Cast Iron Cleaners and Scrubbers to Keep Your Pans Pristine

Cleanliness is just a little elbow grease away.

There’s no shame in feeling giddy when you’ve finally gotten grit and grime off your favorite kitchenware. That’s especially true when it comes to the cast iron, which sometimes feel like it comes with more rules than an HR manual. Maybe you don’t clean it while it’s still hot. Maybe you put it away slightly wet. In any case, when your cast iron needs some TLC, scrubbers and cleaners will work like magic to make your skillet good as new (or actually good as old—cast iron works better the more it’s used!).

Easy to Store

Soldered rings form a mesh sheet for soap-free grit and grime removal; dishwasher safe and appropriate for pans, cookie sheets, and heat-resistant glass. The Ringer

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Soap, steel wool, and the dishwasher are enemies of cast iron. That’s because they’ll strip seasoning and make it impossible to ever thoroughly dry the pan. And if you can’t dry the pan, it’ll become rusty—and ruined. A scrubber made of metal relies on friction to pull stuff off the pan without damaging its coating. Still, go easy. A cast-iron pan is tough but fragile, and aggressive scrubbing could strip seasoning or scratch the pan.

Easy to Maneuver

Stiff bristles are designed to remove cooked-on foods without damaging surfaces, handle is non-slip even when wet. OXO

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Cast iron skillets can get incredibly hot. Putting a brush-style scrubber on them right away can damage the scrubber, not to mention put you at risk for a burn. Use the scraper after the pan has cooled and thoroughly dry your cast iron before you put it away.

Budget Buy

A set of two tools; the mesh circle is easy to hold and can be tossed in the dishwasher when dirty. GAINWELL

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One frequent debate cooks have is how often cast iron should be seasoned, especially if you’re using deep scrubbing tools. The answer: It depends. If your cast iron pan is new, you may want to re-season it more often than older pans, which will retain their seasoning, because the seasoning gets baked in every time the skillet is heated. If you’ve had to rehab a skillet after using soap or steel wool, it may need to be re-seasoned before its next use.