How To Clean Black Residue Off Cast Iron Skillet?

If you cook regularly, you know very well that skillets are the most used among kitchenware. But the most common day-to-day problem faced with cast iron skillets is the black residues.

Generally, the black residues are formed due to charred food and burnt oil from previous meals. And if you don’t know how to clean black residue off cast iron skillet, don’t worry! I am here 😊

Again, if you observe the black coating coming off the cast iron skillet that is newly bought, it is due to the seasoning done by the manufacturer.

And it is always better to remove the seasoning from the manufacturer and season it again by yourself.

Want to know about cleaning buildup on outside of cast iron skillet and how to season your skillet again? Just go through this article, and you’ll get everything you need. 

Methods To Clean Black Residues Off Cast Iron Skillets

how to clean discolored enamel cookware

There are four most popular methods of cleaning black residues off the cast iron skillet. Each differs from the other with the result and the type of black residues they’re applied on.

  • Using Salt and Soap

Using salt and soap to clean black residues off is a prevalent method. Most people highly prefer it since it doesn’t damage the seasoning of the skillet.

You will need only three things for this. That is, some salt, dishwashing soap, and a cleaning brush or scrub pad. Salt works amazingly when it comes to scrub off the black residues.

All you need to do is put some dishwashing soap and salt on the iron skillet and rub it with your hand using a cleaning brush or scrub pad. Once the residue comes off, rinse it thoroughly using warm water. That’s it!

Moreover, to avoid further rusts, it’s better to low heat the skillet using an oven or simply on the stove.

  • Using A Self-Cleaning Oven

When removing tough layers of oil and food from the iron skillet, using a self-cleaning oven is the best option. Basically, it cleans the skillet at high temperatures, burning the tough residues to ashes.

So, first of all, you have to put the skillet upside down on the top shelf of the oven. Then heat the oven with a high temperature of about 880F.

Generally, the duration depends on the type of oven, but it takes three to four minutes.

Once it is done, please take out the skillet carefully and wait for some time for it to cool down, and then wipe off the leftover ashes.

And that’s it. But don’t forget that you need to be extra careful to use a Self-Cleaning Oven.

  • Using Dishwashing Soap, Vinegar, And Baking Soda
clean a cast iron skillet with burnt on

This is the easiest and most effective one. Dishwashing soap, Vinegar and Baking Soda are great cleaning agents, and it works wonders when used together.

So, what you have to do is, first, take a separate bowl or mixing plate. Take a spoon of dishwashing soap, vinegar, and baking soda and add some water as well.

Mix it all, then use a cleaning pad and take some mixture and apply it properly on the skillet.

Let it soak for like an hour. Then scrub off the residue properly. Done scrubbing? Now, wash the skillet using warm water and wipe off the extra water using a dry towel.

But here, something you need to know is that this method might damage your pan’s seasoning. Thus, you might have to redo it.

  • Boiling Water in the skillet

This process is a bit time-consuming, but once the process is over, the results are always satisfying. Does this method sound interesting to you? Then, this is the method for you.

Because boiling water is incomparable when it comes to killing germs, loosening crud, and cleaning them, so here, you will need to boil water in the skillet you want to clean.

After the water is boiled, get the skillet off the stove and use a spatula to remove the black residues from the skillet.

Just see how easily the black residue and crud get off after being loosened by the boiled water. Amazing! Isn’t it?

Clean Buildup on Outside of Skillet

Black residues are the most regular problem of using a cast-iron skillet, but outside holds the second position.

Definitely, if you’re using a skillet in your day-to-day life, if today you need to clean the black residues, tomorrow you might need to clean the buildups outside.

 Hence, we are listing up here the three most effective methods to clean buildup on the outside of the skillet for your convenience.

Method 1: Scraping The Heated Skillet

This is the most common and effective method that anyone can try. It is a bit similar to the method of boiling water in cleaning black residue.

But here, you won’t be boiling water. But instead, heat the skillet directly on the stove.

Start heating it with a medium-high fire level stove so that the buildup on the outside can loosen to be easily cleaned afterward.

And when you see the skillet is properly heated, get it off the stove using a cooking glove or towel.

Gently scrape the heated skillet using an iron spatula or knife. Make sure you don’t make scratches by inserting too much force.

And then, once all the buildups are removed, wash the skillet with mild dishwasher soap and season it all over again.

Method 2: Using Lemon Scrub

Lemon as a fruit is a great exfoliator. Just like it is very effective in cleansing the human body and skin, it is also effective in cleaning any kitchenware.

This is because of its highly acidic nature that is tough on dirt buildup.

Therefore, it is a great and convenient option to clean such buildup. You can do it in two different ways.

One where you can directly scrub a half-cut lemon on the outer surface of the skillet. And another where you mix the lemon extract with warm water or cream of tartar.

The second way is more preferable to the first one since the first one is a bit time-consuming. So, all you need to do for the second way is create a solution of lemon extract with warm water or cream of tartar.

Then apply it on the surface of the skillet and lastly, like the previous method, scrub the outer surface with an iron spatula until it’s completely clean.

Then once the skillet is completely clean and no buildup seems to be left, wash it with water under a tap, dry it, and re-season it. That’s it!

Method 3: Using Baking Soda Solution

As we’ve seen before, baking soda is an amazing ingredient to work with in the case of cleaning the clack residues. In the case of cleaning the outside buildup as well, baking soda is a blessing.

All you have to do is to make a baking soda solution with water and apply it all over the skillet. And next, you know what to do. Just scrub the outside of the skillet with an iron spatula until it’s clean.

Once it’s clean, wash it off, dry it, and re-season it. And you’re good to go!

How To Season A Skillet?

Except for the method of salt and soap, all other methods might cost the seasoning of your skillet. But again, seasoning a skillet isn’t too much of a work to do.

Therefore, it is always better to freshly season your skillet after every time you clean it.

First thing first, let’s know why a skillet is actually seasoned. The purpose behind seasoning a skillet is to create a thin and slick coating on the skillet’s cooking surface. This prevents the skillet from rusts and foods sticking at the bottom.

Seasoning a skillet is done by baking it multiple times applying thin polymerized layers of oil. But while seasoning the pan, it is required to be very careful so that the exposed surface doesn’t get damaged.

Here’s how you can do it. Pour a tablespoon or two vegetable oil on the skillet cooking surface. And then, rub the oil using a paper towel or rag into the skillet’s surface thoroughly.

Rub the oil all over the skillet, including the outer surface of the skillet as well.

And now, place the skillet in the oven and heat it to 350F. Keep the skillet in the center rack of the oven upside down so that the extra oils get extracted while baking.

And make sure you are keeping an aluminum foil underneath the skillet so that it catches the extracted oil and saves your oven from getting dirty.

Lastly, take out the skillet carefully from the oven after an hour. Keep it rested aside to cool down completely.

And so, your skillet is now freshly seasoned. You can use it again after it cools down completely but not before that. Learn more about seasoning a cast iron skillet from this video.

Final Words

 Don’t sweat over cleaning the black residues every day. They aren’t harmful to human health at all. But still, to maintain the quality and longevity of the skillet, you should clean it at least once or twice a week.

To ensure less formation of black residues, you can take some preventive measures. That can include avoiding overheating fats and oils while cooking, always wiping down the skillet with oil immediately.

You realize the food is burning and applying oil to the skillet every time after cleaning.

But anyway, black residue will still form in your skillet, and it’s normal. Don’t worry about it much.

We hope you don’t have any more questions left on your mind on how to clean black residue off cast iron skillet.

Thanks for reading till the end. We’re happy to help!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top