How to Clean Cast Iron Cookware – In detailed Guide

Post By • Updated On:

Having a dirty set of cast iron cookware can be risky and quite a bit of a buzzkill.

Firstly, you leave yourself and your family susceptible to germs, and in case of dirty pans or skillets, you are likely to burn your food. Now nobody wants to come home and end their day with half or whole burnt food.

However, with unseasoned and dirty cookware, you are sure to face such complications while cooking.

Cleaning your cookware can be tricky if you are not familiar with the right techniques. So, this is where we step in and give you our two cents on how to clean cast iron cookware.

How to Clean Cast Iron Cookware
  • Save

What is Cast Iron Cookware?

The flat definition is cookware such as griddles, frying pans, crepe makers, deep fryers, ovens, and etc. made out of a particular type of iron are called cast iron cookware.

Usually, people prefer cast-iron cookware for their unique features- for instance, their heat retention aspects, durability, longevity, non-sticking properties, and ability to withstand very high temperatures.

Nowadays, most people in the world prefer using cast iron cookware over any other thing, only for cooking something specific that they choose some other type of cookware.

The Methods of Cleaning Cast Iron Cookware

Cleaning a cast iron cookware
  • Save

There are a few methods for cleaning cast-iron items. Some of them bear poor results; however, it is still better than leaving out your cookware unclean.

So, have a look and try to make the best with what you have.

Cleaning Cast Iron Cookware with Baking Soda and Raw Potato

I will be describing the procedure of cleaning cast iron cookware with baking soda and raw potato, below.

Necessary items

  • The half of a raw potato
  • Baking Soda

Time Required

  • Approximately 2 minutes

Procedure – (What to do?)

You will need to start by taking a raw potato and cutting it into half. Make sure the potato is large and that you cut it vertically because it makes the cleaning process more comfortable.

After you are done cutting, dip it into baking soda.

You only need to mix the cut side with baking soda, as it’s the only part that will be in contact with the cookware.

Once you are done, rub the potato around the skillet or pan.


Potatoes contain oxalic acid, which is extremely useful for breaking down rust.

However, we are talking about breaking down food particles here, and quite frankly, it’s not the same. The results are satisfactory but not very impressive. The baking soda, along with the potato, is able to soak up all oil and grease from the pan.

The mixture produces a mild abrasive, and it’s not enough to take out all the food particles. As you are cooking, there will be bits of food stuck at the bottom of the pan, even if it is a non-sticky one.

In order to remove them, you either need to scrub with great force or use a strong abrasive. Potato dipped in baking soda doesn’t have enough toxicity to break these food particles. So, if your target is to remove these its and bits of food, then you should choose another method.

However, if you are just here to clean away oil and grease, then you will find this method very useful. It is a cheap process, and you only require a potato and baking soda. Moreover, it takes only 2 minutes to complete the entire cleaning session.

You can also remove rust from your cookware with a half potato and baking soda. Although the method is unorthodox and seems a little strange, it is somewhat useful.

You should remember that the process is not for deep cleaning; therefore, act according to it.

Cleaning Cast Iron Cookware with Eco-Friendly Dish Soap and Hot Water

Let’s check the detailed procedure to clean a cast iron cookware with Eco-Friendly Dish Soap and Hot Water.

Necessary Items

  • Liquid Dish Soap
  • Hot Water
  • Stiff Bristled Brush

Time Required

  • 1 to 2 minutes

Procedures – (What to do?)

Start off with adding a little dish soap (dime-sized drop to be exact) to the skillet. Make sure the liquid reaches the bottom properly. Afterward, use hot water and a bristled brush to clean the cookware by brushing them thoroughly.

Note: Using dish soap on cast iron has its perks and flaws.

Some people prefer it whereas some don’t at all.

Now, the drawback you may face while using dish soap is that it will remove all the grease from your cookware. It means the process will ruin all efforts you have put to season the pan, thereby making the item lose its non-stick features and vulnerable to rust.

On the other hand, there is a debate going on, which claims that eco-friendly dish cleansers aren’t very harsh. They don’t harm your cookware or take away any of its qualities.

Therefore, they are quite useful and efficient for cleaning.


