A person can go through many nonstick skillets in a just a few years, but a good cast iron pan can last forever. Durability and savings are just two of the obvious pros, but flavor and performance make them the best cooking implements available. The pans develop a flavorful seasoned nonstick layer that builds with every use. It is important to clean cast iron without removing the seasoning. Not only will you preserve the life of your cookware, but you will also protect the flavor of everything that you prepare.
To Clean Cast Iron without Removing the Seasoning, Do Not Use Soap!
Many people would not dream of washing dishes without using soap, but if you want to clean cast iron without removing the seasoning, soap should never be used. Not only will it breakdown the nonstick surface, but it will also ruin the flavor of food. It will soak into the seasoning layer, and everything that you prepare will taste like soap until the pan is properly cleaned. It is possible to clean and sanitize cast iron without ever using dishwashing liquid or other standard cleaning supplies.
Use Hot Water, a Polycarbonate Scrubber and a Nonabrasive Sponge
If the pan is not coated with stuck-on food, more than likely you can clean it with hot water and a soap-free nonabrasive scrubber sponge. A Polycarbonate Scrubberis also very helpful. Remove everything possible with paper towels, and run hot water over the pan. Use a plastic or polycarbonate scrapper to remove the bulk of the mess, and follow up with a nonabrasive scrubber sponge to gently clean it inside and out. Water is an enemy of cast iron, and a towel is not enough. Dry it completely by heating it on the stove. All traces of moisture will evaporate, and all traces of germs will be gone.
Use a Chainmail Scrubber for Tough Stuck-On Food
Foods that are not fried in hot oil tend to stick to cookware of all kinds, not just cast iron pans. Sauces, potatoes and pasta seem to be the worst offenders off all, especially when they burn, but they are not impossible or difficult to remove. When trying to clean cast iron without removing the seasoning, use a sturdy chainmail scrubber. The Ringer Cast Iron Cleaner Stainless Steel Chainmail works like magic. It scrubs away stuck-on food, and without ruining the nonstick surface and accompanying seasoning that likely took years to build.
Best of all, the chainmail will last just as long as the pan. It is highly durable and worth every penny. The Ringer is made in the USA, and it comes with a larger corner ring for hanging. It is a sanitary alternative to a sponge, and it works every time.
I would not give up my cast iron skillets for a lifetime supply of top-rated Teflon pans. My skillets are by far the best some of the best cooking implements that I own. It is very easy to clean cast iron without removing the seasoning. Do not be afraid to use them for cooking everything from spaghetti to scalloped potatoes. Properly clean and protect your cast iron, and it will be the last cookware that you ever have to buy. I have owned my pans for decades, and I will have them for the rest of my life.
Kim Dalessandro, http://writedge.com/author/kim-dalessandro/, is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com and any other website that may be affiliated with Amazon Service LLC Associates Program.