Lodge cast iron can last a century or more if properly cleaned and maintained, which takes only a few minutes after each cooking session. Wash and dry cast iron as soon as possible after cooking, using warm water, a soft rag and a dish towel. Vegetable oil and a paper towel are necessary to prepare the pan for the next use.Continue Reading
Wash the cast iron in warm water, using a sponge or soft rag. Soap is not necessary because cast iron is pre-heated before cooking, which creates a sterile cooking environment. Cookware is considered sterile when it reaches 212 degrees Fahrenheit, and cast iron reaches 400 degrees Fahrenheit in just 4 minutes. However, you can use mild soapy water if you prefer, Lodge notes. Do not place cast iron in the dishwasher or clean it with a metal pad because these activities wear away the pan's seasoning. Dry the pan immediately after washing to prevent rust.
After each washing, rub the pan with a thin layer of vegetable oil, using your fingers or a paper towel to spread the oil. Only a small amount of oil is needed, just enough to keep the pan from drying out. Do not allow the oil to pool on the surface.
Cast iron develops rust if it loses its seasoning or if it isn't dried properly. In this instance, it is appropriate to scour the rust off with a metal pad. Rinse the cast iron after scouring, then dry it and add a layer of vegetable oil.