So, what are the ways to clean a cast iron? If your skillet is only slightly grimy from normal use, you can wash it out with soap and water. You’ve probably heard that soap is the enemy to cast iron. But if you’ve properly seasoned your skillet, a little soap won’t do harm and won’t be enough to remove the seasoning. And while water causes rust, a little water is fine as long as you dry your pan thoroughly and immediately after you’re done cleaning. Or, skip the soap and water and simply add a little oil, then wipe thoroughly with a paper towel, give it a quick heat on the stove and you’re done.
If there’s a little food sticking or the pan is extra dirty, sprinkle an abrasive like course sea salt or cornmeal into the skillet, add a little hot water, then scrub the pan with a paper towel.
For major cleanup, you’ll need to do some scrubbing. If you have a spare potato lying around, cut it in half, then add a thin layer of baking soda to the potato. Scrub the skillet with the baking soda and potato. If the potato gets worn out, simply slice a bit off, add more baking soda and get back to scrubbing. Wipe clean then re-season your pan. Or, put some hot water into the skillet and scrub away with steel wool. This technique should only be used if the skillet is in serious need of scrubbing. You will need to re-season after using steel wool. If necessary, it’s okay to let the skillet soak for a bit in water before scrubbing. Just be sure to not leave it too long or forget about it. If there’s a little food sticking or the pan is extra dirty, sprinkle an abrasive like course sea salt or cornmeal into the skillet, add a little hot water, then scrub the pan with a paper towel.