Table of Contents
- Is salt bad for cast iron?
- What do I do if my cast iron skillet is sticky?
- How do you clean a cast iron skillet with salt?
- How do you clean a cast iron skillet with chain mail?
- How to wash a chain mail scrubber?
When it comes to cleaning a cast iron skillet, people often treat their pan like it’s too delicate to touch. But the reality is a good scrub can be good for your pan, and it’s the key to both easily cleaning your cast iron and encouraging the development of seasoning. If you’re searching for a cleaning method that will remove unwanted food and residues, without scratching the iron itself, we recommend turning to one of our two favorite cleaning methods: either a coarse salt scrub, or a chain main scrubber.
Is salt bad for cast iron?
First, let’s address any concerns: is salt bad for your pan? (The answer is no, but let’s dive a little deeper.) Although salt is hard, it’s still softer than cast iron, so it doesn’t risk scratching the surface of your skillet. Additionally, while simmering a salty dish in your pan for a long time can damage the seasoning you’ve built up, cleaning with a salt scrub only lasts a few minutes at most, so your skillet will be totally fine.
What do I do if my cast iron skillet is sticky?
Before we get into how to clean your cast iron with salt or chain mail, let’s discuss one of the most common problems when it comes to cast iron cleaning. If your skillet is sticky, it likely means that you have some baked-on oil residue; oil that hasn’t fully polymerized, or bonded with the surface of your pan, will leave behind this sticky, often raised, residue, which can be hard to get off through typical cleaning methods.
To remove sticky residue, we’d recommend taking the following steps: Heat your pan over medium-low heat. While your pan is warm, gently scrape at any sticky areas with the edge of a wooden or plastic spatula. You’re looking to remove any oil residue that will easily come away—you can apply a little pressure, but there’s no need to gouge your pan. When any sticky residue that will come away has been released, turn off the heat and let your pan cool. From there you can wash and dry your skillet as normal.
If these steps don’t remove all the stickiness from your pan, that’s okay! Since stickiness is caused by oil that hasn’t fully polymerized, this is a problem that will mostly resolve itself. The real solution, simple as it may sound, is to just keep cooking. As you continue to use your pan, it will develop new layers of interlocking seasoning, which will incorporate any sticky areas. There’s no magic number, but after a dozen or so uses you’ll notice that your pan is returning to the smooth, non-stick surface you expect from cast iron.
How do you clean a cast iron skillet with salt?
Cleaning cast iron with salt is easy, it just requires a few simple steps:
Pour 2 to 3 tablespoons of coarse kosher salt into your cast iron skillet. (If you have a smaller pan, one tablespoon will do just fine.) It’s important that you use a coarse grained salt—this will provide the traction you need to remove food particles.
Using a clean kitchen rag or a folded paper towel, gently move the salt around your pan, scouring the surface. When any unwanted food or residues have been cleaned off, discard the salt and rinse your pan with a little warm water.
Dry your pan with a rag or paper towel, and then place it on the stovetop. Heat your pan over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes, or until you see the first wisp of smoke coming off the surface.
Let your pan cool until it’s safe to touch; then, wipe it down all over with a thin layer of our Cast Iron Seasoning Oil (about ¼ of a teaspoon). You’re looking to coat the skillet all over, but not leave behind a thick layer of oil—the pan should still have a matte appearance even when it’s oiled.
How do you clean a cast iron skillet with chain mail?
While you can certainly clean your cast iron with a salt scrub, if you have a chain mail scrubber, that’s the best option. Why? Because chain mail creates a textured surface that gives new seasoning something to grab onto. This makes it easier to develop strong, durable seasoning that will last.
Not only that, but chain mail will also ensure that you don’t end up with any unstable or loose seasoning—it’ll release any seasoning that isn’t well-bonded to the surface of your cast iron skillet. This means you end up with all the stuff you do want, and none of the stuff you don’t, and it will help prevent any flaking seasoning down the line.
Here are our recommended steps for cleaning cast iron with a chain mail scrubber:
After using your skillet, scrub it with a natural fiber cleaning brush to remove loose food and residue.
Rinse the pan with warm water and gently abrade the surface and sidewalls with a chain mail scrubber. (You’re looking for an amount of pressure that scuffs the pan, and removes anything loose, but doesn’t gouge or scratch the metal itself.)
Dry your pan with a rag or paper towel, and then place it on the stovetop. Heat your pan over medium-low heat for about five minutes, or until you see the first wisp of smoke coming off the surface, then turn off the heat.
When your pan is cool enough to touch, wipe it down all over with a thin layer of our Cast Iron Seasoning Oil (about ¼ of a teaspoon). You’re looking to coat the skillet all over, but not leave behind a thick layer of oil—the pan should still have a matte appearance even when it’s oiled.
Repeat after every time you cook!
Repeating these steps after each use of your pan will not only make cleaning your cast iron super easy, but it’ll also give you the bulletproof, non-stick seasoning that you want.
How to wash a chain mail scrubber?
Once you’ve cleaned your cast iron pan, your chain mail scrubber will likely have some gunk in it. To clean your chain mail, we recommend filling a small bowl with warm soapy water; dip the chain mail in the bowl, and give it a good swish around in the water until any food particles or residue have come loose. Rinse your chain mail with clean water and let it dry on your dish rack, hanging from a hook, or on a paper towel.