Ways Clean Cast-Iron Cookware
There’s a reason cast-iron pots and pans have remained popular since pioneer times: The material is so tough it’s virtually immortal. Still, caring for and restoring cast-iron pans remains a mystery for many home cooks. So who better to shed light on the subject than the experts at Lodge, which has been making cast-iron cookware for upwards of 100 years? Here, Mark Kelly, PR and advertising manager, shares the company’s best practices for keeping your cast-iron pans going strong for a lifetime.
Take it easy
Cast-iron cookware should be cleaned differently from other pots in your kitchen. Just scrape off residue and hand-wash with a nonabrasive sponge and water, says Kelly—that’s it. Because the pans are sterile at 212º F, soap isn’t necessary (but if you’re still uneasy, you could use a mild soap). No matter what, be sure to dry them immediately to avoid rust spots from forming.
Keep it seasoned
Over time, cast iron becomes naturally nonstick—if you care for it correctly. Kelly recommends applying a light coat of vegetable oil to your pan after you’ve washed and dried it. Wipe on just enough to restore the surface’s sheen, but not so much it feels sticky. “Some people use too much oil when maintaining their cast-iron cookware,” he says. “A little goes a long way.”
Give it a second life
If you’ve inherited a pan that seems beyond repair, don’t worry. Minor rust spots can be removed by scouring the cookware, then washing, drying, and oiling it as usual. If you’ve got a seriously neglected piece—one that’s dull, gray, and has lost its nonstick properties—Kelly advises cleaning it with hot, soapy water (soap is all right in this case) and coating it inside and out with a thin layer of cooking oil. Bake the pan upside down at 350 to 400 degrees for at least an hour (with foil on the bottom rack of the oven to catch drips) and it will come out as good as new.