Once you add a dime-sized drop of eco-friendly dish soap in your cookware and wash them with hot water and a bristled brush, you will see the items coming out very clean.

However, most of the time, the cookware will look dried out even if it had a fine seasoning job beforehand. The process works a little too well.

It not only removes all the food particles but also cuts through all oil and grease. The method is suitable for deep cleaning, but you will need to season your cookware afterward, especially if you are washing a pan or skillet.

With that said, it is better not to follow the method for everyday cleaning. You should only use eco-friendly dish soap as a last resort or after a certain amount of time.

If your pan is somewhat clean and doesn’t require a lot of help, you shouldn’t use this method for cleaning. It will only dry out the item and take away its nonstick features.

However, if your cookware is way too dirty for standard cleaning, then we will suggest that you use dish soap.

Just remember to season your pan and skillet once the deed is done.

Cleaning Cast Iron Cookware with Paper Towel and Salt

Let’s talk about the Cast Iron Cookware cleaning procedures with paper Towel and Salt.

Necessary Items

  • Coarse Kosher Salt
  • Kitchen Towel
  • Hot Water

Time Required

  • Approximately 5 minutes

Procedure – (What to Do?)

First of all, pour a cup of coarse kosher salt into the cookware.

Then take a kitchen towel and fold it for density. Use the towel to scrub the surface of the cookware, and keep doing it for a while. Remove the salt from the skillet and dump it in the trash as you won’t be able to use it anymore.

Rinse your item with hot water to finish cleaning.


To be completely honest, it is not at all an effective method.

Yes, it has some advantages, yet the drawbacks and the time it consumes are not worth the effort.

Initially, you would have to use up a lot of salt, which feels like a waste in the end.

Additionally, the salt makes it hard to see where you need to scrub. So, you would be scouring randomly or just with your memory. On the other hand, the folded doesn’t give you much control in terms of scouring the cookware.

There is a very high chance that you may end up spilling salt left and right, which will only create a greater mess than you had before. Nonetheless, the only good thing about rubbing salt along a skillet or pan is that it will soak up every last bit of oil.

Your cookware won’t stay oily, but there may be food particles left at the bottom. It is not a method that we suggest to our readers because it mostly feels like a waste of good salt.

However, if your initial plan is to remove oil from the cookware without exposing them to harsh abrasive, then you may find the cleaning method somewhat useful.

Salt can be an excellent abrasive if you know how to use it. So, if you are able to scour your skillet correctly, there is a chance you will have a neat and clean item at the end.

Cleaning Cast Iron Cookware with Boiling Water

Cleaning a cast iron cookware with boiling water is easy! Do you know, how? Let’s learn it.

Necessary Items

  • Wooden Spoon
  • Water

Time Required

  • A little more than 5 minutes

Procedure – (What to Do?)

The method is mostly used for pan or skillet; thus, it won’t be effective for other types of cookware.

You will have to start by filling your skillet with some water.

Make sure the water is a few inches high so it can be in contact with every part of the pan.

Boil the water using average heat and, at the same time, use a wooden spoon to remove whatever is left on the skillet.

You should be careful while scraping the burned or sticky food.

If you are too harsh, it may end up leaving a streak on both the spoon and the pan.


The bottom of the pan will come out very clean as the water is mostly in contact with that portion.

The water starts to boil from the bottom; so, the bits of food stuck there become loose very quickly.

However, cleaning the sides is an entirely different story. You will have a difficult time washing and scrubbing the sides.

Even if you put a lot of pressure on your spoon, chances are you won’t be able to clean the sides entirely. Usually, what happens at the bottom is that the boiling water melts away the food particles, which later on becomes easy to remove.

But the sides don’t get enough exposure to water or heat. Nevertheless, the method is quite useful and cleans the pan quite nicely. There is a drawback to using boiling-water only, which is that it won’t remove any grease or oil from the cookware.

However, there is a neat way to bypass the complication. When you are boiling water in the pan, just add a little baking soda or salt. The mixture removes all oil and grease from the skillet and makes it even cleaner.

