How To Care For Your Cast-Iron Skillets


Commandments for Caring for Cast Iron

The first commandment of cast-iron care is simple: respect the finish. Follow these rules.

• Don’t leave a pan unattended on the stove. Burned foods can ruin the finish.
• Don’t use harsh abrasives, avoid soap, and never place your pan in the dishwasher.
• Don’t put cast-iron pans away wet; dry them thoroughly.

Tip: After washing, dry your cookware immediately to ward off rust. Heat it on the stove over low heat for approximately 5 minutes. While the pan is still warm, rub or brush on a light coating of oil. Store in a cool, dry place.

Removing Rust from Your Cast-Iron Pan

Don’t let rust keep you away from your beloved pan; removing it just takes a little elbow grease. First, scrub the pan with a stiff-bristle brush and hot soapy water to remove any rust or buildup. Rinse well, and dry completely. Next, use a paper towel to rub a light coating of oil on the pan, inside and out. Place a sheet of aluminum foil or a rimmed baking sheet on the lower rack of your oven to catch drips. Place the oiled pan upside down on middle rack of the oven, and bake at 350° for approximately 1 hour. Turn off the oven, and let your pan cool in the oven. Repeat as necessary. Store in a cool, dry place.

Tip: Take it easy when applying oil to your pans for storing and seasoning. Using too much can result in a sticky residue. To remove any residue, heat your pan over medium heat. Using a folded paper towel or cloth, carefully rub in 1 tablespoon oil at a time until the surface is smooth.


  1. I inherited a cast iron pan that was so encrusted with black stuff that I knew that no matter how much “elbow grease” that I used, it would not come clean. I thought what would happen if I put it in my self cleaning oven. Couldn’t lose much. It came out so clean that I could actually read the writing on the bottom. Just had to re-season it.

  2. I’m a cast iron fiend, I don’t allow any one to use or wash any of my pans. I rescued one pan from my mom that was so encrusted with black gook, that I had to wire brush it back to health. I’ve had that pan for over 25 years now! I always use olive oil to season my pans. I love them and can’t imagine cooking without them. Shame on you people who buy cast iron and abuse it!

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