

        1. If I cook something in CI that requires more than a wipe with paper towel, I go with the hot water, CHEAP salt and a scrubbie. Then back on burner to heat up and another dab of bacon grease... that's what my grandmother always did.

          If pan is crusty, like last yard sale find, I run thru self-cleaning cycle of oven. Nothing but ashes left. Then a scrub and reseason.

          First reacquaintance with CI was 3 CRUSTY, GOOD skillets at a yard sale... $1 each. Was in dead of summer so self-clean iin oven was not a practical option. I just had at them with several applications of cheap-o (dollar store) oven cleaner... then reseasoned.

          1. I don't know what you mean by "blackaned." My entire pan is black.

            I don't see anything wrong with washing it with a tiny bit of dish soap when it has a greasy residue in it, but I don't finish with a "thin layer of oil." I always leave my pan completely clean and dry. This is achieved by washing (whether with soap or not) and rinsing, then putting on low heat for a short time while I wipe and buff with a paper towel.

            If the seasoning is damaged by cleaning, I replenish with Crisco shortening and heat, and remove all excess with paper towels.

            1. If I can't clean it completely with a paper towel wipe, I use hot water and gentle encouragement with a cm scrubber (not a scrubbing-just light pressure):

              http://www.cmscrubber.com

              It works great for me. [I'm not affiliated with them in any way. However, they are al local business, and when I saw one, I was intrigued, and I was in a 'support a local business' kind of mood, so I bought it and now love it.]