How to Care for and Clean Cast Iron Pots and Pans

Cast iron pots and pans are a favorite of many cooks. Cast iron cookware is an excellent conductor of even heat when compared to many other materials used to manufacture pots and pans. Cast iron pots and pans, if cared for properly, will last for years. A well-seasoned cast iron pan is also a non-stick cooking surface.

Avoid scrubbing residue from cast iron pans, as this will affect their seasoning.

Step 1

Cast iron pots and pans need to be seasoned. To season cast iron cookware, heat your oven to 300 degrees F, lightly rub the entire cooking surface with canola oil, shortening or lard, and place it in the oven for one hour. Remove the cookware from the oven and let it cool.

Step 2

Cast iron cookware should be washed with hot water and a mild liquid dishwashing soap. Rinse well and dry thoroughly. Place paper towels inside the pot to absorb any moisture. The excess moisture can cause rust.

Step 3

To clean tough, burned-on food stains, pour vegetable oil in the bottom of the pan and sprinkle with sand. Scour with a steel wool pad. After you have cleaned cast iron like this, it will need to be seasoned again.

Step 4

To clean rust from cast iron pots and pans, make a paste of ascorbic acid and water and scrub the rusted area. If the cookware has a lot of rust or stubborn rust, leave the paste on overnight and then scrub. After you have cleaned the rust, the pan will need to be seasoned again.

Things You Will Need

  • Canola oil, shortening or lard
  • Mild liquid dishwashing soap
  • Paper towels
  • Sand
  • Steel wool pad
  • Ascorbic acid


  • Cooking with cast iron actually increases your iron intake.


  • Never put cast iron cookware in the dishwasher. Always store cast iron cookware with the lids off.
  • Never pour cold water into a hot cast iron pot or pan, as it can crack.
  • Do not use salt to clean cast iron, because salt will promote rust.

Photo Credits

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