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How to Clean Cast Iron Grill Pan (3 Easy Ways with Guide)

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Today every household has at least one cast-iron cookware. And why not, after all, they are highly durable and can be used for years with minimal care. Besides cooking food on cast iron cookware is far better than using a Teflon pan. Initially, it may not show nonstick properties but after using it for a while the food won’t stick on the cooking surface. But till the time you’ll have to deal with stuck food on the grill pan.

And cleaning a cast iron grill pan is no biggie. It is true that you cannot wash a cast iron cookware like aluminum or steel as harsh detergents might rust out the surface. And one must never cook or store food on rusted cookware. So which is the best method to clean a cast iron grill pan? Below are a few popular methods to clean cast iron cookware, find out which method is most easy for you.

How to clean cast iron pan guide

Why should you Cast Iron Pan?

Just like every other cookware in your kitchen, a cast iron pan also needs to be cleaned after use. Cleaning it not only removes stuck food but also kills bacteria. Any new skillet no matter how good or clean it looks must be washed thoroughly before use. This is because it holds tons of bacteria and sometimes odd smell of cardboard or plastic wrapped around it. So it is important to wash a cast-iron pan before cooking to remove foul smell and bacteria.

Methods to Clean Iron Grill Pan:

1) Boiling water

This method does not need any extra supplies, all you is water and your dirty pan.

  • Fill your cast iron skillet with water to half and keep the pan on the stove.
  • Set the flame on high and let the water boil.
  • As the water starts boiling, you’ll see some of the stuck food particles coming off the top layer.
  • You can scrape off the remaining particles using a flexible silicone spatula around the sides and bottom.
  • Now empty the water in the kitchen sink and dry the grill pan immediately with a soft cotton cloth.

2) Kosher Salt and Water

So why use kosher salt instead of table salt? This is because kosher salt is coarse than the regular one as well as does not contain any type of additives such as iodine. And a coarse texture helps to remove the stuck and mildly burnt particles better.

  • Grab a soft bristle brush and some paper towels.
  • First of all, spread a generous amount of kosher salt on the grill pan.
  • Now boil water in a vessel and pour the hot water on the cooking surface.
  • With the help of brush gently scrub the skillet surface to remove debris.
  • Throw the salty water away and fill the pan again with hot water one more time.
  • Let the water sit for 5-8 minutes, this step will take away salty smell off the pan.
  • Rinse the cookware properly and dry out with paper towels.

3) Mild detergent and Water

Although you should never use any detergent on cast iron cookware, there are some instances where you have to use detergent. If you bought a brand new cast iron grill pan or if you see your pan rusting then you should clean your skillet with mild detergent. The mild detergent will effectively remove odor coming from the new pan as well as clear out rust.

  • Drop a little amount of detergent in the middle of the pan followed by lukewarm water. (You can also use non-abrasive soap instead of detergent).
  • Now with the help of nylon scrubber or steel wool, gently scrub the pan bottom, sides, back, and the handle.
  • Keep your cast iron pan in the sink and pour hot water all over.
  • Rinse the pan thoroughly to remove detergent and residue, if any.
  • Dry with a soft cotton cloth or paper towels.

How to Clean a Rusty Cast Iron Grill Pan?

A little water is enough to rust the surface of your cast iron cookware. But not only water, but the moisture content in the air can also rust out the surface. And you might not want to cook and mix the flavor of rust into your favorite meal. While a small amount of rust is not dangerous but you should avoid using or cooking on the rusted pan surface. It is important to note that, ‘severe rust’ where you can see the layers of the pan should be thrown away immediately. But if your skillet has visible rusting that has not yet damaged the layers beneath then a good wash will be enough to restore the rusty pan.

You’ll need:

  • Soft steel wool
  • Warm water
  • Non-abrasive soap
  • Oven
  • Vegetable oil
  • Paper towels


  • Wet the pan under running water and start scrubbing the rust with the help of steel wool.
  • Give it a good rinse and then add a soap solution onto the pan.
  • Again using soft steel wool gently scrub the pan bottom, sides and handle. Then rinse the unit thoroughly with warm water. Make sure all soap solution is cleaned off.
  • Now dry out the skillet immediately with paper towels covering the back and handle as well. (You can also use a cotton cloth instead of paper towels, however, the cloth will not absorb moisture as good as paper)
  • Once the cookware is dried completely, the time is right to season it with vegetable oil.
  • Pour a small amount of vegetable oil or any other cooking oil of your choice and spread it all over the cast iron pan. Make sure to cover sides, bottom and even handle with vegetable oil.
  • Now place the pan inside upside down on the top rack of the oven and heat it on 350 degrees for about an hour. You can place an aluminum sheet to catch dripping oil in case your oven does not have a drip tray.
  • Take out the cookware from the oven and let it cool completely. Grab a paper towel and run all over the skillet to soak off excessive oil.
  • Thus, your rust-free cast iron grill pan is all ready for cooking.

Also Read:

Care for your cast iron grill pan

  • Never leave water inside your cast iron cookware for a long while. This will simply rust the surface.
  • Make a habit to dry the cookware completely after washing. Doing so will help elongate the life of your cast iron skillet.
  • Do not rub excessive oil while seasoning as it will make your pan sticky. And such a surface can burn food which ultimately damages the pan.
  • Seasoning it once a while will enhance its non-stick abilities as well as prevent the burning of food.
  • Do not cover your pan with lid even if it comes with one. This can trap the moisture content inside and rust out the interior.

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