How to Clean Cast Iron Skillets with Salt

Are you worried about cleaning cast iron with salt in the right way? Then heave a sigh of relief because this article is the solution to your problem.

We know that cast iron is one of the favorite kitchen utensils of homemakers. And you might be worried that you’ll damage the cast iron by cleaning it the wrong way. 

Don’t worry; as we said, this article is your solution because we’ll share different ways to help you clean cast iron with salt below. 

Aside from the cleaning procedure, we’ll also discuss the answer to common questions that come to every homemaker’s mind:

  • Why are dishwashers dangerous for cast iron?
  • Is it safe to use salt to clean cast iron? 
  • Why should you use salt? 
  • What’s the proper way to season cast iron? 
  • And why is seasoning cast iron essential? 

So be with us till the end of this article, scroll the page, find the solution, and answer all questions. 

How to Clean Cast Iron with Salt: Top Methods Explained

1. Cleaning Cast Iron with Salt 

What will You Need for Cleaning
Coarse salt
Paper Towel 

Let’s start with the easiest method. For this method, you only need salt and a clean paper towel. Keep in mind what we mean by salt is kosher salt, not table salt.  

The first step is to hold the jar of kosher salt and sprinkle it on the cast-iron skillet. Make sure to use a generous amount of salt; otherwise, the result will not be good. After spreading the salt, use a paper towel, clean the surface, and remove the sticky food from the iron pan by scrubbing. 

If you think the salt is not enough for proper cleaning, add more salt into the pan and scrub more with a paper towel. Once you feel that the iron pan is clean, stop the scrubbing process. 

Afterward, dump the dirty salt into the dustbin and rinse the iron skillet with hot water. Later on, use a dry towel and clean the iron pan properly.


2. Cleaning Cast Iron with Salt and Lemon

What will You Need for Cleaning
Kosher Salt or Sea Salt 
Paper Towel 

The second effective method for cleaning a cast iron pan is combining salt and lemon. it’s one of the most valuable methods. 

As we all know, the benefits of lemon, the natural acid that lemon contains works as a powerful natural dishwasher. It can efficiently remove heat stains and grease from the iron pan. 

Hence, grab a lemon and cut it into two pieces. Add kosher salt or sea salt in a small bowl and dip the piece of lemon into the salt. After that, grab one piece of lemon and rub the iron pan with it vigorously. 

Rub until you feel that the rust is removed from the surface. If you think that one lemon is not enough, cut more lemon, dip it in the salt and use it for cleaning. 

After cleaning the rust and grime, use warm water, a mild dishwasher, and thoroughly clean the iron pan. Then dry it well with a kitchen towel, and the cast iron pan is ready to use. 


3. Cleaning Cast Iron with Salt and Potato to Remove Rust or Burnt on

What will You Need for Cleaning
Paper Towel 

This process is similar to the second one because you’ve to follow the same procedures. The only difference is here; you need potato instead of lemon. 

Ohh! You may be concerned about using the amazing potatoes for cleaning, right? Don’t think about how we know about it because it’s magic! 

Let’s back to the topic, no doubt potatoes are one of the most famous vegetables. It’s notably good for health, but the fact that most people don’t know is you can also use it for cleaning. Potatoes contain oxalic acid that is excellent for removing rust on any surface. 

The only thing you’ve to do is cut the potato into two pieces. Make sure you’re not using a small potato; a medium-sized or big potato (that can fit into the palm) can make your work easy. So after cutting, sprinkle the salt on the potato and scrub the pan’s surface. 

Bear in mind that you’ve to scrub in a circular motion. Stop scrubbing once you feel that the pan is clean, use warm water to clean the iron pan, and in the end, dry it with a towel or tissue.


4. Cleaning a Cast-Iron Skillet with Salt and Olive Oil

What will You Need for Cleaning
Paper Towels
Olive Oil 

Another method that we find helpful and easy is cleaning cast iron skillets with salt and olive oil or vegetable oil. This method works with the combination of two amazing ingredients. The first one is salt, which we’ve already mentioned above, and the second ingredient is olive oil. 

Olive oil is known to work like a charm on cookware surfaces. You can clean grime, stains, grease, and almost anything with this. 

So find salt and olive oil in the kitchen. Add a generous amount of salt to the pan. Later on, pour olive oil into the cast iron pan. Mix it well to form a coarse salt oil mixture on the surface. You’ll see a mixture of salt and oil. Use this mixture and rub the pan in a circular motion with a paper towel. 

After the cleaning process, rinse the pan and dry it using another paper towel. Thereafter, you’ve to rub a little more oil over the surface area of the pan to give it a nice and shiny touch. In the last, put the pan on the stove and heat it for a couple of minutes.


