How to Make Your Cast Iron Last

Cast iron pots and pans can last for generations, unlike other types of cookware. But you do need to take care of your cast-iron cookware because it isn’t indestructible. Follow certain cast-iron-care rules, and your heirs will be fighting over who gets your glorious pans.

  • Reseason after each use. Each time you clean your cast iron, you remove a little seasoning.

    If you clean your cast iron enough times without reseasoning, the pans lose the patina that makes them nonstick, and the metal becomes vulnerable to rust.

  • Never put cold water in a hot pan. All metals are susceptible to thermal shock, a large and rapid change in temperature. If you put a cold pan on a hot burner, a hot pan under cold running water, or subject your cookware to any other combination of extreme and sudden temperature differences, you run the risk of warping or even breaking it.

  • Don’t use soap. For a society that has practically made antibacterial the new religion of clean, the idea of not using any soap at all sounds practically heretical. But you don’t need soap to clean cast iron, and using it can break down the seasoning.

  • Don’t even think about using the dishwasher. If soap is bad for cast iron, running it through the dishwasher is practically the kiss of death.

  • Use it often. Unlike other cookware, cast iron actually gets better the more that you use it. Every time you cook with it, you’re enhancing the pan’s cooking properties. You can see this improvement as its color darkens.

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