Can You Put Cast Iron In The Dishwasher? Best Practices

You finally splurged on that cast iron skillet you’ve been eyeing for years. Now you’re cooking up a storm, searing steaks, and cornbread with the best of them. But after a few uses, it’s time to clean. Can you put cast iron in the dishwasher?

You’ve heard conflicting advice on this. Some say the dishwasher will strip the seasoning and rust the pan. Others claim that it’s fine as long as you dry it right away.

However, the answer depends on a few factors. If you want to keep your skillet in tip-top shape for generations, read on to find out more. The results may surprise you!

Why You Shouldn’t Put Cast Iron in the Dishwasher

Here are a few reasons why you should avoid it:

Cast iron is porous.

This is because it can absorb the harsh chemicals in dishwasher detergent, which will strip the seasoning from your pan and leave it rusty. Once gone, you’ll have to re-season it again.

Heat can damage your cast iron.

The high heat from the drying cycle can also damage the cast iron, causing it to warp or crack. Cast iron should be hand dried to avoid this.

The hard stains might not wash away.

Dishwashers can leave spots and stains on cast iron that are hard to remove. It’s best to hand wash, dry, and re-season your pan after each use. This helps keep it clean and prevents stains.

The dishwasher might cause chipping.

The churning water in a dishwasher can lead to the chipping of your cast iron. Though nearly indestructible with proper care, cast iron isn’t immune to damage from rough treatment.

It might cause rusting.

Rust can form quickly on cast iron when left in a hot, humid dishwasher. Rust will ruin your pan’s non-stick patina and require re-seasoning to fix.

Hand washing, drying, and occasionally re-seasoning your cast iron cookware is the gentlest, most effective way to keep it in great shape for generations.

Avoid the dishwasher at all costs. Your pan will thank you!

How to Properly Clean Cast Iron Without a Dishwasher

Cast iron is a lot more delicate than it looks. Harsh dishwasher detergents and high heat can strip away the seasoning.

That natural non-stick patina builds up over time. Once it’s gone, you’ll have to re-season the entire pan.

Hand wash after every use.

The best way to clean cast iron is by hand with a stiff brush, hot water, and mild soap. Gently loosen any stuck bits, rinse well with water, and dry completely with a towel.

These are some additional tips on how to get grease off your pan.

Re-season if needed.

If your pan looks dull or rusty, it’s time for a quick re-seasoning. Coat it in oil and bake it upside down in an oven. This should be at 350 F for about an hour.

Let it cool before wiping away excess oil. Your pan will be good as new!

Avoid harsh chemicals.

Steer clear of harsh detergents like lemon or vinegar, which can strip the seasoning. Stick with mild dish soaps and hot water.

Dry thoroughly.

Water is the enemy of cast iron. Be sure to dry your pan completely after every wash to prevent rusting.

Keep cooking!

The best way to maintain your cast iron pan’s seasoning is to keep cooking.

Fried eggs, cornbread, bacon. Get cooking and keep building up those layers of seasoning after each wash. Regular use and proper care will make your pan naturally non-stick over time.

With some TLC, your cast iron pan can become a natural non-stick wonder.

Avoid the dishwasher, hand wash gently after each use, re-season when needed, and keep on cooking! Your cast iron will last a lifetime.

FAQ: Can You Put Cast Iron in the Dishwasher?

The short answer: No. You should not put cast iron cookware in the dishwasher.

Cast iron is durable but requires special care to maintain its seasoning and prevent rust. A dishwasher’s harsh detergents and heat can strip the seasoning and damage the pan.

Here are the key reasons:

The dishwasher detergent is too abrasive.

It will scrub away the layer of oil that forms a natural non-stick patina, called the seasoning, on cast iron. This seasoning gives cast iron its natural non-stick quality and prevents rusting.

Extreme heat can cause warping.

Cast iron pans are heavy, and the intense heat of a dishwasher can cause them to warp or bend out of shape over time with repeated washings.

Rust forms easily.

Once the seasoning is removed, cast iron is susceptible to rust. The damp, hot environment of a dishwasher accelerates rust formation.

Odors absorb into the pan.

The porous metal of cast iron will absorb strong smells from dishwasher detergent and transfer them to your food the next time you cook.

Instead, clean cast iron by hand:

Rinse the pan with hot water immediately after cooking while still warm. Deglaze the pan by adding water and using a wooden spoon to scrape up browned bits.

Scrub out the remaining stuck-on bits with a paste of coarse salt and water or a cast iron scrub brush.

Rinse with water and dry completely with a towel.

Apply a thin coat of oil like flax or vegetable oil to the entire pan, including the handle.

Store in a cool, dry place. Following these tips will keep your cast iron in great shape for generations. While it may require a bit more work, cast iron is worth the effort for its durability, heat retention, and natural non-stick quality.

Conclusion

Your cast iron can go in the dishwasher. But it depends on how much work you want to put in.

If you season and maintain your cast iron well and don’t mind hand washing, stick with that. But if you’re short on time, an occasional dishwasher cycle won’t ruin your pan.

You bought that cast iron because you want a nearly indestructible pan that will last a lifetime. If you give it a little love after washing, your cast iron will keep cooking no matter how you clean it.

Now get cooking – you’ve got some cast iron to break in!

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