5. Cleaning Cast Iron with Salt, Oil, and Bamboo 

Ingredients You Need for Cleaning
Salt  (about a tablespoon)
Paper Towel 
Bamboo Scrubber

There’s one more way to clean a cast iron. If you think that nothing is working even though you’re scrubbing with enough pressure, then you should use a more powerful thing like a bamboo scrubber. 

What you’ve to do is add sea salt or kosher salt to the pan and put it on the stove. For more efficiency, hold the cast iron handle and shake the pan, so the salt spreads evenly on the surface for more efficiency. 

Wait for a couple of minutes until the white salt looks golden or light brown. Turn off the stove, let the pan cool and wait five to six minutes. Now it’s time to use a bamboo scrubber, hold it, and scrub the surface with full pressure. 

After scrubbing the iron pan, discard all the salt. Later, use a little bit of oil and spread it with the help of a brush or paper towel. Your iron pan is ready to use.


6. Cleaning Cast Iron with Salt and Vinegar to Remove Rust

Ingredients You Need for Cleaning
Paper Towel 

Cleaning a cast iron is an uphill task. Sometimes, the cleaning process takes a lot of time which is not acceptable for some people. In this case, vinegar can help you out. 

Yes, you read it right, you may not believe it, but it’s true that vinegar soak can remove the rust layer on the pan. And don’t worry, the process is also easy. 

You’ve to use white vinegar and water in equal proportion. So add both things in a bucket and make sure the bucket is big enough to sink the cast iron pan. Put the pan in the bucket and leave it for a maximum of 8 hours. 

Remember that 8 hours is the maximum time limit; the rust can also be removed after three to four hours. That’s why it’s essential to check the bucket after every hour. 

Pull the pan from the bucket when the rust removes. Use the mild dishwasher, warm water, and scrub the pan carefully. Don’t put a lot of pressure during the scrubbing because you can damage the surface. 

After scrubbing, wash the pan with warm water and dry it with a towel. One thing you should understand is you’ve to do the seasoning again. That’s why put the pan in the oven for at least 30 minutes. 

You can check our guide below if you don’t know the proper procedure of seasoning cast iron.

How should you Season Cast Iron Properly for Longer Skillet Life? 

Everything that is beneficial also has some disadvantages; the same goes for cast iron. Though it’s cost-effective, unharmful, useful, still it isn’t easy to maintain and clean. 

Like after cleaning, another problematic thing is seasoning the cast iron properly. If you don’t do the seasoning appropriately, the cookware will end up rusting. That’s why follow our step-by-step guide and protect the cast iron pan. 

What will You Need for Seasoning 
Vegetable Oil 
Paper Towel

Step One: Clean the Entire Cast Iron 

The first step for seasoning the cast iron is cleaning. it’s important because you can’t season rusted cast iron. To clean the iron pan, you need a mild dishwasher; make sure you’re not using the harsh dishwasher. 

Don’t worry; you can use the dishwasher for seasoning; it will not damage the pan since you’ll season the cast iron again. So take a sponge and use a dishwasher to clean the skillet. 

Step Two: Dry it Properly. 

While cleaning the cast iron, you’ve to make sure one thing is that you’ve removed the rust fully. Once you’ve done with the above procedure, use warm water and rinse the pan properly. After rinsing, use a paper towel or any clothing to dry the cookware. 


Don’t go for the third step if the skillet is not dry properly. If you’re in a hurry, place the cast iron on the stove and dry it with the heat. 

Step Three: Use Oil 

Now it’s time to use cooking oil, so hold the oil jug and pour a little oil on the pan. Then use a paper towel and spread a thin layer of the oil evenly on the entire pan. 

Don’t use too much oil. If you feel that you’ve used extra oil by mistake, then wipe away the excess oil with a paper towel. 

Note: If you used the stove to dry the cast iron, then wait until the skillet cooled down.

Step Four: Bake it in the oven 

After coating the entire skillet with oil, it’s time to utilize the oven.

  1. Turn on the oven, set it to 450F, and place the cast iron in the middle rack.
  2. Place the cast iron upside down in the oven.
  3. Leave it in the oven for about 1 hour to help the remaining moisture end and the oil to form a thin non stick coating on your cast iron skillet surface. 

Step Five: Wait and Repeat the Process 

Wait for one hour, then again wait and let the skillet cool down for safety. Once it cools down, remove the skillet from the oven. The last step is to repeat the process at least two to three times. You can also repeat the process more than four times if you’ve time. 

7 Tips to Take Care of Cast Iron Skillet

Keep in mind that cleaning with salt is not enough. The cast iron needs proper care; you’ve to maintain the skillet along with the cleaning. Here are some tips that can help you take care of a cast-iron skillet. 

Don’t Forget Reseasoning. 

