How to properly clean a cast iron griddle

Cast iron griddles are a great item to have in one’s kitchen. They are usually reversible and can be used to prepare many meals. Usually, one side is smooth and used for scrambled eggs, grilled sandwiches or pancakes, and another ribbed side that can be used to grill vegetables and meat.
A cast iron is durable and convenient. It can be used for both indoors and outdoors cooking. It is usually easy to clean and maintain. However, in order to prevent rust from forming, proper maintenance is required. We will talk about ways in which you can properly maintain  your cast iron griddles. Fortunately for you, you will only need a few simple items from your pantry to do that.

N.B. Never place your cast iron griddle in an automatic dishwasher. Harsh detergent and chemicals, as well as excessive exposure to water may cause damage to the finish of the cast iron and cause rust.
Your cast iron can last you a lifetime if you properly maintain it. You should clean it after every use and make sure to remove any burnt food, spills and food residue. Season once or twice a year ( more often if you frequently use it).

We would like to show you how to clean your cast iron griddle after cooking and how to restore and season one when it is time. At the end of this article you can also see some tips on how to properly maintain your cast iron griddle clean in the long term.

Cleaning a cast iron griddle after cooking

It is important to keep in mind that along with regular cleaning, seasoning is also an important part of cast iron griddle maintenance. We suggest that you season your griddle every other time you use it until it has a thick layer of seasoning. Flaxseed oil is perfect for the job, especially if you often cook acidic foods in it. Using flaxseed will create a durable, smooth and chemical-resistant seasoning layer.

  1. Let the griddle cool down – Always allow your cast iron griddle to cool  down completely before you begin cleaning it. Do not put the hot griddle in hot water since the temperature change may cause cracks and damage the surface.
  2. Wipe away food particles – While the griddle is still warm, use a paper towel to wipe away any food residue, grease or drippings. If it’s stuck on, use a plastic scraper to remove it before wiping it away. Never use a metal scraper or steel wool since it may damage the surface of your griddle.
  3. Clean with soap and water – To finish the cleaning process, take a sponge and wet it in hot water. Add a couple of drops of dishwashing liquid and wipe the whole surface of the griddle. Make sure the sponge is non-abrasive and never use too much moisture or let your griddle soak in water.
  4. Rinse well – Rinse your griddle with hot water and dry it immediately after using a paper cloth or towel. Never leave the griddle to air dry – water left on it may cause rust.
  5. Season if needed – If you notice that food is getting stuck to the surface of your griddle, maybe it is time to reseason it. Always to that after washing and before storing it away. Use ½ or 1 teaspoon of any vegetable oil, apply it on your cast iron and use a paper towel to evenly spread it around. Rub it in until the cast iron is shiny. Heat the seasoned griddle at 150°C  and let it cool before storing away.
  6. Store the cast iron griddle correctly – Never store a griddle that is still damp. Make sure it is completely dry, especially if you don’t use it daily.

Restoring and seasoning a cast iron griddle

Vintage or mishandled cast iron griddles are often covered with rust. The good news is that they can easily be restored. The only time when you have to simply give up on your cast iron griddle is when the rust has weakened the body and has caused cracks, holes and other severe damages.

  1. Scrape the rust away – Take your griddle outside and remove the loose rust  from its surface. Use a plastic scraper or a stiff bristled nylon brush  to do that. Make sure you remove as much rust as possible, since it can stain clothes, concrete and other surfaces.
  2. Mix a rust-removing paste – In a small bowl mix 1 tablespoon of lemon juice with 1 cup of baking soda. Make a double dose if your griddle is bigger.
  3. Apply the paste – Use a small brush to apply the paste over the rusty areas, cover in plastic wrap and leave for at least 24 hours. The paste will cut through the rust and you will be able to scrub the residue away. Repeat if necessary.
  4. Season the griddle – Turn the oven on at 250°C. Use a paper towel to spread around one or two tablespoons of vegetable oil. Rub it in until the black is shiny. Place the seasoned griddle in the oven and bake for an hour. Allow the cast iron griddle to cool off before using or storing it away.

Tips on how to preserve the good condition of your cast iron griddle:

  • Make sure you clean is by hand after every use
  • Never clean it in the dishwasher
  • Season it regularly (at least twice a year)
  • Dry the pan after cleaning it to avoid rusting.
  • Cool your cast iron before cleaning or using it.