Can I Wash a Cast Iron Pan With Soap?

Is it safe to wash a cast iron skillet with soap and water? Yes it is! There has been a rumor for a long time that washing a cast iron pan with soap will remove the thin oil coating, also known as the pan’s seasoning. This is not true, as the oil coating is polymerized, meaning that a simple scrub with soap will not withdraw the oils.

That being said, one key thing to avoid is letting the cast iron skillet soak in water as this can reverse the seasoning. Make sure to immediately clean it after the pan has cooled from cooking, and don’t leave it in any water. Another cleaning method to avoid is steel wool, as this is very abrasive and can strip the seasoning all by itself. Use a standard sponge as well as dish detergent, and your cast iron pan will be squeaky clean while still retaining its season.

How to Season a Cast Iron Pan

Seasoning is incredibly important for cast iron pans, as using the pan without seasoning will cause it to rust and will cause food to stick. With the seasoning, a cast iron pan will be fairly nonstick. 

If your cast iron pan is new, you can wash it with soap and water before seasoning to get rid of any unknown substances that came into contact with the pan while shipping. If your cast iron pan is old, rusty, or has already been seasoned, you’ll want to scrub it with steel wool to remove all the gunk and rust from the pan before proceeding to the next step.

Next, you’ll want to rub your pan with a thin coating of oil. Preheat your oven to 450F during this step so it’s ready whenever you’re ready to bake your pan. The oil you use is up to you, but most recommend to use vegetable or canola oil. Buff in the oil, making sure your coating is incredibly thin.

After that, you’ll want to bake your pan upside down in the oven for 30 minutes. Be careful removing your pan as it is very hot. You’ll want to repeat this process of oiling and baking your pan three times to get a good first layer of seasoning to start cooking without worry. Seasoning will continue to build up over time as you cook more foods in oil, meaning you won’t have to do this process again unless your pan has been stripped or has rusted.

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