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Maintenance and cleaning tips

Keep your cast iron skillet in top-notch condition with these simple tricks

Cast Iron Skillet Maintenance and Cleaning Tips


Cast iron skillets are a classic and durable addition to any kitchen. Its versatility in cooking makes it the go-to tool for many chefs and home cooks alike. However, to keep your cast iron skillet in top-notch condition, maintenance and cleaning should be regularly performed. In this article, we will give you some simple tricks to keep your cast iron skillet looking and functioning like new.

Seasoning Your Cast Iron Skillet

To maintain your cast iron skillet’s non-stick surface, it’s crucial to season it. Seasoning is the process of coating the skillet with a layer of oil and heating it to a high temperature. Here are the steps you should follow to season your skillet:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F.
  2. Wash the skillet with hot, soapy water and dry it completely.
  3. Apply a thin layer of vegetable oil or flaxseed oil to the skillet’s surface, using a clean rag or paper towel.
  4. Place the skillet upside down in the oven, using aluminum foil to catch any drips, and leave it there for one hour.
  5. Let the skillet cool completely before storing it.

By seasoning your skillet, you’re creating a natural non-stick surface that will help you cook your food evenly and maintain its original flavor.

Cleaning Your Cast Iron Skillet

Cleaning a cast iron skillet requires a bit more effort than other cookware. However, by following these simple tips, you’ll be able to keep your skillet clean without damaging its seasoning:

  1. Never soak your skillet in water, as it can rust. Instead, rinse it with hot water and a gentle brush to remove any food residue.
  2. If there are any stubborn stains, add some coarse salt to the skillet and scrub it with a paper towel. Rinse with hot water when finished.
  3. Never use soap to clean your skillet, as it can strip away the seasoning. However, if you must use it, make sure to rinse it thoroughly and re-season your skillet afterward.
  4. After cleaning, dry your skillet thoroughly by placing it on the stove over low heat for a few minutes.
  5. Apply a thin layer of oil to the skillet’s surface to keep it from rusting between uses.

Storing Your Cast Iron Skillet

Proper storage is essential to keep your cast iron skillet in excellent condition. Here are some tips to store your skillet properly:

  1. Store your skillet in a dry, cool place to avoid rust.
  2. Place a paper towel or cloth in between your skillets if you’re storing multiple ones to prevent them from scratching each other.
  3. Store your skillet upside down to prevent dust and moisture from settling on the surface.


By following these simple tricks, you’ll be able to keep your cast iron skillet in top-notch condition for years to come. It takes a bit more effort to maintain a cast iron skillet, but the benefits of cooking with it make it worth it. Remember to season, clean, and store your skillet properly, and it will reward you with countless delicious meals.

Cast iron skillet maintenance FAQ

What is the best way to season a cast iron skillet?

The best way to season a cast iron skillet is to coat it in a thin layer of oil (such as vegetable or canola oil) and bake it in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for one hour. Repeat this process several times until the skillet is well-seasoned.

How do I clean a cast iron skillet?

To clean a cast iron skillet, use a stiff brush to scrub it with hot water and a small amount of mild soap. Avoid using steel wool or abrasive cleaners, as they can damage the seasoning. Dry the skillet thoroughly and apply a thin layer of oil to the surface.

Can I put my cast iron skillet in the dishwasher?

No, you should never put a cast iron skillet in the dishwasher. The high heat and abrasive detergents can strip away the seasoning and damage the skillet.

How do I store my cast iron skillet?

Store your cast iron skillet in a dry place, away from moisture. You can stack your skillets, but place a paper towel or cloth between them to prevent scratches.

What should I do if my cast iron skillet is rusty?

If your cast iron skillet is rusty, use a stiff brush to remove the rust. Then, coat the skillet in a thin layer of vegetable oil and bake it in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for one hour. Repeat this process until the rust is removed and the skillet is well-seasoned.

What kind of oil should I use to season my cast iron skillet?

You can use any type of oil to season your cast iron skillet, but vegetable oil and canola oil are both good options.

How do I know when my cast iron skillet is well-seasoned?

When your cast iron skillet is well-seasoned, it will have a smooth, shiny surface and will be non-stick. You should be able to cook food in the skillet without it sticking.

Can I cook acidic foods in my cast iron skillet?

While cast iron skillets are great for cooking a variety of foods, acidic foods (such as tomatoes or citrus) can break down the seasoning and cause the skillet to rust. It’s best to avoid cooking acidic foods in your cast iron skillet.

How often should I season my cast iron skillet?

You should season your cast iron skillet regularly to maintain its non-stick surface. Depending on how often you use the skillet, you may need to season it once every few months.

Can I use soap to clean my cast iron skillet?

Yes, you can use mild soap to clean your cast iron skillet. Just be sure to rinse it well and dry it thoroughly to prevent rusting.