With that said, you shouldn’t expect the method to be ultimate as the sides will still remain a little dirty even if you add coarse salt or baking soda. Additionally, it is a bit time-consuming; so, make sure you have enough time spare before going through the process.

Cleaning Cast Iron Cookware with Stiff Scrub Brush and Salt

Clean Cast Iron cookware with Stiff Scrub Brush and Salt! Is it possible? Yes. Let’s dive into it.

Necessary Items

  • Coarse Kosher Salt
  • Hot Water
  • Stiff Brush

Time Required

  • One and a half to 2 minutes

What to Do?

You will need to head on to the cleaning process when the skillet is still warm.

Begin by washing your cookware with a stiff brush and hot water.

Scrub the sides and the bottom properly to ensure proper cleaning.

Drain the water from the skillet.

Afterward, add two tablespoons of coarse kosher salt to the wet pan, which will create a paste.

Use the stiff brush to scrub the entire pan or skillet.

Continue scouring for a minute or two and remove the paste with clean water.


As you can expect, the results will be quite satisfying if you go with this method for cleaning your cast iron cookware.

It is by far the best way to clean your pan or skillet with maximum efficiency.

First of all, the hot water loosens up the food particles sticking along the cookware.

So, when you give a scrub with a stiff brush, everything will start coming off. Additionally, the hot water dries out the oil and grease as well. However, it is not enough, and that’s where the salt comes into play.

The coarse kosher salt acts as an abrasive, which will help you to clean up the little remaining food and oil. When you form the paste and start scouring with the brush, you will see that everything is coming off the pan quite effortlessly.

Although it may seem too easy, cleaning a cast iron cookware shouldn’t be tough from the beginning. It is a highly effective method, and you are sure to be satisfied with the end result.

It only consumes a little bit of your time, and as for expense, the things you need are cheap and available. Just make sure that your brush is of decent quality, and the salt you are using is not dirty.

How to Clean Rust from Cast Iron Cookware

Cleaning Rust from Cast Iron
  • Save

Cleaning a rusty pan or skillet is not the same as cleaning a dirty one. Rusty cookware will need to be seasoned after the cleansing process. So, let us look at the steps to cleaning and restoring rusty cookware.

Step 1: Scour

Add some warm water and soap to the item.

Usually, soap ruins the seasoning of a pan, but it won’t matter to you because the item already needs re-seasoning.

Use steel wool to scrub the rusty areas properly. This will remove the rusty layers from the skillet.

Rinse and dry the pan thoroughly.

You can also try using a half potato and baking soda. It is known to be useful in eliminating rust from cookware.

Step 2: Oiling

Once your cookware is all dry, you will have to oil it.

Use a thin layer of vegetable or cooking oil and spread it evenly around the cookware.

Make sure you are oiling both the inside and outside of the skillet.

You should avoid using excessive oil as it will make your pan sticky.

Step 3: Baking

This may sound a little weird, but it’s time to bake your cookware in an oven.

Make sure your oven has two racks as you will need to put the pan upside down on the top one. Place a big aluminum foil or baking sheet on top of the bottom rack. The paper will prevent any excess oil from reaching the surface of the oven, which may drip from the pan. Start baking the pan at 450 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit and do it for at least an hour.

Let the cookware cool and keep repeating the process till you attain the black patina. It is crucial to maintain the seasoning of your cast iron cookware.

If not, your skillet or pan may start to lose its nonstick features or develop rust. So, you should always try to keep your seasoned pan in good condition. If the rust is not excessive then, you don’t have to go through all the hard work of seasoning your cookware.

Scrubbing the rusty spots, wash, dry, and applying a little vegetable oil will do the trick.

Readmore: Rachael Ray Cucina 12-pc Hard-Anodized Nonstick Cookware Set Review


You shouldn’t waste your time thinking about which method to use for cleaning your cast iron cookware.

The more you delay, the more challenging it becomes to restore your kitchen items.

Therefore, even if the method is not super-efficient, you still should not wait for the bits of food to permanently damage your cookware.

As you can see in our article about how to clean cast iron cookware, we have given you several methods to choose from.

So, what are you waiting for? It is scrub-o’clock.

Leave a Comment

Share via
Copy link