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How to Clean a Cast Iron Pan Using Baking Soda and Elbow Grease

My personal experience informs my writing, which tends to be about do-it-yourself projects.

How to Clean Your Cast Iron Pans

After most uses, you can simply clean your cast-iron pan using a brush and some water. However, from time to time, you will want to give your a cast-iron pan a thorough cleaning by following the instructions below. Once you have thoroughly cleaned the pan, it will be ready to be seasoned.

Baking soda is helpful in cleaning cast iron cookware.

Baking soda is helpful in cleaning cast iron cookware.

Step 1: Add Baking Soda

Add some baking soda to the pan along with some water. Since you should not use soapy dish detergent on cast iron, baking soda is a great alternative as it will deodorize and kill bacteria. The baking soda will remove any bad (as well as good) flavors that have built in the pan. It works wonders for removing the fish smell and taste after pan-frying fish.

Scrubbing the baking soda-water mixture into the pan with a strong brush will help break down burnt food and other residue.

Scrubbing the baking soda-water mixture into the pan with a strong brush will help break down burnt food and other residue.

Step 2: Scrub

Scrub the pan with a stiff-bristled brush, Scotch Brite pad, or wire pad. Alternatively, you can use a Brillo or SOS pad that does not have any soap left in it. Another benefit to the baking soda is that it will create an abrasive paste when mixed with water. This sandy paste will let you really power through any tough chunks of burnt food in the pan.

After your first scrubbing session, rinse the pan to see how you did.

After your first scrubbing session, rinse the pan to see how you did.

Step 3: Rinse

Once you have broken up all of the food that was stuck to the pan, give it a rinse in some running water. After the first rinse, your pan should be free of most of the debris.

Repeat this process as many times as you like, but keep in mind that the more you scrub, the more seasoning you will remove.

Repeat this process as many times as you like, but keep in mind that the more you scrub, the more seasoning you will remove.

Step 4: Repeat

Repeat the process using some more baking soda and just a small amount of water. Do not go too crazy scrubbing away unless you are planning on giving the pan a really good re-seasoning afterward. The more you clean the pan, the more you are removing the good seasoning you have built up.

Your cast iron pan is now clean and ready to be seasoned.

Your cast iron pan is now clean and ready to be seasoned.

All Done!

You should now have a nice clean pan that is ready to be seasoned. To learn how to properly season a cast iron pan, check out these cast-iron pan seasoning instructions.