Today you will have the honor of seeing my cast iron skillet covered in a layer of crusty scrambled egg residue. This is so special. Thank you for sharing this fine moment with me.
In describing how I clean my cast iron, I’m also going to reveal to you what is, in fact, my favorite of all the gadgets in my kitchen. It’s something I use many times each day (even more than my blender, and that’s saying something). I use this little gadget on cast iron skillets, on stoneware, and on my counter-tops to easily clean up flour or dough. My friends, allow me to introduce you to my BKFF (Best Kitchen Friend Forever) –
The Rubber Scraper
It’s the best six dollars you’ll ever spend. Or if you already have the little brown ones that came with your Pampered Chef stoneware, you’re golden.
If you are one who hates cleaning your cast iron and even avoids using it entirely so that you don’t have to mess with cleaning it, I have two words for you: Rubber Scraper.
You guys. Cleaning cast iron is about the easiest job there is when you:
1) Soak the skillet or pot for a few minutes in hot water and
2) Use a rubber scraper to scrape all the food away.
If I didn’t have a rubber scraper, I would also hate cleaning my cast iron. I don’t even know how I would do it otherwise. Truly. How did Grandma clean her awesome skillets and griddle? I have no idea. Rubber scrapers rank up there in modern conveniences as high as cell phones and flush toilets. They are the exact same in their ability to improve life.
Allow me to present a step-by-step tutorial of my easy cast iron cleaning system:
1. Run hot water into the dirty, crusty skillet or griddle.
2. After a few minutes, use a rubber scraper to scrape away all the food residue.
3. Rinse the cast iron with hot water.
4. Allow cast iron to air dry, or rub it dry with a tea towel.
Before taking the above picture, I had just rubbed my skillet down with some coconut oil (or palm shortening – I can’t remember which). I rarely need to oil it down, but if you find your cast iron looking rusty or dry, rub in some coconut oil or palm shortening. They likes these fats as much as you and I do. Can you blame them?
Something to note:
Do not use soap on your cast iron.
It isn’t necessary and you don’t want it to absorb soap which will leech into your food. Hot water is all it needs. That and a rubber scraper.
Seriously, how did Grandma clean hers??
My favorite and most used cast iron pieces are…
A large skillet like this one:
This big griddle:
Those babies get used all the time at our house. Eggs, pancakes, meat, hashbrowns – my skillet and griddle make all of these naturally taste so much better!
None of you need to fear using your cast iron since you now know how to clean it easily! Rubber scrapers to the rescue. Who knew such a small, simple square piece of rubber would play such an important role in the kitchen?
I literally clicked thru to this post from Facebook because you were claiming to clean cast iron with your favorite kitchen gadget, and I thought, “Yeah sure, but I bet she has never used the brown Pampered Chef scraper!”
Lo and behold, we are BKFF twins!! (Seriously tho, is there anything that little scraper can’t do??)
Jane J. says
I use a cast iron skillet (pampered chef scraper and no soap when cleaning), but it still has areas that look rusty when I’m done. I have re-seasoned it a couple of times. Do I just put oil over the rusty looking areas and continue to use it? The food definitely sticks more when the rusty looking areas are there. I do use coconut oil after drying it…but it still has rusty looking areas the next time I wash it. I too love my cast iron, but it’s high maintenance for me. Clearly it shouldn’t be. Can you tell what I’m doing wrong??? Also, what do you use the griddle for other than pancakes? Does it go over two burners..or do you use it in the oven?
Just a few (ha-ha) questions for you!
Vickie Houser says
I’d try re-seasoning your pan. You could just oil it up good and keep your fingers crosses, that sometimes works too. :)
Donna L. Miller says
I always clean it, put it on the stove, and turn the burner on until it drys. This helps it not to rust. You can rub oil on it then when it is still hot after you turn the burner off. This does a mini seasoning and keeps it nice. Sometimes you need to take a steel scrubby and make sure all residue is off and it feels smooth to the touch and then do above.
I have hand-me-down cast iron from my Daddy and grandparents…… I’ve always used steel-wool to clean it….. I am going to get me some of those rubber scrappers!
Vickie Houser says
When the cast iron or stainless pan is already cooled off, we clean it with the rubber scraper just like you do. But it is so much easier and quicker to clean when the pan is still hot. I realize the more people you are serving, or pans you are using, the harder this may be. I try to clean the one most likely to stick or crust up when I have to choose.
This takes less than 2 minutes and is well worth it. Remove all the food from the pan (serve it up or put it all in a pretty bowl) and then immediately take the hot pan to the sink and put a little water in it. Not too much because you don’t want to cool it off. Then quickly scrape it down and rinse it off. Voila! The pan is clean and being that it is still quite warm (or hot) it will dry quickly and rust free. Now you can eat your meal and you don’t have to worry about the food sticking in the pan.
My husband taught me how to clean cast iron pans, as I grew up with frequently scratched teflon. Now I wouldn’t have anything else but cast iron. When I am done cooking, I pour some water from the teakettle into the pan, allow it to simmer for a few minutes, use a small spatula to remove any stuck-on food (usually comes off easily at this point), take the pan to the sink, pour out the boiling water and run water into it while wiping out with the dish cloth. Often I dry it on the stove on the still warm burner. The set of cast iron pans I have were a wedding gift to my in-laws in 1950-something. They are the “coveted” Griswold brand but I wouldn’t part with them. I think, though, the rubber scraper would come in handy. I may have to get one!
Kelly Planko says
I also have and love those rubber scrapers for my cast iron but what kind of gloves are you wearing?
Do you have a link to purchase those?
