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Thread: Cleaning Baked-on Grease Coated Cast Iron Pan

  1. #1
    Suz
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    Smile Cleaning Baked-on Grease Coated Cast Iron Pan

    We recently helped our son move and he asked if I could clean up his cast iron skillet. It was a real mess. Tried a little elbow grease to no avail. Then I read on Pinterest to put it into a self-cleaning oven which I did. WOW!!! I washed w/soap and hot water, seasoned w/oil and it looks like it is brand new.

    If using this idea, be sure to remove your shiny racks or they will lose their shine.

  2. #2
    Super Member Doggramma's Avatar
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    Wow, that's a good tip. Too late about the racks - I already wrecked mine!
    Lori

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    When I was kid and we had a skillet that needed to be "refreshed", we'd throw it into the fire. (We used to have "campfires" in our yard and cook potatoes and corn in it a lot during the summers.) Once it all burns out, the skillet just needs to be dusted out and re-seasoned and it's good to go!

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    We use our cast iron skillet and flat pan (I call it) a lot. When we're done with it. We throw some salt on it an smooth it around. Then take a small potato, cut the end or in half and use that to scrub the skillet. My aunt used to do this when she and her family went camping. When she passed away her son took the skillets and use them when they go camping. He has her whole set and the Dutch cooker.

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    I have my mom's cast iron skillet. It was not the one she used when I was a kid - that one got too heavy for her to use and so she got a smaller one when it was just the two of them. That one is so heavy I don't use it very often but make sure I clean it every time I use it. I thought I was ruining it because someone told me they need to be cured and just keep using them after rinsing them out with water, but it just didn't sit well with me.

  6. #6
    Power Poster Onebyone's Avatar
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    I use the self cleaning oven for cast iron. Works great. My grandfather use to put cast iron in his wood burning stove. A fireplace will do the job too. I don't use soap on mine and they are decades old, pitch black and slick like glass. Eggs slide out of the skillet. I use boiling water to clean, wipe dry, and wipe inside with thin layer of shortening. Cooking oil doesn't work the same as shortening for seasoning.
    Last edited by Onebyone; 10-09-2014 at 12:16 PM.
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    I know you don't keep your racks in the oven when self cleaning, but if you put a iron skillet in the oven, it would have to be on the bottom. Doesn't it ruin the bottom of the oven?

  8. #8
    Super Member piepatch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yngldy View Post
    I know you don't keep your racks in the oven when self cleaning, but if you put a iron skillet in the oven, it would have to be on the bottom. Doesn't it ruin the bottom of the oven?
    This is my question too. It seems putting the pan on the bottom of the oven while on the clean cycle might damage the bottom of the oven?

  9. #9
    Suz
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    My husband wiped out the dust that had accumulated on the bottom of the oven. Otherwise the oven looks fine. I used olive oil after washing Steve's pan. We will be seeing him w/e and will pass on your suggestions to keep it clean as he is a camper and perhaps this is the pan he takes. Thanks for this info.

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    Use gas grill

    My husband used our gas grill turned up on high for about 15-20 minutes and it worked beautifully. He saw it on Youtube.

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    I love cast iron and prefer to cook in my cast iron skillets. I have all of mine I've had for 44 years and my mother's as well. My daughter wanted all of my mother's when she passed away. I took most of them and gave daughter and son each a couple. Both daughter and son are single and like to cook and use cast iron, so they will just have to divide mine. I remember my mother using salt and a small brass brush to clean hers from time to time, they were all black as coal, but you could use a clean white cloth and wipe them off and not have a dirty spot on the cloth.

  12. #12
    Junior Member judith ann's Avatar
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    I have used cast iron skillets for over 40 years. I wash them like any other pan and dry them on my gas stove burner.
    My farmer husband found a 14 inch skillet in a field. He used a wire brush to clean it then we washed and seasoned it. It is our camping frying pan.