Many people think that seasoning one time is enough for the cast iron, but that’s not the case. If you also think that means you’re doing wrong, the cast iron skillet needs to be re-season after some time. You should reseason a cast iron once the food starts sticking on the pan while cooking. 

Use Good Oil For Seasoning 

All vegetable oils are good. And you can season the cast iron with anyone, but some cooking oils are more suitable in contrast to others because of the higher smoke point. So if you want the best result, you should also go with the oils like Flaxseed, Grapeseed, Canola, Coconut, Peanut, and Avocado oil. 

Clean and Oil After Every Use 

Cleaning is important, and you should clean and oil the skillet after every use. We recommend cleaning the cast iron when it’s warm from cooking because, at that time, you can easily remove the food from the skillet. After cleaning, pour oil and coat it with a thin layer. 

Cook Carefully 

Most people don’t know that to maintain cast iron; you should cook carefully. You can’t cook anything in the cast iron skillet; the reason is food that contains acid can damage the cookware. 

Preheat the Pan

Do you know there’s an extremely useful tip that can save the cast iron and your time? The tip is if you preheat the pan on a medium heat before using it for cooking, it’ll reduce the chances of food sticking to the pan. It means you don’t have to spend a lot of time removing sticky food.  

Protect the Cast Iron by Cleaning 

Another thing that can save you time is the process of removing the food particles after cooking. If you don’t remove the food particles, then be ready because the skillet will not last long. Sticky food will damage the skillet, so use a pan scraper after every use and remove the sticky food and grime. 

Clean Carefully 

You should always clean carefully as there are some mistakes people make that result in rusting. So to protect the cast iron, follow the tips of cleaning that are mentioned below. 

  • Dry the pan thoroughly; a small amount of water can damage the skillet. 
  • Use warm water instead of cold water while washing cast iron. 
  • Don’t place the cast iron in a wet area. 
  • After cooking, transfer the food into another utensil; leaving food in cast iron can break down seasoning. 

Why are Dishwashers Dangerous for Cast Iron?

Washing cast iron pans with regular dishwashing soaps is harmful and a rookie move. Soap and exposure to moisture or longer time damage to the cast iron skillet seasoning for the higher chances that your pan will rust. That’s why we suggest using salt instead of dishwashers for cleaning cast iron. 

What are the Benefits of Cleaning Cast Iron with Salt? 

If you’re wondering why salt instead of the dishwasher and other solutions, then here’s the answer. The first reason is, salt is a fantastic ingredient to clean kitchen cookware. 

You can clean almost everything from the oven, fridge to the pan. The salt works great for everything. Also, it’s ideal for cleaning cast iron since it efficiently removes stubborn bits of stuck on food and rust, which extends the life of the skillet. 

Another significant benefit of clean cast iron is that it’s highly cost-effective and easily available in all kitchens. Below we’ll discuss six different ways that work amazingly and clean the cast iron without damaging the utensils. 

Choosing which method is more accessible and beneficial is up to you. You can clean the cast iron only with salt, or you can also go for other ways like salt with olive oil, salt with water, etc. 

Is It Safe to Use Salt to Clean Cast Iron? 

Yes, salt is entirely safe to clean cast iron. The ionic qualities and properties of salt make it the best and most gentle dishwasher for cast iron. So don’t concern yourself too much about the safety of cast iron and use salt without any worry. 

How to Clean Cast Iron with Salt – FAQs

Does salt ruin cast iron?

No, salt doesn’t ruin cast iron in any way. Instead, it protects the cast iron skillet by removing grime and eliminating the chances of rust. In contrast, if you opt for abrasive materials like steel wool, they can ruin your dear utensil. So don’t worry and use salt for cleaning cast iron without any fear. 

What is the easiest way to clean cast iron?

You come across several best ways to clean cast iron, but the first method means using salt and water is the easiest way. You’ve to add salt to the pan, then start the scrubbing process with the help of a paper towel. 

Scrub in a circular motion until you feel the cast iron is cleaned. Afterward, rinse the cast iron pan in the warm water, and dry it. 

Can you use table salt to clean cast iron? 

Yes, you can use all types of salt, including table salt, to clean cast iron. But if you want to know about the salt that gives the best result, it’s better to use kosher salt and sea salt. The two of them are coarse salt, and hard in texture, which helps remove the rust. 

Final Thoughts

Cast iron is an amazing skillet; it’s good for everything. The only problem is cleaning which you sort out with the options we’ve mentioned above. You can pick any method of cleaning, whichever you find accessible for you. 

All of them are helpful because we suggested cleaning cast iron with salt, which is an ideal ingredient to remove rust, dirt, and grime. 

Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed our article and found all the answers to the questions. If you’ve any doubt, you can ask us in the comment section; we are here to help you out. is a participant in the Amazon Associate program and will earn from qualifying purchases.