CAST IRON CLEANING SUPPLIES
Wandering into almost any online forum and asking “What’s the best way to clean Cast Iron” will probably elicit a large number of responses from the forum members. There really is no definitive consensus but we managed to glean a few ideas from people who use and people who collect Cast Iron Cookware. What we present here range from everyday cleaning to the really hardcore restoration supplies. While by no means complete, they represent some of the more popular items available.
DAY TO DAY CLEANING
The Crisbee Puck
The Crisbee Puck is a relatively new addition to the cleaning cast iron products list. A combination of two items that have been used to both season new cast iron and restore older pans, it brings the best of both worlds together. Crisco, of course, is a favorite but few people realize that beeswax can add a nice finish to older pans that are being restored. So, here it is all in one.
Another great use for this product is to augment and pre-season that new cast iron pot you just bought. For a closer look at using this please see our product review which provides some further information and usage tips. As a variant, Crisbee puck also is available in a re-seal-able stick form. And, they’re available from Amazon.
Chain Mail Scrubber
While we generally prefer a good nylon scrubbie for our cast iron cookware, this particular item caught our eye. Made from stainless steel it got some rave reviews from a lot of cast iron owners. It’s a bit expensive but easy to clean and should last for a very long time.
SOS Tuffy Nylon Pot Scrubber
Our preferred cleaning tool for cast iron. Good hot water, a little elbow grease, and one of these and your cookware will keep that nice seasoning you worked so hard to get. Available in several colors.
Lodge Pot Scrapers
For the times you let the pot get a bit too hot and it sticks or burns on to the surface (hey, it happens).
Using soap to clean cast iron seems to elicit a lot of negative responses but we don’t like dirty pots. 2 or 3 drops on a sponge to roll up excess oil won’t hurt a well seasoned surface.
HEAVY DUTY CLEANING
Picking up Cast Iron Cookware at Garage sales and Flea Markets is a popular past time for a lot of people. Some of the pieces need some serious cleaning and restoring and while most collectors have their own favorite techniques and materials to accomplish the task at hand, here are some of the favorites from the experts.
Easy Off Oven Cleaner
This works well on pans that just have gunk (not rust) that needs to be cleaned off before re-seasoning and use. Spray and place in a plastic bag for 24 hours to remove the built up gunk.
Bragg Organic Cider Vinegar
Another popular and recommended cleaning solution for rust and built up gunk. The pot gets a good soaking until the rust and gunk have dissolved the rinse off and re-season.
Nyalox Cap Brush
Useful for cleaning rust off cast iron. Unlike a wire wheel it won’t dig into the metal or mar the surface, and it’s shape allows cleaning off the hard to get to areas.
A lot of collectors who use electrolysis to prepare their cookware swear and avow by this cleaning technique to get the perfect finish on a Cast Iron pot. Do some research first if you’re planning on using this technique as it requires the use of some rather caustic chemicals.
Schumacher SC600A Charger While there’s no consensus on the amount of current required for a Cast Iron Electrolysis setup, 2 Amps. seems about nominal. This unit provides a number of self regulated features and should more than meet your needs if you elect to go down the electrolysis method of cleaning your cast iron. Microprocessor control, LED charge rate, and manual selection features for current control. Available directly from Amazon here.
Lye This gets recommended a lot by collectors who have lots of pieces to clean and maintain. Generally not for day to day maintenance but for restoration of pieces that are heavily soiled or have other defects such as rust. Be careful using this and read through some of the cast iron forums before use. About 1 lb per 5 Gallons of water. Available from Amazon here.
Rolling Storage Tub
Setting up an electrolysis cleaning system for cast iron cookware isn’t particularly difficult, but the recommended cleaning solution (lye) is caustic and having it slop around in the container isn’t good. If you are planning on cleaning a lot of cast iron, this might suit you. Wheels for moving and a cover for storing.
Deep Reach C Clamp
Electrolysis requires some kind of anode to function which usually gets clamped to the side of a plastic container. These deep reach clamps should allow for a variety of different anode shapes and sizes.