How to Clean Cast Iron Skillet

A Comprehensive Guide for Clean Freaks

Hello Challenger, are you tired of scrubbing your cast iron skillet to no avail? Do you want to learn how to clean your cast iron skillet thoroughly without damaging it? Then you’re in the right place! Cast iron skillets are renowned for being durable and long-lasting cookware, but they require proper maintenance to maintain their quality. In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know about cleaning your cast iron skillet in a way that keeps it looking pristine and performing well. So, don’t wait any longer; let’s dive in!


Cast iron skillets have been a beloved kitchen tool for generations because they distribute heat evenly and can go from stovetop to oven with ease. However, to keep your skillet performing its best, it’s essential to clean it properly. Here are seven things you need to know before you get started:

1. Can You Use Soap on Cast Iron?

Contrary to popular belief, soap won’t ruin your cast iron skillet. While it can break down the seasoning on your skillet over time, so long as you’re not using too much soap and rinse it thoroughly, you’ll be fine.

2. Never Soak Your Skillet

Never, under any circumstances, should you soak your cast iron skillet. Unlike stainless steel or nonstick cookware, cast iron is porous and absorbs water. Soaking it can cause rust or leave it discolored.

3. Regular Seasoning Is Required

Cast iron skillets require seasoning to create a protective layer and prevent rusting. Seasoning adds an extra layer of protection against rust, food sticking to the pan, and it helps to develop a non-stick surface.

4. Don’t Be Too Aggressive

While it’s essential to clean your skillet thoroughly, you don’t want to be too aggressive with it. Harsh scrubbing pads or metal utensils can cause damage to the seasoning layer and scratch the surface of your skillet.

5. Use Appropriate Cleaning Materials

Cast iron skillets have different cleaning requirements than other cookware, so using abrasive materials like steel wool or a harsh abrasive cleaner will damage them. You should use a non-abrasive sponge or cloth and mild dish soap when cleaning.

6. The Best Time to Clean Your Skillet is After Cooking

Cleaning your cast iron skillet immediately after use is the best way to maintain its longevity. The reason is that food residue can lead to rusting and can damage the seasoning on your skillet over time.

7. Proper Storage is Essential

After cleaning your cast iron skillet, make sure it’s thoroughly dry before storing it. Moisture can accumulate in the pan and cause rusting. When storing, don’t stack other skillets or pans on top of it; instead, keep it in a dry, cool place.

How to Clean a Cast Iron Skillet

With those tips in mind, let’s dive into how to clean a cast iron skillet:

1. What You’ll Need:

Materials Quantity
Non-abrasive sponge or cloth 1
Dish soap 1-2 teaspoons
Paper towels 2-3
Cooking oil (vegetable, flaxseed, or canola) 1-2 teaspoons

2. Cool Down Your Skillet:

After cooking, let your cast iron skillet cool down on the stovetop. This will prevent cracking or warping due to extreme temperature change.

3. Clean the Skillet:

Fill a sink with warm water and add a tablespoon of dish soap. Dip your non-abrasive sponge or cloth into the soapy water and gently scrub the skillet’s surface, making sure to get in all the crevices. Then rinse thoroughly with hot water.

4. Dry the Skillet:

Use a paper towel to remove any excess water from your skillet, wiping down the surface and around the rim. Then heat the skillet on low heat on the stove, using a paper towel or a clean cloth to dry it thoroughly.

5. Season the Skillet:

Once your skillet is dry, season it with a light layer of cooking oil, using a paper towel to distribute the oil evenly over the surface. This will keep it well protected between uses and help prevent rusting.

6. Store It Correctly:

Now that your skillet is clean, dry, and seasoned, store it in a dry, cool, and well-ventilated area. Avoid stacking anything on the skillet and keep it away from moisture.

7. Repeat:

It’s essential to repeat this cleaning process after each use to maintain the longevity of your cast iron skillet. And remember, over time, seasoning will build up and create that coveted non-stick surface.


1. Can I Use a Metal Scrubber to Clean My Cast Iron Skillet?

No. Metal scrubbers will scratch or remove the seasoning, so it’s best to avoid them. Instead, use a soft-bristled brush or non-abrasive sponge.

2. How Often Should I Season My Cast Iron Skillet?

You should season your skillet whenever the seasoning wears thin, which should be every three to four months.

3. Can I Use Olive Oil to Season My Cast Iron Skillet?

No. Olive oil has a low smoke point and can go rancid over time. Instead, it’s best to use a high smoke point oil like vegetable, flaxseed, or canola oil.

4. Can I Clean My Cast Iron Skillet in the Dishwasher?

No. Dishwashers use high heat, which can damage your skillet’s surface and cause it to rust. It’s best to hand wash it instead.

5. Can I Season My Cast Iron Skillet In The Oven?

Yes. Rub your preferred oil all over your skillet and place it in a 350°F oven for one hour.

6. How Do I Get Tough Stains Out of My Cast Iron Skillet?

If hot water and dish soap don’t take care of the stain, sprinkle some coarse salt in the skillet and use a non-abrasive sponge to scrub it away.

7. Can I Use Cast Iron Skillet on Induction Cooktop?

Yes; cast iron is compatible with all cooktop surfaces, including induction cooktop.


Cleaning and maintaining your cast iron skillet isn’t as daunting as it may seem. Regular cleaning and seasoning of your skillet can keep it functioning well for years to come. So, next time you use your cast iron skillet, follow these tips for cleaning it correctly, and you’ll have a beautiful and functional pan to cook with every time.

Now that you’ve learned how to clean cast iron skillet properly, don’t hesitate to put your knowledge to use. Start cleaning your skillet with a smile on your face, knowing it’s going to be a much more manageable process. Happy cleaning, Challenger!


Although we have taken great care to ensure the accuracy of the information presented here, this article should not be used as a substitute for expert advice. Additionally, the use of any information contained in this article is entirely at your discretion. Therefore, we will not assume any liability for the use of this information. Before using any cleaning methods or products, please consult with a professional or read the instructions carefully.