Yes! You should wash a cast iron skillet after you use it. But, if you think that you shouldn’t, don’t put yourself down because this is a common misconception. A lot of people believe that you shouldn’t wash cast iron skillets, or any cast iron cookware for that matter, as it could damage the appliance. However, this is not the case. But, you will need to be careful when you are washing your cast iron skillet to ensure that you do not do anything that could damage it.
The belief that you could damage your cast iron skillet by washing it isn’t wrong, but this doesn’t mean that you should avoid washing it altogether. Cast iron is just as prone to bacteria and dirt as other cooking equipment, so washing it is essential for proper food hygiene. So, how do you wash your cast iron skillet without damaging it?
Well, the key to not damaging your cast iron skillet is to use all cleaning products in moderation. The reason that it is easily possible to damage your skillet when cleaning it, is because soap can strip away the seasoning from your skillet. As a cast iron skillet owner, you will know that this seasoning is one of the key reasons why food that is cooked in your skillet tastes so great. So, you need to try to protect this seasoning at all costs.
The best way to wash your skillet without damaging the seasoning of it, is to wash your skillet by hand. In the age of dishwashers, it can be very tempting to throw all the cookware in it. But, this could really damage your skillet. So, you should always wash your skillet by hand. Additionally, you should also use the smallest amount of soap possible, and make sure that you only scrub very gently, otherwise you could be unknowingly removing the seasoning from the pan.
Can you clean Cast Iron with Oven Cleaner?
So, yes, you should wash your cast iron cooking equipment, but with what? As we’ve already established, cast iron cookware is very sensitive, and so it must be handled with care at every stage of the cleaning process. So, to ensure that you do not damage your skillet, or any other cast iron equipment for that matter, you have to be careful what you put on it.
Some people recommend cleaning your cast iron skillet using oven cleaner. You might have already heard of this method, and been skeptical because oven cleaner contains very strong chemicals. Chemicals that could potentially damage your expensive equipment. However, even though it is very strong, oven cleaner is actually an ideal cleaning product to use on your cast iron skillet.
We said earlier that something that can be very damaging to your cast iron skillet is if you use a lot of soap or cleaning products on it. In excess, these cleaning products will strip away the seasoning of the pan, meaning that you have to re-season it before you use it. If you were to use a weak soap, then you would have to use lots of it to be able to remove the bacteria left from cooking in the pan. However, oven cleaners are a lot stronger.
This is why oven cleaner is ideal, because it means you can get a thorough clean without needing to use too many chemicals. So, a very small amount of oven cleaner will be just as good at cleaning your skillet as a large amount of cleaning soap would. You may expect your skillet to be damaged by the oven cleaner, but as long as you only use a small amount, it will be fine. So yes, you absolutely can clean your cast iron skillet with oven cleaner if you want to.
Do you wash Cast Iron after seasoning?
No, you don’t need to wash cast iron after seasoning. In fact, you really shouldn’t do this. Before you use a new cast iron skillet, you first need to season it. As a cast iron cookware owner, you will already know that seasoning this piece of equipment is a vital part of making anything you cook in it delicious. If your cast iron equipment isn’t seasoned then you may as well be cooking with a regular pan.
As we have already said earlier on, the act of washing your skillet could potentially damage it as this action removes the seasoning from the inside of the skillet. So, as you can probably expect, there is no need to wash your cast iron skillet immediately after seasoning it as this is essentially counterproductive. If you were to wash any cast iron piece of cooking equipment immediately after seasoning it, then you would be scrubbing the seasoning that you have just applied to the skillet off of it.
Instead of washing your cast iron skillet after seasoning it, you should instead use it to cook. If you have just applied the seasoning you might be wary of doing this as the seasoning could be a little strong. But there’s no need to worry. Before you use your freshly seasoned cast iron skillet, you should simply heat the pan up without any food inside it. This heat will ensure that the seasoning that has been added to the skillet begins to settle into the sides of the skillet.
Throughout the lifetime of your skillet, you will need to re-season it multiple times. Every time that you do this, the seasoning coating the inside of your skillet will grow thicker and more hard-wearing. So, no you do not wash your cast iron skillet immediately after seasoning it, however you should clean it after every use.