I just got those at Walmart! :) Here’s a link to the same glove at Amazon, but they are quite a bit cheaper at Walmart! http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001LIOLC8?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creativeASIN=B001LIOLC8&linkCode=xm2&tag=wwwheavenlyho-20
A bit of Sand. That’s probably how your great grandma cleaned most of her dishes. And boiling water. Or so I’ve been told.
Betty Sievert says
I have my mothers cast iron skillet, it is my prized possession. It went through TWO house fires.I agree with Vickie that I find it easiest to clean right after using it, while it is still hot. When you see commercials showing how easy their particular brand of cookwear is to clean, they are cleaning it while it is still hot. ANY pot, pan, or bakewear cleans best when hot, from the most expensive to dollar store stuff. I don’t have the little rubber thingy, I use my trusty green sponge. I think I will look for a little rubber thingy.
I recently learned that you can save the plastic nets that come with clementines, onions, etc and use them to scrub pots; I find this works really well on my cast iron (although I have and love the brown Pampered Chef things too :)
K. Ann Guinn says
I’ve been using my Pampered Chef scrapers for several years to clean my cast iron skillets. I no longer dread using my skillets, and use them daily, sometimes more than once. They certainly clean up more easily before they cool but I rarely get to them while hot. After cleaning I always heat my cast iron on the lowest flame on my stove to thoroughly dry and then use a paper towel with a dab of coconut oil or palm shortening to wipe the inside while it’s still hot. I don’t have much trouble with food sticking now that I’ve used them like this for a number of years.
I use oil and salt. Pour a bit of oil (or bacon grease if you just fried bacon) and put it over the flame with good ol’ cheap salt, scrape up the bits of food, then if necessary, I rub a piece of crumbled foil around the pan and then wipe it out with a cloth. I don’t use water unless it was something really, really gunky and then I re-season it right away.
I purchased this for my daughter-in-law : http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FKBR1ZG/ref=sr_ph?ie=UTF8&qid=1452880450&sr=1&keywords=cast+iron+cleaner+chainmail
I love the PC pan scraper also. And I probably shouldn’t be saying anything about this as I don’t know for sure. But I gave these as Christmas stocking gifts to my daughters and daughter in law thinking of the grooves in their new griddles. The chainmail is supposed to be great also. I’ll soon hear! The Ringer Cast Iron Cleaner XL 8×6 Inch Stainless Steel Chainmail
I use kosher salt and a dry rag. Works great. Sprinkle about 1tsp in and rub it around till all the nastiness is off then throw the salt away. Good as new. :)
The method you use that calls for liquid while the pan is hot is called deglazing. It is a well known and loved technique used to make pan sauce and all kinds of other tasty things. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deglazing_%28cooking%29 It is definitely the easiest way to clean stuck on food off of any cookware.
I do break all the “rules” and use soap and my scrubby sponge to finish cleaning the pan though. It doesn’t harm it, a well seasoned pan will still shed water after it’s been scrubbed with soap. That soap myth dates from when most soaps were made with lye, which definitely WILL strip seasoning from a pan, but most soaps aren’t made with caustic lye anymore. It takes real effort to find one that is. Put it on a lit burner to dry and then rub some oil on it while it’s still hot to keep the seasoning fresh.
I also use salt. Rinse the pan, out the tiniest bit of water in the bottom, pour on some salt, and rub with a rag. Gets out everything!
I use cast iron all the time!! My husband just got me griddle for Christmas, SO excited! Funny tho, everyone always says don’t use soap on your cast iron. I always wash mine in my regular soapy dish water, even adding soap to the pan if needed! Tho I do use a scraper as well. I have never noticed a soapy taste in my food. Incidentally, my mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother all washed their cast iron with soap!!!! :)
And the memo is to let the cast iron soak for a short time ONLY. Do not leave it or the water sitting in it will cause it to rust. Then you have to season it again in the oven. So much easier to clean it right away.
I use this. All. The. Time. Ok, it is an ugly long link, so I will talk first and link at the end. Seriously, OXO flexible metal spatula, where were you the first 48 years of my life?! Half of the time I don’t even need to use water to clean my cast iron. Just scrape with my spatula, which is already out, because why would I cook with anything else? Wipe with an oily paper towel to brush off the residue and I am done. And I have a giant cast iron fry pan (maybe 20 inches?) and a normal one, a griddle, and s large Dutch oven. I am looking for cast iron sauce pans. http://m.surlatable.com/product/PRO-1496405/?affsrcid=AFF0005&utm_term=88939892261product_type_l1cooking_tools%26product_type_l2food_transferers&adpos=1o6&creative=45300852101&device=m&matchtype=&network=g&gclid=CMq4mt_9v80CFYpufgodm3YCAQ&utm_referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2F
Hi Laura – I don’t know if you will see this comment so much later but I have a question – I just ordered the Lodge scraper and got it today, but I wonder if I got the same type of scraper you’re talking about… The scrapers in my Lodge two-pack are hard; I wouldn’t describe them as rubbery at all. I followed your link though to order it so maybe this is what you meant? Just wondering if the “magic” scraper is supposed to be hard, or rubbery (more like silicone)? Thanks!
You got the right one! You’re right…it’s not at all rubbery or flexible. It’s hard and durable so it can easily scrape off any food that has stuck to the cast iron. Looking at the description of the one I linked to and recommend, it doesn’t say anything about it being rubber, but that’s what I remember that they were called when I got one from Pampered Chef. Hope you enjoy yours!
Thanks for responding so quickly; I’m glad to know that these are your recommended scrapers – this article was my impetus to “get over it” (fear of fiddly cleaning) and get myself a skillet. I will use my cast iron fearlessly now ! : )