How do I know if my cast iron skillet is too hot?

You can test the temperature of your cast iron skillet by dropping a small amount of water onto the surface. If the water sizzles and evaporates immediately, the skillet is hot enough.

Cast Iron Skillet Maintenance: Related Resources and Products

1. Lodge 10.25 Inch Cast Iron Skillet

A high-quality cast iron skillet is a must-have for any kitchen, and the Lodge 10.25 Inch Cast Iron Skillet is one of the best options out there. Made in the USA, this skillet is pre-seasoned and ready to use right out of the box. Its sturdy construction and even heat distribution make it perfect for everything from frying eggs to baking cornbread.

2. Chainmail Scrubber

Cleaning a cast iron skillet can be tricky, but a chainmail scrubber can make the process much easier. This stainless steel scrubber is gentle enough to avoid damaging your skillet’s seasoning, but tough enough to remove stubborn stuck-on food. It’s also dishwasher safe, making cleanup a breeze.

3. Lodge Care Kit

Maintaining your cast iron skillet is essential to ensure it lasts for generations, and the Lodge Care Kit can help. This kit includes a scraper, a brush, and seasoning spray, all designed to keep your skillet in great shape. The scraper helps remove stuck-on food, the brush is gentle enough to not damage your skillet, and the seasoning spray helps protect and build up your skillet’s seasoning.

4. Silicone Hot Handle Holder

Cast iron skillets can get very hot, and grabbing a hot handle can be painful. A Silicone Hot Handle Holder is the solution. This heat-resistant handle cover slips securely onto your skillet’s handle, protecting your hands from burns. It’s also dishwasher safe and easy to clean.

5. Lodge Pan Scrapers

Pan scrapers are another must-have tool for maintaining your cast iron skillet. These durable scrapers are designed to fit the curves of Lodge skillets, making it easy to remove stuck-on food without damaging your skillet’s seasoning. They’re also dishwasher safe and easy to use.

6. Flaxseed Oil

Seasoning your cast iron skillet is essential, and flaxseed oil is one of the best oils to use. This high smoke-point oil helps create a durable, non-stick surface on your skillet. It’s also 100% natural and food safe. Make sure to follow proper seasoning instructions and never use soap on your skillet.

7. Lodge Scrub Brush

For a more thorough cleaning, a scrub brush can help. The Lodge Scrub Brush features a sturdy handle and tough bristles that can remove even the toughest stuck-on food. It’s also easy to clean and dishwasher safe.

8. Cast Iron Conditioner

To keep your skillet in top shape, a cast iron conditioner can help. This conditioner helps protect your skillet’s seasoning, preventing rust and other damage. It’s also easy to use – simply apply a small amount to your skillet and wipe away any excess.

9. Lodge Skillet Lid

Add versatility to your cast iron skillet with a Lodge Skillet Lid. This lid fits perfectly on Lodge skillets, helping to retain heat and moisture while cooking. It’s also oven safe and easy to clean.

10. Lodge Pan Handle Mitt

Finally, a pan handle mitt can help protect your hands from the heat of your cast iron skillet. The Lodge Pan Handle Mitt is made of durable cotton and features a silicone grip that provides a secure hold on your skillet’s handle. It’s also machine washable for easy cleaning.

Pros&Cons of Cast Iron Skillet Maintenance


  • Durable: Cast iron skillets are known for their durability and can last for generations if properly maintained. They are resistant to scratches, chips, and dents, making them ideal for daily use.
  • Natural Non-Stick: As the cast iron skillet is seasoned, it becomes naturally non-stick. This means that you can cook with less oil, making your meals healthier.
  • Retains Heat: Cast iron skillets retain heat much better than other types of cookware. This means that you can cook your food evenly without worrying about hot spots or cold spots.
  • Multifunctional: Cast iron skillets are versatile and can be used for a wide variety of cooking tasks. You can fry, sauté, sear, bake, and even grill in a cast iron skillet.
  • Value for Money: Cast iron skillets are reasonably priced and can last for a lifetime. This makes them an excellent investment for any home cook.
  • Cons:

  • Heavy: Cast iron skillets are heavier than most types of cookware, which can make them difficult to handle, especially for those with arthritis or weak wrists.
  • Requires Seasoning: Cast iron skillets require seasoning to create a natural non-stick surface. This process can be time-consuming and requires some effort.
  • Not Dishwasher Safe: Cast iron skillets should never be washed in the dishwasher. This can strip away the seasoning and cause rusting. Hand-washing and proper drying are essential.
  • Prone to Rust: If not properly seasoned and maintained, cast iron skillets can rust over time. This can be remedied by cleaning and seasoning the skillet before use.
  • Not Suitable for Acidic Foods: Cast iron skillets are not suitable for cooking acidic foods, such as tomatoes or citrus fruits. The acid can react with the iron and alter the taste of the food.

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