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Cast Iron frying pan cleaning

I've got a cast iron frying pan and as I understand, it shouldn't be washed in soap and warm water along with everything else. I find this kind of gross, is it a hard and fast rule?

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  1. No, as far as I am concerned. But it is true that once a pan is well-seasoned, it can be cleaned with nothing more than hot water and a scrubber. After a short soak in hot water, and a scrub, I put the pan over the hear for half a minute, and wipe dry with a paper towel. The pan is then clean and dry.

    But if I cook something particularly greasy, like sausage, I add a couple of drops of dish detergent to the soak water to cut the grease. Then I continue as before.

    1 Reply
    1. re: GH1618

      The heat kills anything worrisome. Seasoning is no big deal. Once in awhile I put in oven when do self clean, then re season.

    2. Wash it, it will be fine. I wash mine with dish detergent every time I use and have been doing so for many years without issue. Just dry it on the stove or in the oven so it doesn't rust.

      2 Replies
      1. re: rasputina

        Same with me. The drying over the flame of the stove is the important part.

        1. re: escondido123

          Youre right about drying being the most important part.

      2. Dish soap and hot water are fine if it's pretty well seasoned.

        Been doing it for 35 years.

        1 Reply
        1. re: C. Hamster

          That's good to know.

          And in all honest I shouldn't have said that I "never" use detergent. If my sponge is still a little foamy, I don't worry about it.

        2. I typically use cool or luke warm water and a plain scrubber. If alot of grease is in the pan, I'll use hot water. I never use detergent.

          You use detergent to get greasy things clean. You don't have to use it to take food debris off.

          I usually just place on a burner to help dry as the pan is usually still a bit oily after the wash. A minute over some heat and a quick wipe with a paper towel is all it takes. If it's a bit oily, I leave it...if it looks dry, I dampen the paper with some oil and wipe it back to a sheen.

          I have never had any reason to clean & re-season a pan.

          1. I always use a little water while the pans just turned off the burner to "de-glaze" it. When I get to cleaning after eating, it's just hot water and a plastic scrub pad. If there's anything tough to get off, I just use a bit of salt with the scrub pad with the pan getting water only from the scrubber.

            1. <is it a hard and fast rule?>

              No. I would say that it is important not to use detergent and soap when the cast iron pan is new. Once the seasoning surface has settled in (anywhere between a few days to a few weeks), you can use detergent once awhile.

              You should able to use plain water anytime for new or old cast iron pans.

              <I find this kind of gross>

              Not really, but everyone think differently. It is not a health hazard that is for sure. For cast iron pans, you disinfect the pans by heating it up. Think about the BBQ grill. You don't clean grill by soap. You just heat it up and brush it.


              1. Thanks for your responses. The conclusion I've come to is that it's ok to use soap once in a while

                1. Wash it. Put it on the stove top, low heat and let is dry...after you have wiped out what water you can.

                  1. For something like eggs or a grilled cheese in a WELL seasoned (virtually non-stick) pan... I just wipe out with wad of paper towels.

                    If something a bit more wet... maybe some "gunk" in pan... a toss in a little water to cover gunk and a little simmer to loosen. Then I scrub with cheap-o dollar store salt, rinse well with HOT water and then back on stove burner till HOT! Then a dab of bacon grease... that's what my Grandmother always did.