My personal experience informs my writing, which tends to be about do-it-yourself projects.
How to Clean Your Cast Iron Pans
Caring for cast iron isn't easy.
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 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.
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 up in the pan. It works wonders for removing the fish smell and taste after pan-frying fish.
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 of 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.
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.
Step 4: Repeat
Repeat the process using some 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.
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.