Rate this post

Since the 7th century, cast iron pans and cookware have been in use. They were employed in China, India, Korea, and Japan, among other places.

Yet, contemporary cast iron cookware first appeared in the 1800s. They were first coated with enamel and then with Teflon in the twentieth century.

But, one defining feature has never changed. The fact that food adheres to these pans and that they get filthy. So, here’s how to clean cast iron pans with salt.

Using Salt to Clean a Cast Iron Pan

The best method to clean a cast iron pan is using salt. It’s a beginner mistake to wash it with soap. It should be washed with salt on a regular basis to retain its surface and prevent corrosion.

The general method of cleaning the pan is rather straightforward. So here’s everything you’ll need.

The nice part is that these items can be found in every contemporary kitchen.

You will require:

  1. Coarse salt
  2. Oil (vegetable, olive oil, or Crisco)
  3. 1 potato
  4. Knife
  5. Paper towel/tissues

Directions in Steps

Depending on the shape and size of your pan, things might become messy. Therefore you should either go outdoors or operate at a really large washing machine.

In any case, you’ll need a broad surface area to clean the pan.

Be careful you use a newspaper to cover any surfaces that cannot be wet. This will also make cleaning easier.

  • First, sprinkle a liberal amount of sea salt into the pan. Make sure that you cover the entire inner surface, or anywhere else you need to clean. A half a cup of salt will be just fine for a 12-inch skillet. You can add more if you need it. Just remember to not overdo it. As far as your entire pan is covered, you can rest easy. If there are layers upon layers of salt there, things may get a little messier than you intended.
  • Next, cut your potato in half, which easily fits in the palm of your hand. Cut the potato at its widest section, but where you can still get a good grip on it. This is a classic case of widening the surface area for the greatest reaction rate.
  • Next, place the cut half of the potato into the pan covered with salt.
  • Scrub hard. Use a circular motion and apply good pressure so that the food stains are scrubbed right off. Make sure that you get all of the surfaces that have food stuck to them.
  • The potato has just enough moisture in it so it’ll help the salt work off the rust in the pan. So, you’ll be killing two birds with one stone.
  • Make sure that you scrub the sides, bottom, and edges, as well. The crevices and nooks and crannies are the worst when it comes to stubborn stains.
  • Don’t forget the handle either. It attracts lots of stains when you’re gripping it while cooking. Also, since many people use it for gripping, they forget to scrub it clean. Since it doesn’t do the lion’s share of the cooking, people believe that there is no use in cleaning it. However, rust on the handle, specifically where it meets the pan, shouldn’t be ignored. Over rusting can result in the pan breaking prematurely.
  • If the salt gets dirty quickly, you should rinse it out and start over with some new salt. This can happen if your pan is over rusty and way too dirty. If you scrub the pan regularly, this shouldn’t happen too often.
  • After you’ve cleaned the pan, rinse it out with water, and pat it dry.
  • Then place the pan over your stove at a low heat setting. Do this for a minute so that the stove dries up the remaining moisture.
  • After the pan is dry, take a small amount of oil in a paper towel and rub it into the surface. Make sure you get to the bottom and the sides of the pan as well. This will coat the pan and prevent food from sticking to it all over again.
  • After you’re done, take a clean paper towel and remove any excess oil.
  • Keep the pan over low heat on the stove for 30 minutes.
  • Take the pan off the stove and leave it to cool.
  • Wipe off any excess oil with a paper towel before you store it in your kitchen cabinet.

What Causes Food to Adhere to Cast Iron Pans?

It’s not a coincidence that food sticks to your cast iron pan. It’s also not always because you purchased a poor iron pan.

It’s mainly because you haven’t properly seasoned your pan. Cast iron pans have a naturally nonstick surface, and sticking should be avoided if the pan is properly seasoned.

Most of the time, food adheres to the iron pan because a part of the seasoning has worn off or there isn’t enough seasoning.

Rusting is another factor. As previously stated, both need a thorough cleaning of the pan to be removed.

Food tends to cling to the pan when you cook specific meals, such as:

  • Egg whites are mostly protein. Also, eggs that have a lot of water content in them can mix with the oil. This can cause the oil to fly out of the pan.
  • Fried potatoes create surfactants in the oil. This causes oil and water to mix and reduces the effect of the layer of protective steam.
  • Acidic foods like tomatoes. These will break down the protective layer of the pan and make foods stick more easily.
Also read: How to Clean Eggs Off a Cast Iron Pan?

