Cleaning Guides

How to Clean and Take Care of Cast Iron Cookware

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Cast iron cookware is a beloved staple in kitchens around the world, including Australia. Its ability to retain heat and distribute it evenly makes it a favourite among chefs and home cooks alike. With its time-tested durability, it can last for generations, however, to ensure your cast iron cookware stays in top shape, it’s crucial that you understand the importance of proper cleaning and care.

So if you,

  • Have cast iron cookware or cast iron BBQ grills and plates;
  • Don’t know the first thing about cleaning, seasoning or maintenance of this alloy.

Then read along and learn how to clean cast iron.

Seasoning your cast iron

In the world of cast iron cookware, “seasoning” isn’t about adding salt and pepper to your dishes; rather, it’s all about the care and maintenance that ensures your cast iron pan remains a trusty kitchen companion. So, in that sense, seasoning is the process of treating the surface of your cast iron cookware with oil or fat to create a natural non-stick finish. This is crucial for preventing rust, enhancing flavour, and maintaining the pan’s longevity. If you have a barbecue grill, you might have heard the term seasoning the BBQ, well that’s exactly what it means and it’s the same process.

So, now that you know it’s important, here’s how to season your cast iron:

Step-by-step guide to seasoning

It might sound complicated, but it really isn’t. Always start with…

  1. Thorough cleaning. Before you start seasoning, it’s essential to give your cast iron cookware a good cleaning. That’s not the only time when you clean cast iron, either. You have to do it after each use. So, remove any food residue or rust using hot water and a stiff brush. Avoid using soap, as it can strip away the seasoning you’re trying to build.
  2. Drying. After cleaning, make sure your cast iron pan is completely dry. You can use a fresh dry towel, but for maximum results, you can place the pan on a stovetop burner over low heat for a few minutes. All moisture will evaporate for sure.
  3. Oil or fat application. Apply a thin layer of oil or fat to the entire surface of the cookware, including the interior, exterior, and handle. You can use a variety of oils, such as vegetable oil, canola oil, or flaxseed oil. Different oils can yield unique results, so feel free to experiment. Ensure the layer is thin, as excess oil can lead to a sticky residue.
  4. Wiping off excess. After applying the oil, use a clean cloth or paper towel to wipe off any excess. The surface should appear dry, with a slight sheen from the thin layer of oil.
  5. Baking. Place your cast iron cookware upside down in an oven preheated to the recommended temperature (varies based on the source, so consult your specific source for this detail). Bake your cookware for the designated time to allow the oil to polymerise. The result will be a solid, non-stick layer.
  6. Cooling. Once the baking time is up, turn off the oven and let the cast iron pan cool inside. This gradual cooling process helps in setting the seasoning.

Remember, this initial seasoning process may need to be repeated a few times until a robust, non-stick surface is built up. Additionally, the type of oil used and the exact seasoning process can vary, so consult your preferred source for specific recommendations.

Cleaning techniques for cast iron cookware

Maintaining your cast iron cookware is all about striking the right balance between effective cleaning and preserving the seasoning you’ve worked hard to build. In this section, you’ll delve deep into the cleaning techniques.


Soap is a no-go when it comes to cleaning cast iron. The reason is simple: soap is designed to remove oils and fats, which is the exact opposite of what we want with cast iron. The layer of seasoning you’ve carefully built up on the pan is a layer of polymerised oil, and soap can strip it away, leaving your cast iron vulnerable to rust.

Step-by-step guide to cleaning cast iron

What you’ll need

Before you begin, gather the following items:

  • Hot water
  • A gentle scrubbing brush or sponge (avoid abrasive scouring pads)
  • Paper towels or a clean cloth
  • Vegetable oil or shortening (for re-seasoning if necessary)
  • Stove burner or oven (for thorough drying)

How to clean cast iron

Now when you have the materials you can proceed:

  1. Remove food residue. Start by rinsing your cast iron pan under hot water. Use the gentle scrubbing brush or sponge to remove any stuck-on food residue. Avoid using anything abrasive, as it can damage the seasoning.
  2. Dry thoroughly. Immediately after cleaning, dry the pan thoroughly. You can place it on a stovetop burner over low heat for a few minutes to ensure all moisture evaporates. This step is crucial to prevent rust formation.
  3. Re-season if necessary. If you notice any loss of seasoning or if your cast iron pan appears dull, it’s time to re-season it. Simply apply a thin layer of vegetable oil or shortening to the pan’s surface and follow the seasoning process outlined in the previous section.

Tips and warnings

  • Always handle your cast iron cookware with care. It can be heavy, and if you drop it, it may sustain cracks or chips;
  • Never submerge your cast iron pan in cold water when it’s hot. This can cause the pan to warp;
  • Avoid vinegar. While vinegar may kill some germs and bacteria and is often used in cleaning household items, it can break down the seasoning of your cast iron cookware. Over time, it can even lead to a loss of the non-stick surface;
  • If you ever find rust on your cast iron cookware, don’t worry, it can be removed. Cast iron is very susceptible to rust, especially if you live in an area with high humidity levels.

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Maintaining your cast iron cookware’s condition

When you know how to care for cast iron pans and other cookware, they will stand the test of time with proper maintenance. In this section, you’ll learn tips for a daily care routine, the common issues and troubleshooting.

Tips for daily care of your cast iron pans and pots

  • Proper storage techniques. To ensure your cast iron cookware remains in pristine condition, it’s you have to store it correctly. When stacking or storing multiple pieces, place a paper towel or cloth between them to prevent scratching or chipping. This will help protect the seasoning and keep your cast iron looking its best.
  • Regularly applying a light coat of oil. After each use, apply a thin coat of oil to your cast iron pan. This helps maintain the seasoning and prevents the pan from drying out. It also acts as a protective barrier against moisture and potential rust. Use a paper towel or cloth to apply a small amount of oil and ensure even coverage.

Addressing common issues and troubleshooting

  • Dealing with rust or stuck on food. If you encounter rust spots or food that’s stubbornly clinging to your cast iron, don’t fret. For rust, use a metal scraper or a spatula to gently scrub away the rust, then re-season the pan as discussed earlier. By the way, this is also how you clean rust from a bbq plate. When dealing with stuck-on food, use hot water and a gentle scrubbing brush or sponge to remove the residue. Dry the surface afterwards.
  • Re-seasoning when necessary. Seasoning isn’t a one-time affair; it’s an ongoing process. If you notice the seasoning has worn off, or your cast iron appears dull, it’s time to re-season. Follow the steps outlined in the previous section to apply a new layer of seasoning, and you should have no problems.


  • Seasoning your cast iron is vital for creating a natural non-stick surface, enhancing flavor, and preventing rust;
  • Use hot water and a gentle scrubbing brush or sponge, and always dry the pan thoroughly to prevent rust;
  • Avoid using soap when cleaning cast iron, as it can strip away the seasoning;
  • Proper storage techniques, such as using paper towels between stacked pieces, and regularly applying a light coat of oil after each use, will keep your cast iron in pristine condition.

Revive your cast iron cookware with our expert services

Book today to renew, season, and preserve your cast iron treasures for culinary excellence

Add a valid postcode e.g. 3000

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