How Do I Clean A Cast Iron Skillet For The First Time?

Cast iron skillets offer a broad spectrum of uses and can cook almost any meal. But it would be best to take care of the pan to boost its effectiveness and longevity.

So, new owners of cast iron skillets should observe specific measures before using the pan.

Fortunately, a cast iron skillet can last for more than a century. All you have to do is to season it and keep it away from moisture to prevent rust.

In case you just bought cast iron skillet, we discuss several tips for handling a new cast iron skillet.

What to Do When Using a New Cast Iron Skillet

Usually, experts discourage using soap to clean cast iron skillets. Based on statistics, you should use soap on your iron skillet for not more than once a year.

But before using a cast iron skillet, it is advisable to wash it with hot soapy water. Doing this enables you to get rid of tiny bits of rust and factory residue.

Afterward, season your cast iron skillet when it is clean and dry. Below are the steps involved in seasoning a new pan.

Before proceeding with the seasoning process, find out whether your cast iron skillet has undergone seasoning.

If you already have a seasoned pan, you need not conduct this process. However, most new cast iron skillets are not seasoned.

Step By Step Method of Preparing and Seasoning a Cast Iron Skillet

  • First, preheat your oven to reach approximately 350 -450 degrees.
  • Since heating, the oven might take some time, clean your cast iron skillet during this time. Use warm, soapy water. You can also use a soft brush to scrub through the iron skillet.
  • After cleaning the cast iron skillet, make sure you dry it thoroughly using paper towels. Also, place it over low heat to dry out all the moisture.
  • Afterward, spread cooking oil or olive oil around the exterior and interior surfaces of the pan. Consider using paper towels to coat the pan.
  • Check if your oven is ready. Afterward, place the cast iron skillet in an upside-down position on the surface of the oven. It would be best if you used foil to line the oven surface.
  • After placing the cast iron skillet, leave it for one hour.
  • Switch off the oven after one hour, but do not remove the pan immediately. Leave it overnight to facilitate proper seasoning.
  • Check whether the cast iron skillet forms a shiny appearance. If it does, your pan is well seasoned.

Does White Vinegar Get Rid Of Rust From Cast Iron?

Occasionally, when you buy a cast iron skillet, it has already undergone seasoning.

However, if you notice rust on the pans, vinegar is a good alternative for eliminating and preventing rust.

All you need to have is half a cup of water, white vinegar, and an effective brush for scrubbing the surface.

Afterward, follow the steps below:

  • Take the white vinegar and water and pour them together on the cast iron skillet.
  • Allow the mixture to stay on the pan for at least one hour. You can let it stay longer, depending on the condition of your pan.
  • After one hour, use the brush to eliminate the rust from the pan’s surface gently.
  • After getting rid of the rust, proceed with the standard seasoning procedure if necessary.

How Often Should I Season My Cast Iron Skillet?

Cast iron skillets are a product of the metal iron. Usually, iron is vulnerable tor rust when exposed to moisture due to its highly reactive nature.

Thus, it is essential to season iron skillets occasionally. Homeowners should season their cast iron skillets a few times a year, depending on the state of the pan.

But it would be best if they season their skillets not less than twice a year. This way, the cast iron skillet can function optimally and offer maximum durability.

Also, you may want to season your cast iron skillet in case you notice the below signs:

  • When food begins getting stuck on the pan more than usual, this might be an indicator that your skillet needs seasoning.

Additionally, suppose you are struggling to scrape off food from the pan while cleaning, seasoning is the solution.

  • Once you notice tiny bits of rust on the pan, consider seasoning it. Rust could be a result of not drying your pans completely.

So, after washing the cast iron skillets, wipe them with paper towels to foster complete drying. You can also place them over low heat to eliminate all moisture.

  • Always season newly bought pans. It promotes effective functioning because it gets rid of rust and remains from the manufacturing process.

A More In-Depth Understanding of Seasoning

Polymerization is the process that takes place when seasoning a cast iron skillet. The process allows your cast iron to have a glossy polished look.

Moreover, seasoning creates a smooth cooking surface and a protective layer that prevents rusting.

Even though the seasoning process may seem tedious, it will provide long term benefits for you. So, as a homeowner, ensure you conduct this process for at least two times a year.

Future Seasoning Sessions

Currently, most people think that you have to season your pan frequently to optimize its functioning. But this is not always the case.

Seasoning can occur at least twice a year and depends on the condition of your pan. Besides, if you want to avoid seasoning your pan more often, make sure you use it frequently. If you do not use the pan, it becomes more vulnerable to rust and will require a seasoning procedure.

Whenever you put oil on the pan and place it over low heat, it partly seasons the pan.

Additionally, once your pan achieves the perfect seasoning layer, you can cook almost everything with it, including acidic foods.

Ultimately, a frequently seasoned cast iron skillet is useful and lasts for a more extended period. Thus, if you own a cast iron skillet, ensure that you take care of it and season it.

Once you do this, there is a high possibility that you can pass the cast iron skillet to your next generation.