How To Clean Your Non-Toxic Cast Iron Pan

As many of you know, there are highly toxic chemicals used to make non-stick, teflon coatings for pans, which is reason enough to switch over to safer cookware. As you heat and cook food on non-stick pans, the chemicals leach into your food and research has shown some unwanted health impacts associated with this class of chemicals. This is where cast iron comes in, it’s one of the safest options for cooking your food. But how do you clean cast iron pots and pans? Lucky for us, it’s simple.


I wrote an extensive piece on DuPont’s toxic teflon problem and their decades long effort to hide the impacts of their coveted non-stick technology.

But…let’s get back to how to clean cast iron pans!

How to make sure your cast iron lasts a lifetime:

1 – Do not wash your cast iron pan with soap.

2 – When the pan is newer, you are working to build up a layer that will eventually become a safe non-stick coating. If the pan is sticky at first, fret not, with sufficient oil treatment you’ll have a slick pan in no time.

3 – Invest in a chainmail scrubber or cast iron scraper, which can be used to clean the porous pan after cooking eggs, tofu, or other sticky food items. (affiliate links)

4 – Simply rinse the pan with hot water, use a chain mail if needed to remove excess food.

5 – Rinse and wash away food with water.

6 – Wipe with a paper towel and add a small amount of oil to keep the pan from drying out.

7 – Avoid letting the pan get hot on high heat, especially without oil. Cast iron pans may take a little longer to heat up than stainless steel, but they are much hotter at their peak temperature. Letting your pan sit with high heat will ruin the patina you’re building up (the safe non-stick coating I mentioned above).

8 – When the pan is younger you can use thicker oils to treat like canola (olive oil will do as well).

You can find my personal recommendations for non-stick cookware, including my thoughts on the best cast iron products, made in the USA!

Happy cooking.

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