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    Super Member misseva's Avatar
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    I don't cook anything in my iron skillets except cornbread. Because of the weight, I only use the smaller ones now. My daughter had a bad bad broken wrist some time ago so she has trouble lifting the big ones. So guess my son will get all the heavy ones when I'm gone.
    TwandasMom

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    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    We wash mine in sink w/dish detergent like all the dishes and it is clean and stays that way. I go through spells using it. We mainly use electric skillets. I don't fry much on my kitchen stove, don't like to clean the stove top.
    I have heard of burning the build up by fire.
    Another Phyllis
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    I don't care if the racks are shiny or dull. Leaving them in during the cleaning cycle is the easier way to clean them! Use a vegetable or canola oil to treat the pan. Olive oil will turn rancid.

  16. #16
    Super Member sparkys_mom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yngldy View Post
    I know you don't keep your racks in the oven when self cleaning, but if you put a iron skillet in the oven, it would have to be on the bottom. Doesn't it ruin the bottom of the oven?
    I'm waiting for an answer on this one. I bought a new stove last year and it is the first self-cleaning one I've had. I'm terrified to use it.
    My mother made my dad's bacon and eggs in a cast iron skillet every day for 35 years. That skillet was better than any modern non-stick I've ever seen or used. Sadly, I struggle with them. They get icky and sticky and just glare back at me from the cupboard.
    Pat

  17. #17
    Senior Member Grammie Sharon's Avatar
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    I've put water in my pan and boiled it on the stove for a few minutes. It loosened up the stuck stuff. Then take a piece of foil and crumble it up and scrub. Works great too.
    Sharon

  18. #18
    Suz
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    Sparkys, I did respond that my oven was fine after putting the skillet on the bottom of my oven. My husband removed the dust before I could see the accumulation. I see/saw no problems w/either the oven or pan and I did remove the racks.

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    cooking oil counter acts and gives a sticky coating. Shortening like Crisco is best. New Year's day id the day I reseason mine. I have an old cookie sheet and turn the pans upside down so the seasoning doesn't pool. I never use soap, either.
    Quote Originally Posted by Onebyone View Post
    I use the self cleaning oven for cast iron. Works great. My grandfather use to put cast iron in his wood burning stove. A fireplace will do the job too. I don't use soap on mine and they are decades old, pitch black and slick like glass. Eggs slide out of the skillet. I use boiling water to clean, wipe dry, and wipe inside with thin layer of shortening. Cooking oil doesn't work the same as shortening for seasoning.

  20. #20
    Power Poster Onebyone's Avatar
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    I leave the racks in the oven for self cleaning. They won't shine anymore but I didn't care about that, they are in the oven. Why hand clean greasy racks when you paid for a self cleaning oven? I put a stainless steel skillet in the oven on self clean. It took the shine off the skillet but it seems to stick less then the shinny ones.
    I believe giving what I can will never cause me to be in need.
    Being cheap is not a badge of honor.
    My heroes are working people, paying their own way, taking care of their children and being decent human beings.

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    thanks so much for the tip., mine are not bad looking, but son's are awful.... hmmmmm them sons huh?

  22. #22
    Super Member sparkys_mom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tessagin View Post
    cooking oil counter acts and gives a sticky coating. Shortening like Crisco is best. New Year's day id the day I reseason mine. I have an old cookie sheet and turn the pans upside down so the seasoning doesn't pool. I never use soap, either.
    I've also read that coconut oil does a good job for seasoning.
    Pat

  23. #23
    Super Member Girlfriend's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sparkys_mom View Post
    I'm waiting for an answer on this one. I bought a new stove last year and it is the first self-cleaning one I've had. I'm terrified to use it.
    My mother made my dad's bacon and eggs in a cast iron skillet every day for 35 years. That skillet was better than any modern non-stick I've ever seen or used. Sadly, I struggle with them. They get icky and sticky and just glare back at me from the cupboard.
    BE CAREFUL when using self cleaning cycles on ovens where you have glass doors. I used the self cleaning cycle on a two year old KitchenAid oven for the first time, and it blew out the glass - everywhere. Thank goodness no one was standing nearby. It was VERY scary!
    Creative clutter is better than idle neatness.

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