cast iron skillet on slate surface
Credit: YelenaYemchuk / Getty Images

Keep Your Cast-Iron Skillet in Tip-Top Shape with These Essential Tools

They're just what you need for daily cleaning and maintenance.
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Maybe you've long been a fan of the cast-iron skillet, using one for everything cooking from Broccoli-and-Chickpea Parmesan to baking Skillet Chocolate-Chip Cookies, or perhaps you're newer to the wonderful realm of all things cast-iron, which means you're still getting a handle on the ins and outs of this type of cookware. Whichever camp you're in, allow us to remind you or inform you: You need to take care of this versatile pan. Ellen King, co-owner of Hewn, an independent, woman-owned bakery in Evanston, Illinois, and author of the cookbook Heritage Baking ($29.95, barnesandnoble.com), who "pretty much exclusively uses cast-iron skillets for cooking at home" knows the importance of caring for them. The same goes for chef Kris Stubblefield, who works for Lodge Cast Iron. "Cast-iron cookware is an amazing tool to use for any level of home cook, whether a novice or pro. With just a bit of extra care, cast-iron cookware will last for generations to cook up delicious food in the kitchen," he says. "Oil for seasoning, pan scrapers to clean off any stuck on bits, and rust erasers are just a few products that are both easy to use and will make cast iron cookware last a lifetime."

Below, a look at the essentials our experts agree will help you keep your cast-iron skillet in great shape for as long as possible.

Top Picks

Lodge chainmail Scrubbing pad
Credit: Courtesy of Lodge

Chainmail Scrubber

"For serious cleaning I use a little chainmail [scrubber] with kosher salt and a bit of water to scrub the bottom," says King.

Stubblefield agrees, saying that a chainmail scrubbing pad is a must. "It's made to tackle big messes on your cast iron without scrubbing away the seasoning." Even better? The Lodge Cast Iron scrubber he prefers can be "tossed in the dishwasher for a like-new clean."

Shop Now: Lodge Cast Iron Chainmail Scrubbing Pad, $19.90, amazon.com.

Scotch-Brite Non-Scratch Dobie All Purpose Cleaning Pad
Credit: Courtesy of Walmart

Everyday Cleaning Pad

For lighter cleaning, such as after searing something, King uses these cleaning pads. "They are my absolute favorite and the plastic soft sponge does not destroy or scratch the seasoning," she says. 

Shop Now: Scotch-Brite Dobie Cleaning Pads, $2.20 for two, walmart.com.

lodge Pan rubber Scrapers
Credit: Courtesy of Lodge

Pan Scraper

"Whether using cast-iron to bake a delicious dessert or searing the perfect steak, you're bound to end up with food particles stuck onto your cookware," says Stubblefield. "To help clean every nook and cranny, I always recommend having pan scrapers on hand." Grill pan enthusiasts should seek out scrapers specially designed to clean the hard-to-reach grooves. 

Shop Now: Lodge Cast Iron Pan Scrapers, $5.95 for two, lodgecastiron.com; Grill Pan Scrapers, $5.50 for two, amazon.com.

cast iron skillet rust eraser
Credit: Courtesy of Lodge

Rust Eraser

Maybe you forgot to dry your cast-iron skillet after washing and there's now a tiny spot of rust on the base; perhaps you unearthed a vintage cast-iron skillet at a thrift store and it looks somewhat like the one pictured. When you're dealing with rust, no matter what the cause, a rust eraser can help. It's a magical tool that, well, erases the rust so you can re-season your skillet!

Shop Now: Lodge Cast Iron Rust Eraser, $12.95 for two, williams-sonoma.com.

good and gather Organic Refined Canola Oil
Credit: Courtesy of Target

Seasoning Oils

You're seasoning your cast-iron skillet, right? Right. Any cooking oil works, but some experts favor canola oil; flax oil is a popular choice, too. Using a spray bottle may make applying a thin layer of oil to your cast-iron skillet easier, which is why Stubblefield favors Lodge's Seasoning Spray for keeping cast iron skillets in tip-top shape. "After washing, rinsing and drying your cast iron, simply apply seasoning spray all over your cookware to maintain a nonstick-like finish," he recommends.

Shop Now: Good & Gather Organic Refined Canola Oil, $5.99, target.com; Lodge Cast Iron Seasoning Spray, $10.95, lodgecastiron.com.