We all have a stash of beloved pots and pans, but are we cleaning them correctly? I’ve had my fair share of stainless steel and non-stick pans over the years, but had been gifted a cast iron pan (which I had been hinting at for a couple months) and had no idea how to care for it properly! I set out to do some research, and found some interesting tips along the way about my other cookware too!
1. Cast Iron Skillet:
Let’s start with the one that I had NO idea about… cast iron! I had obviously never had one so I had a lot of learn!
DON’TS: NO SOAP…NO STEEL WOOL…. AND NO DISHWASHER.
Now that we have the “No Nos” taken care of let’s get to the cleaning process of the cast iron pan!
What You Need:
-Cast Iron Skillet
-Sponge or Stiff brush
-Clean, dry cloth or paper towels
-Vegetable oil or shortening
- Get right to it: Clean the skillet immediately after use, while it is still hot or warm. Don’t soak the pan or leave it in the sink because it may rust.
- Clean the skillet: Wash the skillet by hand using hot water and a sponge or stiff brush. Avoid using the dishwasher, soap, or steel wool, as these may strip the pan’s seasoning.
- Scrub off stuck-on bits: To remove stuck-on food, scrub the pan with a paste of coarse kosher salt and water. Stubborn food residue may also be loosened by boiling water in the pan.
- Dry the skillet: Thoroughly towel dry the skillet or dry it on the stove over low heat.
- Oil it: Using a cloth or paper towel, apply a light coat of vegetable oil or melted shortening to the inside of the skillet. Some people also like to oil the outside of the skillet. Buff to remove any excess.
- Put it away: Store the skillet in a dry place.
Remove rust from cast iron by using steel wool or by rubbing it with half a raw potato and a sprinkle of baking soda (seriously, it works!). Again, it may be necessary to re-season the pan after cleaning.
2) Stainless Steel Pots and Pans
Have you ever experienced the pain of a burnt frying pan? I sure have! Well I found some tips to clean them that are not only easier, but chemical free as well!
What you need:
-1 Cup Vinegar
-2 tablespoons of baking soda
-1 cup of water (more or less depending on the size of the pan)
-A burnt stainless steel pan
- Fill the bottom of the pan with a layer of water.
- Add the vinegar.
- Bring the pan to the boil. It should be looking a bit cleaner already.
- Remove the pan from the heat and add the baking soda. Expect fizz!
- Empty the pan and scour as normal; if necessary add an extra bit of dry baking soda.
- If there are any super stubborn marks that don’t come off with scouring, make a paste of baking soda and a couple of drops of water. Leave the paste on the marks for a while and return to clean as normal.
7. Ta-da! Now you can put your feet up and enjoy the many hours you saved yourself standing over the sink.
3) Non-Stick Pots and Pans
You shouldn’t have a ton of issues with these pans since there is a non-stick layer on the pan itself, but things like grease can give you a tough time!
What you need:
-Non-abrasive nylon scrubber
- If there is a layer of oil that is difficult to remove, fill the pan with water and add ½ cup of vinegar.
- Bring the water/vinegar mixture to a boil.
- As the mixture boils, the oil layer will rise to the top.
- Remove the oil and dispose of the water.
- Wash the pan with warm water and soap using a nylon scrubber.
- Rinse completely and dry with a soft cloth.
I hope these cleaning tips are as helpful to you as they were to me! I now know how to take care of my new favorite pan, and new tips for the old! I think it’s finally time to cook! 🙂