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How to Clean Cast Iron the Easy Way

Cast iron has been used to form pans and other cooking devices, such as grills and dutch ovens, for hundreds of years.  It is so durable that you can find perfectly functional cast iron pans from the early twentieth century in antique stores, yard sales, or estate sales.  For those that have survived the test of time, well seasoned cast iron will import a unique, crispy flavor that does wonders for steak, casseroles, and even pizza.  Why is it so great?

The secret is in its composition:  cast iron is a hard alloy of iron and carbon that contains an unusually high amount of carbon. The weight lends itself well to even heating and beautiful grill marks.  And while it’s highly durable, the high iron content can cause cast iron to rust and degrade if not properly called for.

There is much controversy over the most efficient way to clean cast iron appliances due to its want for rust.  In this article, you’ll find some helpful tips and tricks on how to clean your beloved cast iron devices without harming them!  Please click the following link if you’re looking for instructions on how to season a cast iron pan or skillet

1. Clean Cast Iron Grills with Salt

cleaning cast iron with salt

Grills (the type you may have on you bbq) are the easiest to clean.  To eliminate rust and clean the grill at the same time, use this recipe.

Things You Need

  • Kosher Salt: 3 Tablespoons
  • Water: 1/2 cup
  • Water for Rinsing
  • Steel Wool
  • Paper Towels

Procedure

Mix the salt and water together until a thick paste has formed. If the paste is too thin, add more salt until it has reached a scrub-like consistency. Remove the grill and put it on a baking pan.  Rub the salt paste on the steel wool and scrub the grill until the rust and old food bits have been removed. Then, rinse the whole grill and wipe it down with a paper towel.

This approach will do wonders for the grill – but is a last resort. Don’t over do it!  Rather, use a metal brush after each use (and while the grill is still hot) to prepare it for its next use.

2. Clean Cast Iron Sinks with Water

Because cast iron sinks are not used to cook, they do not need to be seasoned after use like cast iron pans or grills. And typically, they are sealed.  Therefore, they can be easily cleaned to a shine with some water and a little bit of elbow grease.

Things You Need

  • Soft Sponge
  • Water for Rinsing

Procedure

Wet the soft sponge and rub the inside of the cast iron sink until all old food particles and stains have disappeared. Then just rinse out the interior of the sink and it’ll be good as new.  If you want to really make that sink sparkle, use Hope’s Perfect Sink!

3. Clean Seasoned Cast Iron Dutch Ovens Without Water

If treated, cast iron pans and dutch ovens do not require the use of salt, water, or other cleaning solutions.  In fact, these substances can even do serious harm to the pan over time.  If the cast iron is untreated, follow this approach to properly season it for the first use!

To clean a seasoned pan, just use a damp cloth to remove the food particles, voila!  If you accidentally damaged your pot or burnt something in there, then use the following steps to correct the problem.

Things You Need

  • Water- 4 cups
  • Steel Wool
  • Cooking Oil- 3 Tablespoons
  • Paper Towels

Procedure

Pour the water into the dutch oven and boil it to burn off any old foot bits. After the water has come to a boil, pour it out and scrub the oven clean with the steel wool. Dry the oven (you can use a low heat on the stove top) and rub the cooking oil over the inside and outside of it using the paper towels to season it for future use.  Pat dry.  Let the oil seep into the pan, do not wash off. Do not use soap!

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And, as we do in all our other “how to” articl es, here is a video of these steps in action:

Posted in: Cleaning Tips

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