How do you clean a Cast Iron Griddle?
Even though cast iron skillets and griddles are slightly different from one another, the way in which you clean them is very similar. After all, they are both made with the same material, and have the same purpose, so it isn’t really that much of a surprise. So let’s take a look at how you should clean your cast iron griddle.
Well, first things first, the most important thing you need to remember is that you should always wash your cast iron cooking equipment by hand. No matter how tempting using the dishwasher might be, this will strip the seasoning away. This could be especially damaging if your griddle isn’t very new as you likely will have years of seasoning applied to the interior of the griddle, and one single wash in the dishwasher could destroy all this hard work.
So, if you want to clean your cast iron griddle after using it, you should use your hands and try to be as gentle as possible. It is ideal to use hot water to clean the griddle, and only a very small amount of soap as too much could also remove the seasoning from the interior of the griddle. This is why some people choose to use oven cleaner as it is much stronger than some other soaps. This means that you only need to use a very small amount to get the same cleaning effect as using lots of soap.
Ideally, you just want to rinse the interior of your griddle with the soap and water. However, if you encounter any stubborn stains or stuck food, you can use a scraper. Before you begin scraping away these marks, you should first simmer hot water in the griddle for up to 5 minutes as this will loosen the bond, making it easier to remove the food that has stuck to the inside of your griddle. Once this is done, dry your griddle out ready for the next time that you want to use it.
How do you clean a Cast Iron Pan for the First Time?
If you have bought a brand-new cast iron pan, then you need to clean it before you can do anything else with it. This is because, when cast iron cooking equipment is new, it might still be coated with chemicals from the manufacturing process. Chemicals that could alter the taste of whatever you are cooking, and also make you unwell. So, before you use it, you need to give it a clean.
Throughout this, we’ve told you multiple times, that you have to be very careful cleaning your cast iron cookware. However, the one time that you do not need to be incredibly careful is when you are cleaning it for the first time. This is because your pan will not yet be seasoned, so there is no risk of removing this seasoning when you wash it.
So, when you are washing your cast iron pan for the first time, you should do so with warm soapy water. Ensure that you give all the inside of the pan a light scrub to remove any chemicals attempting to stick around, and then rinse it out with clean warm water. Once you have washed it, you then need to dry out your pan. We recommend doing this with either paper towels or a dry cloth.
If you really wanted to, you could even wash your cast iron pan in the dishwasher for its first wash. But, we would always recommend washing by hand as this ensures that all the pan gets a good clean. Once you have dried it out, you can then move onto seasoning your cast iron pan for the first time. But how do you do this? Let’s have a look…
How do you clean and reseason cast iron?
Cast iron cooking equipment is so popular because it is already seasoned, which means that everything you cook in it will also be infused with this seasoning. But, as we have established, it is also this seasoning that can make cleaning your cast iron cookware a bit of a chore.
We’ve already covered how to clean this type of cookware in quite a lot of detail. But we haven’t actually spoken about how to season and re-season it when necessary, so let’s take a look at how you season your cast iron cookware for the first time. And also how you should re-season it after every single time you wash it.
No matter whether you are seasoning your cast iron cookware for the first time, or the fifth time, you will need to wash it before you do this. You should gently wash the cookware with warm soapy water to remove any leftover food, or unwanted chemicals inside it, then pat it dry with paper towels. Once it has dried, you can then move onto seasoning or re-seasoning the pan.
You should begin by using either vegetable or olive oil to coat the inside of the pan, this will usually take 1-2 tablespoons. After that you should set your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. When you have set the oven to go, take a clean paper towel and use that to rub the oil around the entire surface inside the pan, and also the outside too.
By this time, your oven should have begun pre-heating, so you can then flip your pan so that it is face-down, and put it in the center rack of the oven. It is also a good idea to put a baking tray covered with foil on the shelf beneath this to catch any oil drips. Leave your pan in the oven for an hour, before turning the heat off and allowing it to cool. Once your pan has cooled, it will then be seasoned and ready to use.