How to clean non-enamel cast iron without using soap after greasy foods being cooked?

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When it comes to cleaning a cast iron pan, using soap isn't the recommended method as it can strip away the seasoning that builds up over time and helps enhance the pan's non-stick properties.

Instead, there are a few effective and soap-free ways to clean your pan and get rid of the grease and fat smell.

One option is to use salt, as you mentioned. Salt works as an abrasive agent to help scrub away the grease. You can sprinkle a generous amount of salt directly onto the greasy areas of the pan and use a paper towel or a cloth to scrub it in circular motions.

The salt will help absorb the grease and remove the residue. Once you've scrubbed the entire pan, rinse it with warm water, dry it thoroughly, and then apply a thin layer of oil to re-season it.

Another effective method is to use baking soda. Create a paste by mixing baking soda with a small amount of water. Apply this paste to the greasy areas of the pan and use a soft sponge or cloth to scrub gently.

Baking soda is a natural cleaner that can help break down grease and eliminate odors. Rinse the pan thoroughly with warm water, dry it completely, and apply a thin layer of oil to maintain its seasoning.

If the grease and fat smell persist even after cleaning, you can try using white vinegar. Dilute the vinegar with equal parts of water and soak the pan in this solution for a few minutes. The acidity of the vinegar can help neutralize odors. After soaking, scrub the pan with a soft sponge or cloth, rinse it well, and dry it thoroughly.

Remember, after each cleaning, it's essential to dry your cast iron pan completely to prevent rusting. You can place it on the stove over low heat for a few minutes to evaporate any remaining moisture. Finally, apply a thin layer of oil to protect the pan's surface and maintain its seasoning.

I hope these alternative cleaning methods help you restore your cast iron pan to its former glory.
yup, soap.

I totally disagree that those methods are "better" than soap. We've all discussed this many times.
All methods, soap, baking soda, salt, vinegar, will lift the oils to a certain degree, and no matter which method you use you will still have to dry thoroughly and re-season lightly each time.
I personally think it is an extra unnecessary step. If you have hot soapy water already available then why?
I have even left badly stuck foods in a cast iron to soak, cause I was tired and didn't feel like tackling it. It was fine when I did finally wash it and easier to scrub. I don't recommend soaking but when you are tired and grumpy and there is no one else to do it....:whistling :mrgreen:

I will say Wecome to Emily. No offense please, it is a very clear and precise post, well done. This is what's so great about DC - we all have opinions and all may be correct!
When it comes to cleaning a cast iron pan, using soap isn't the recommended method as it can strip away the seasoning that builds up over time and helps enhance the pan's non-stick properties.
Thats not true anymore. Today ‘s dishwashing liquid doesn’t contain harsh chemicals. It will not strip the seasoning off a properly seasoned piece of cast iron. It’s perfectly fine to use dish soap on grunge and grease. I’ve done it for 40 years.

You are absolutely right about dryin them very well and applying a very thin layer of oil. I spritz mine with a tiny amount of avocado oil and rub in with a paper towel

Good article, thanks for the link @jennyema.

As mentioned in the article, the seasoning on cast iron is no longer just oil. It's polymerized and chemical adheres to the metal.

I think baking soda would be far better at removing seasoning than soap. When I get those little brown spots on cookware, I use dry baking soda and a damp rag or sponge to rub them off. It works better than just about anything else. Okay, steel wool works, but I don't use steel wool on oven proof glass or enamel or even the parts of a stainless steel pan that are shiny. Those little brown spots on the outside of pots are most likely the early stages of fats getting polymerized.
When I feel it's time to do more than wipe out the grease in a cast iron pan, I use salt. I put the pot on the stove over low heat and put a thin layer of dry salt in the pan. When it has heated for a while, I scrub with a walk brush. Then, when it looks clean, I brush all the salt out and give it a wipe with a paper towel and then another wipe with a bit of oil and another paper towel.

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