How Do You Season a Cast Iron Pan?

Seasoning a cast iron skillet is vital for preventing rust and extending its shelf life. Seasoning results in a smooth, glassy covering.

This is accomplished by baking on successive coatings of oil, which protects the surface against rusting.

  • Use a relatively thin coat of neutral food-grade oil and rub it into the pan’s surface. Use either vegetable oil or lard for seasoning.
  • Make sure to get the bottom and the sides and the edges too. Use a cotton cloth or a paper towel to do so. After you’ve done this, the pan will look as if there is no oil on the surface at all.
  • After that, you should place it upside down in the oven with a sheet of aluminum foil on the bottom. This will catch any oil drips.
  • Heat the pan for 30 minutes at 450-500 degrees F. Turn off after it’s done and let the pan cool in the oven.
  • If you repeat this process several times, you can create a stronger seasoning bond. Note that this process does generate dirty smoke, like cooking in a dirty oven.
Also read: Why Is Cast Iron Pan Sticky After Seasoning? 5 Common Reasons

Taking Care of Your Cast Iron skillet

You can take care of your cast iron pan by keeping it clean and not allowing it to rest for too long.

Note that utilizing it on a daily basis and cleaning it often can help it last longer. So here are some pointers for maintaining your cast iron cookware.

  • Season the pan regularly; about once a month if you cook regularly with oil and with vegetables such as tomatoes.
  • Remove any bits of food stuck to the pan immediately. Don’t let it sit on the stove or the washing basin.
  • Use salt to clean the pan and don’t use soap or washing liquid. This rips away and destroys the non-stick surface of the pan.
  • Use paper towels or steel wool to clean the pan. If you’re using a sponge, use the rough surface to extract the food particles.
  • Remember to scrub and dry the bottom, edges, and crevices of the pan as well as the handle.
  • Don’t let rust sit on the surface of the pan or anywhere else. Cleaning the rust will extend the pan’s shelf life.
  • Use vinegar and water to clean out the rust. Don’t use any acidic liquids or detergents to do so. This will destroy the pan.
  • Store the pan in a dry place.

Solutions to Common Cast Iron Pan Issues

Every cast iron pan, no matter how good quality, will have a few typical issues.

Depending on how you care for the pan, these issues may arise regularly or seldom. Hence, here are some remedies to typical cast iron pan difficulties.

Food Adhesive on the Surface

Even if you have frequently seasoned your pan, food particles might get stuck to the surface.

This may happen for a variety of reasons, including a lack of fat in the pan while cooking. That may also happen if you prepare anything with a high sugar content.

Scrubbing out the stuck and charred parts using the rough side of a sponge is the best technique to remove the food. The pan should then be re-seasoned (see above).

Rusting on the Outside

Rust is a natural occurrence on every metal surface. But, maintaining your cast iron pan in good working order will need frequent rust removal.

Here’s an easy way to get rid of rust.

  • Prepare a mixture of two equal parts vinegar and water.
  • Soak the pan in the mixture for at least an hour. This will remove the rust if the entire pan is covered with it.
  • If your pan has collected a little rust in certain areas, you can clean it with steel wool or a soapy scrub pad. You can even scrub with this vinegar and water mixture.
  • After the pan has dried, repeat the seasoning process (see above).

Seasoning that is of poor quality

  • You should first wash the pan before seasoning; otherwise, you’ll risk improper or low-quality seasoning.
  • Clean the pan with salt and rinse off any residue.
  • Dry it off thoroughly with heat and then scrub any water in crevices or hard-to-reach spots with paper towels.

Then you may start seasoning.

What Foods Should You Prepare in a Cast Iron Pan?

The greatest dishes to cook in a cast iron pan are also among the most tasty. These are a few examples.

Chicken Fried

Make your own Colonel Sanders-style cuisine in your own home.

This is the purpose of a cast-iron pan. The pan is well-known for evenly dispersing heat and retaining heat long after the burner is turned off.

Even without heat, the oil temperature will not decrease, and the oil will season the pan while you cook. That’s an added advantage.

Baby Dutch Pancakes

Dutch Baby Pancakes are excellent because they are cooked with sliced, caramelized apples.

Make them in your cast iron skillet for breakfast one day. Since this procedure might be untidy, get up early that day.

