Cast Iron Skillet Cleaning and Care

What is seasoning?

Seasoning is just oil baked onto cast iron and carbon steel. It gives your cookware that classic black patina. Seasoning forms a natural, easy-release cooking surface and helps prevent your pan from rusting. It may take a little extra care, but a well-seasoned cast iron pan will last for generations.

What's the science behind seasoning?

When oil is heated in cast iron, it bonds with the metal through a process called polymerization, creating a layer of seasoning. With regular use, your cast iron cookware will develop a strong, durable layer of seasoning that becomes more resistant to rust and more nonstick—it only gets better over time.

Clean and oil your cookware after every use.

Some activities may remove a bit of your seasoning, such as cooking acidic foods, using excessive heat, or scrubbing with abrasive utensils or scouring pads; that's why our simple cleaning steps have you rub oil into your pan after each use to ensure the seasoning remains intact for quality cooking.

  • Step 1: Wash
  • Wash your cast iron cookware by hand. You can use a small amount of soap. If needed, use a pan scraper for stuck on food. For extra sticky situations, simmer a little water for 1 minute, then use the scraper after the pan has cooled. Our Seasoned Cast Iron Care Kit has everything you need to wash and care for cast iron the right way.
  • Step 2: Dry
  • Dry promptly and thoroughly with a lint-free cloth or paper towel. If you notice a little black residue on your towel, it's just seasoning and is perfectly normal.
  • Step 3: Oil
  • Rub a very light layer of cooking oil or Seasoning Spray onto the surface of your cookware. Use a paper towel to wipe the surface until no oil residue remain

Are there other oils I can use to season?

All cooking oils and fats can be used for seasoning cast iron, but based on availability, affordability, effectiveness, and having a high smoke point, La Marmite recommends Sunflower oil. Whichever oil you choose, the important thing is to make sure you heat up your pan to that oil's smoke point. When the oil hits that smoke point, a chemical reaction occurs, bonding the oil to your pan to create a layer of natural seasoning.