Originally Posted by Uncle Bob
Lye soap (lard and lye from wood ashes) I have no doubt it would have harmed the finish/seasoning of the pots..Old granny knew this...So she didn't do it. ~~ That was then...and this is now.
Usually the fat left over in the pan after frying meat, was mixed with the wood ashes, and THAT, is how soap was invented. The wood ash part when mixed with water is the chemically caustic part of the solution, when mixed with lard/fat, it changes (saponifies) and becomes soap. Given the right proportions, it will not even hurt your skin. Given the wrong proportions, it will eat through anything.
As a side note, I use homemade soap and haven't bought soap in 10 years. I've run out of dish soap, and found that homemade soap does a fabulous job on washing dishes in the sink--who's have thought that?
My cast iron frying pan lives in my oven (gas) covered in foil, and I cook it every time I use the oven. (even when it is not my cooking vessel)
If I see a BIT of burned on anything, or a BIT of rust (on the bottom maybe), I'll rub it hard with a metal scrubbie (I know no one will agree), then rinse, dry quickly, cover the surface of the pan with oil from an oil soaked cloth and bake it for 30 minutes at 400 degrees F. It's always ready to go.