Pizza on a Pan

Who doesn’t like pizza? You can create your own own pan pizza with any toppings you choose.

Even the terrible pineapple is included.

Tortilla Espanola

A Spanish tortilla is a delicious afternoon snack. This potato frittata requires two rounds in the pan.

First, the potatoes are fried, and then the eggs are cooked.


You may stack the noodles, spaghetti, cheese, and sauce before baking it in your cast iron skillet.

For hours, you’ll be licking your fingertips clean.


Smores may be made without a campfire.

In your pan, you may use graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows. Turn on the broiler and let everyone feast.


Paninis are delectable. You may create your own using a cast iron pan and make them as tasty as possible.

Squeeze in as much flavor as possible by pushing down on the pan’s surface.


For thin, delicate crepes, use a well-seasoned cast-iron pan.

If your pan is large, it will be heavy, making flipping the crepes a workout. Have a tissue on hand to wipe away perspiration traces.


You may make oats in the oven using your cast iron pan. This will thoroughly brown and caramelize them.

You can make excellent use of your cast iron pan by following these tips and methods.

Instead of purchasing a new pan every few months, you may prolong the life of your present pan by simply following the advice given above.

Have fun cooking with your new, long-lasting pan!

You may also be interested in:

  • How to Clean Cast-Iron Grill Pans – 4 Easy Ways!
  • 3 Easy Ways to Clean the Outside of a Cast-Iron Skillet
  • How to Clean Le-Creuset Grill Pan
  • Seasoned vs Unseasoned Cast-iron Skillet
  • How to Make a Pan Non-Stick with Salt?
  • How Do I Get Fish Smell Out Of Cast Iron Pan?
  • How to Deglaze a Cast Iron Pan


Does salt clean cast iron?

A popular method for cleaning cast iron involves the use of something you probably already have in your kitchen: salt. The procedure is simple. Sprinkle a generous amount of coarse salt (kosher salt, although sea salt also works) on the cooking surface.

How do you clean rusty cast iron with salt?

What is the best way to clean a cast iron skillet with salt?
2 to 3 teaspoons coarse kosher salt in a cast iron skillet…
Using a clean kitchen cloth or a folded paper towel, gently scrub the surface of the pan with the salt.
Place your pan on the burner after drying it with a cloth or paper towel.

Can you clean a cast iron skillet with table salt?

To avoid rust and increase the life of a cast iron skillet, avoid using soap to clean it. Instead, after a meal, clean the pan with roughly a tablespoon of coarse salt. The salt dissolves trapped food and debris on the skillet.

Does salt affect cast iron?

If you still have cast iron pipes in your house or building, you’re likely to have drainage and corrosion issues. Constant salt exposure and recurrent, rare usage (by seasonal dwelling) are recognized causes of corrosion and pipe weakening, both of which are widespread within a mile of the coast.

What’s the best thing to clean cast iron with?

Avoid using the dishwasher, soap, or steel wool, since they may remove the seasoning from the pan. Brush off stuck-on bits: Scrub the pan with a paste of coarse kosher salt and water to remove stuck-on food. Then rinse with water or wipe with a paper towel. Boiling water in the pan may help dislodge stubborn food residue.

What is the secret for cleaning cast iron?

After using your skillet, cleanse it with a sponge and water. Nevertheless, do not immerse it in water as this might cause corrosion. If it still needs some care, sprinkle it with kosher salt and clean it with a moist sponge. The salt cleans as an abrasive without altering the seasoning.

Is a little rust on cast iron OK?

In truth, there are several methods for fully removing rust from cast iron with a few basic tools and a little elbow grease. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign experts believe that a little rust on cookware is unlikely to damage you. (Rust in drinking water is not considered a health risk.)

What is the fastest way to remove rust from cast iron?

Soaking the pan in a 1:1 vinegar and water solution is the simplest technique to remove rust from cast iron. Next, using a scrubby sponge, scrub brush, or steel wool, scrub the rust away.

Can you clean cast iron with Dawn?

Would soap corrode cast iron? Soap will not damage your pan. It works well on enameled cast iron as well as plain cast iron. It will not damage your seasoning.

What is the best oil to use on cast iron?

Any cooking oils and fats may be used to season cast iron, but Lodge recommends vegetable oil, melted shortening, or canola oil, like our Seasoning Spray, due to availability, cost, efficacy, and having a high smoke point.