Tools to Keep Your Cast Iron Clean & Pristine

Your guide to keeping every pan in tip-top shape.

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clean and pristine

If you’ve ever battled with cleaning a corn stick pan, you may have wondered—is there an easier way? Patterned and shaped cast-iron pieces are great for cooking and baking eye-catching food, but when it comes to buffing away all the cooked-on gunk, it isn’t always easy We gathered advice from the Southern Cast Iron team and asked our cast iron-loving friends on social media for tips, tools, and tricks to give you an upper hand in the kitchen when it comes to cleaning a variety of cast-iron pieces.

clean and pristine

GET IN THE GROOVES

Fluted finds like vintage Turk’s head pans and swirled Bundt pans make beautiful baked goods, but it can be difficult to clean and season these pieces due to their intricate, tubular shape. If your pans have some baked-on bits that need to be removed, a toothbrush works wonders to get in the grooves. For greasing pans before baking, use a bristled pastry brush to spread on a thin, even coating of fat before it goes in the oven.

clean and pristine

CUT NO CORNERS

They may not be conventional tools for cleaning cast iron, but we love using cotton swabs to get into the tight corners of a cast-iron wedge pan. A silicone basting brush is another gadget that can be used to coat every inch of the pan in oil, whether for seasoning or for greasing before using.

clean and pristine

GRILL GUNK BEGONE

Often coated in cooked-on marinades and sauces, grill pans are notoriously hard to clean. One tool that makes cleanup easy-peasy is a heavy-duty scouring pad; it’s your secret weapon when paired with abrasive coarse salt. Simply sprinkle the salt onto your pan and give it a good scrub with a damp scour pad to remove stubborn bits.

clean and pristine

TOOTHPICK TAKEDOWN

Cleaning the crevices of a corn stick pan requires teeny-tiny tools. Start with a small, stiff-bristled brush and scrub away all the residue that you can. For gunk that’s stuck in the kernel imprints, try using a wooden pick to scrape it away. It may take some time, but you’ll be left with a perfectly cleaned pan.

clean and pristine

SCRUB, SCRUB, SCRUB

While you can clean and season unusually shaped skillets just like you would more classic ones, a few special tools lend a helping hand. A wooden wedge like the one shown here (made by FINEX) allows you to loosen stuck-on food in the corners of the pan, while a durable chain mail scrubber will help you scuff away any food grime in the rest of the skillet with just a bit of elbow grease.

clean and pristine

TOP TOOLS

Chain mail scrubbers, scouring pads, coarse salt, and rust erasers like the one shown here (made by Lodge) are common cast-iron cleaning tools for a reason, but don’t be afraid to get creative. Household items such as toothbrushes, cotton swabs, wooden picks, and basting brushes help tremendously to get into the nooks and crannies of patterned and shaped pieces.