Aluminum Foil Is The Secret To A Sparkling Clean Cast Iron Skillet

Cast iron skillets are among the toughest pieces of cookware out there. A well-constructed one can provide generations of cooks with reliable, versatile, naturally non-stick cooking everywhere from campfires to induction stoves. However, it can only do that if you take proper care of it. Fortunately, this is quick and easy to do with the help of a common kitchen item: aluminum foil.

While a properly seasoned cast iron skillet is mostly non-stick, the occasional bit of food can get stubbornly stuck to the pan, making for a frustrating cleanup unless you use this tip. Crumble up a piece of aluminum foil into a small ball and scrape it across the skillet's surface under hot water to scour away stuck-on pieces of food — that's it! It's an ideal choice because it's rough enough to do the trick without the risk of scratching your skillet or scraping away your prized seasoning like harsher Brillo pads and plain steel wool. This technique can also remove bits of rust that may develop on skillets that haven't been adequately cared for.

Boost your cleaning power

While using the aluminum foil method can go a long way toward keeping your cast iron cookware sparkling clean, it's vital to remember there are additional options if this doesn't completely remove leftover food. Despite what many have heard, it's safe to use modern dish soap to clean cast iron as long as it's been properly seasoned. The origin behind this common cast iron skillet warning traces its roots back to old-school soap formulas that used harsh chemicals like lye, which can strip off seasoning from a skillet. A bit of dish soap, in addition to the abrasion of the aluminum foil, can ensure there's no trace of food left after washing while keeping your seasoning intact. 

As with any other cleaning method for cast iron, it's crucial to complete the process by thoroughly drying the skillet and occasionally heating it on the stove or in the oven to add another layer of seasoning. Paper towels can also extend the life of your cast iron skillet when placed in the bottom before storing to ensure any remaining moisture can't linger on the surface.

So, go ahead and invest in one of the best cast iron skillets on the market. With this simple, affordable, and reliable tip, home cooks can keep their cast iron cookware spotlessly clean while protecting it for decades to come.