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Old 06-11-2009, 02:18 AM   #1
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Am I taking off the season in my cast iron?

When I'm done cooking on my cast iron I usually see a little residue left from food. What I do is right after I turn off the stove, fill the skillet with hot water and bring it to a boil for about a minute then let it sit for about 10 and then clean it with a brush. After that, i'll rub some oil mixed with salt around the pan with a paper towel and just make sure there is no more residue.

Is this overkill? Am I scraping off some seasoning in my pan?

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Old 06-11-2009, 06:30 AM   #2
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After removing the food, add some water and bring it to a boil. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to scrape up the remains. Rinse, dry on the burner and coat with a light application of oil. No salt.
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Old 06-11-2009, 07:57 AM   #3
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I'd agree with the "no salt" recommendation, unless you have some really stubborn remains. But, I have occasionally used salt to scrub off such remains with good results and as we all know it's an abrasive one can use, since soap etc is taboo.
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Old 06-11-2009, 11:19 AM   #4
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It's perfectly OK to use soap on a well-seasoned cast iron skillet.

I do it all the time when there's sticky gunk on them.

You must rinse very well and dry completely.
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Old 06-11-2009, 11:58 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jennyema View Post
It's perfectly OK to use soap on a well-seasoned cast iron skillet.

I do it all the time when there's sticky gunk on them.

You must rinse very well and dry completely.
+1

IMO all of this "No Soap In Cast Iron" Phobia is a carry over from another time....a time when our Great (Great) (Great?)Grand Mother's used (Homemade) Lye soap which would deteriorate seasoning on cast iron...Modern day soaps are mostly wetting agents, and not as near as caustic as the old lye soaps of the past --- A quick swish around in some hot soapy water...well rinsed and dried will not hurt a well-seasoned cast iron pan.
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Old 06-12-2009, 04:52 AM   #6
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Eh, I really wouldn't use soap. One of my other seasoned cast irons was accidently washed in soap and it left some kind of streaks on the inside of my cast iron skillet.

Back to the original topic, the salt was really the only thing that took off the residue left on my cast iron. I had let it soak in hot water for about 10-15 mins and then scrubbed it with a nylon brush, the residue still remained. The salt was the only thing that really took it off. I will definitely try to limit my salt cleaning if it deteriorates the seasoning.
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Old 06-12-2009, 07:33 AM   #7
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If you really need something abrasive to clean off the gunk use a plastic scrub pad (without soap added) and some sand. Good old clean playground sand will work but if you happen to have any mortar sand around it will work better (angular edges versus rounded on beach and playground sand). Do not pour the mess down your drain though as you will eventually fill the trap.

Salt is hydrophilic and any residue will draw moistrure from the air and cause rust spots if not completely rinsed out.

Another option is sphagnum moss but most people don't have a supply of that growing in their back yards...or front yards for that matter. Down at the shore there are also scouring rushes but they contain salt.

Just some old homey remedies.
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Old 06-12-2009, 01:11 PM   #8
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More thoughts on soap-

I always thought the point of avoiding soap was because the iron was somewhat porous and some soap residue or TASTE, could remain.

But if the iron has a nice season, then the iron wouldn't be so susceptible to retaining any soap.

Ironic, the pans that need it least can handle it best, and the ones that may need it the most are most vulnerable.
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Old 06-12-2009, 02:38 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Mary A Tart View Post
More thoughts on soap-

I always thought the point of avoiding soap was because the iron was somewhat porous and some soap residue or TASTE, could remain.

But if the iron has a nice season, then the iron wouldn't be so susceptible to retaining any soap.

Ironic, the pans that need it least can handle it best, and the ones that may need it the most are most vulnerable.

Yes, exactly.

The truth is that soap won't hurt a well-seasoned cast iron skillet (or DO). Nor will it leave a taste or streaks unless the skillet isn't completely rinsed.

Hot water, dish soap and a plastic scrubby will take care of most any tough junk caked onto a skillet.

I'm not saying that one should use soap each and every time they clean up, but the fear of using soap on seasoned CI is unfounded.
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Old 06-12-2009, 04:05 PM   #10
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I mostly use hot water, but occasionally i will use soapy water for heavy build-up. Of course most of my cast iron is well over 50 years old with a good seasoning coat.
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