Cleaning Cast Iron with Lots of Pics

If you spend a little time on preparedness sites, you are going to eventually hear about cooking with cast iron. There are a lot of myths and ideas around taking care of and seasoning cast iron. But there are not a lot of articles about cleaning cast iron. I wanted to show others who might be interested in cast iron, but are not sure how to actually clean it, how easy it is. So this article isn’t a bunch of do’s and don’ts or an article about debunking myths. I will link to some articles at the end that you can read if you are wanting more information about that. This article is a straight up picture gallery of me making breakfast tacos for the family and then how I go about cleaning my cast iron. Lastly, I’m sure there are many strong opinions out there about how to do this. This is the way I do it!

Cleaning Cast Iron Starts with Pre-Heating

Cleaning your cast iron starts when you first start cooking. Cast iron really needs to be pre-heated. If you don’t, food is going to stick as it is heating up causing more mess for you to scrape off. I actually don’t have a pic of me pre-heating my cast iron. I mean, come on! It would just be a skillet on the stove. But here’s a video of bacon! 😉

Cooking in Cast Iron

Like I mentioned, there are a lot of do’s and don’ts on the internet. I’m stubborn and don’t listen to them. I just cook whatever I want in my cast iron. After I cooked the bacon, I drained “some” of the wonderful bacon grease and cooked my eggs. Check out these pics. Notice how the eggs kind of “stick” to the sides of the cast iron. I’ll address that down below.

Cleaning Cast Iron

The way I clean cast iron is pretty straight forward. After I finish making my dish, and the cast iron cools a little, I use the metal spatula to start scraping off the eggs that are stuck to the skillet. You’ll read from others that cast iron doesn’t stick when it is well seasoned, and that is not true.

I don’t scrape very heard though. The eggs just flake off. You’ll notice the pile that I dump into the plate below. I then use a plastic scraper that I found on Amazon, if I need to do some deeper scraping. After dumping that, which is usually not a lot, I pour a little water into the skillet and let the water heat up. I probably don’t need to do this, but I’m usually cleaning up other parts of the kitchen when this is happening. One important thing is to not let the water boil! Boiling water will eat away at your seasoning!

After I see a little steam coming off the water, I take the skillet to the sink and scrub the skillet with a brush. One thing here, I don’t use soap and I use a scrub brush that is dedicated to cast iron. See the video below.

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Seasoning Your Cleaned Cast Iron

After I scrub, rinse off and dry my cast iron, I place it back on the stove top and heat it up a little. I make sure it is nice and dry and then add a little bit of oil. I use a paper napkin and rub oil on it while it is still heating up. The idea is to dry off all the water and then make sure the oil burns off too. You want a shiny, well seasoned cast iron. But you don’t want it dripping with oil.

The first and second pictures above are of the cast iron skillet I used in all of the pics above. But I have a bunch of other cast iron that I use. The last picture is of two other skillets, a smaller one and a huge one I use when I’m making a big meal!

Ok, down below is the finished taco, for those of you wondering how it turned out. I do this on average 4 times a week. It is an easy breakfast to make for the family.

More Info on Cast Iron

Here are some links if you are looking for more info on cast iron.


cleaning cast iron

6 thoughts on “Cleaning Cast Iron with Lots of Pics”

  1. illini Warrior

    lots of good cleaning assist using “chainmail” type scrubbers >>> What’s the feeling here?

    1. I’ve heard the chainmail scrapes off the seasoning too much. Have you used it?

      1. I’ve used chainmail to clean my cast iron skillets and pots for years and have never noticed any issue with the seasoning.

  2. Thanks for the article. I thought I was doing something wrong because eggs stick to my pan, just like yours. I did not know about pre-heating the pan though, I will try that next time.

    1. illini Warrior

      might want to give a spray can of Pam a shot – it has more properties than just oil >>> tends to put down a coat that helps with that sticking …

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