No ImageHow to Clean and Season Cast Iron Cookware

  1. Lisa

    Great tips! When I was a kid and my chore was to wash dishes, I HATED my mom’s cast iron skillets. Now, as an adult, I can’t imagine not having them!

    Two things I do differently: I always dry with a paper towel and I don’t technically “season” the pans after using them, but I always coat the cleaned pan with just a bit of vegetable oil before stowing it back in the cupboard. I don’t use the heat again. Works like a charm to maintain the seasoning.

  2. Tony

    I pretty much follow all the tips and rules you’ve listed for my cast iron skillet. It is seasoned and works well. However, my concern is that even after I cleaned it, when I take a fresh paper towel to wipe it I’m finding small black flake specks or residue still coming off and staying on the paper towel. I’m concerned that this would go into any of the food I cook in the skillet.

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  3. Kell

    Thank you for the tips. My husband completely burned my favorite iron skillet. Not only is it the perfect medium size, it was my great grandmother’s. She had it long before I was born (I’m 50) so it is probably 70 to 80 years old! I was MORTIFIED! And I have been wondering if it is ruined or not. No matter how many times I heat it up, wipe w oil, heat it up, wipe with oil, all this horrible black carbon comes off on the paper towel. I tried the oven trick…no more carbon on the towel! I am SO HAPPY!!

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  4. Ella

    That was a good refresher course.

  5. John Meyer

    Great article. I have a couple of Lodge cast iron pans, and here are a few things I do slightly differently.

    1. I ALWAYS use a very small amount of soap (NOT dishwasher detergent) in order to cut through the fresh grease. I never simply wipe the pan, although many people do just that. I’ve never had any problem with the seasoning degrading from a little bit of soap.

    2. I always re-season the pan after every use. My method starts the same as what is described in the article, but I heat it all the way up to 400 degrees. Here is the key “trick:” I use a “point and shoot” infrared thermometer to measure the temperature of the surface of the pan and turn off the heat when I get more than two measurements over 400. Because cast iron is the worst material for distributing heat, you will get very significant variations in surface temperature. These will even out as the pan cools, so if you get several spots above 400, in the first minute after you turn off the heat, all points on the pan will get to 400. When I wipe up the excess oil after the pan cools I usually have no residue other than the oil (i.e., the paper towel does not look black), indicating that the surface is perfectly clean.

    3. I’ve never had to re-season my Lodge skillets, but I’ve re-seasoned other kitchen cooking tools. After reading literally dozens of posts and instructions, I think 400 degrees is better than 350 because 350 doesn’t quite get to the point where most oils will polymerize. I use vegetable oil that is a mix of soybean & corn oils.

    4. Based on a huge number of reports, avoid using flaxseed oil for seasoning. Cook’s Illustrated got a lot of people using this, but if you do a little research you’ll find hundreds of posts from people who found that the stuff tends to flake off. Also, I am not a fan of the taste of flaxseed oil, having grown up in the 1950s and 60s when painters still mixed their own paint on site. I remember well when the house was painted having to smell linseed oil (which is the same thing as flaxseed), and it really isn’t all that pleasant.

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