Can you use soap on cast iron?
How do you restore shine to copper?
Find out how to clean pans the right way—and what products to avoid.
Chances are, you don’t cook with just one type of pan.
This means you’re not just washing one type of pan either.
Each material has its own quirks for cleaning and care.
If you’ve ever been stuck on how to clean certain pans—you’ve come to the right place.
Find out the best cleaning methods for each one and what to do with those seriously burnt messes.
How to Clean Cast-Iron Pans
General Cleaning: Despite a common misconception, it’s okay to clean your cast iron with soap and water.
Gently hand wash after each use.
Here are some of our favorite products for cleaning cast iron.
Tough Stains: For stubborn residue, try the salt method.
Sprinkle coarse salt on the pan and then scrub with a brush or sponge.
The salt will work as a gentle abrasive to remove grime.
Then dump out the salt and wash the pan like normal.
Learn more about our favorite methods for cleaning cast iron.
Avoid: No matter how fickle the mess, try not to let cast iron soak in water for an extended period of time, as it will rust.
However, if your pan has rusted, there’s a simple way to restore cast iron like new.
How to Clean Stainless Steel Pans
General Cleaning: Wipe away any excess oil with a paper towel, then hand-wash with soap and water.
The dishwasher can damage your pan over time.
Use a nylon dish brush or soft sponge and towel dry immediately to avoid water spots.
Tough Stains: Fill the pan with a mixture of vinegar and water and bring to a boil.
Then scrape off stains with a wooden spoon or nylon dish brush.
Avoid: Steel wool pads or abrasive cleaners can scratch the surface of your stainless steel pan.
(Check out these other mistakes to avoid when using stainless steel pans.)
How to Clean Copper Pans
After using a copper pot allow it to cool completely; then wash with warm water, a soft sponge and gentle dish soap.
Tough Stains: Many cooks like their copper pots to have a natural patina.
If you prefer your copper looking shiny and new, here’s how to clean it:
Combine lemon juice (or vinegar) with baking soda and make a paste.
Cover the pot with the paste and buff with a soft cloth.
(You can also use ketchup!)
Avoid: Never use cleaners containing bleach to clean copper cookware.
Bleach is corrosive and will cause your copper pans to pit.