Do you still love to use old-fashioned kitchenware like cast iron pans?
But the mess that results from following a recipe might have you thinking you should wash your cast iron pans in the dishwasher, even though you’re not sure if you should.
Then please, hold on to your horses.
You should avoid using the dishwasher with your pans and pots, specifically with anything made of cast iron. Aluminum, cast iron, and nonstick pans should never be put in the dishwasher.
If you do so, the cast iron would rust, and the nonstick sealant will deteriorate in the dishwasher.
Not only this, the aluminum will develop scratches and nicks.
Though we all take it as a pride to use our decisive grandparents’ cookware items and swear on their long-lasting, they are not meant for dishwashers.
Let’s find out why you can not put the cast iron in the dishwasher.
Why Can’t I Put Cast Iron In The Dishwasher?
Cast iron should not be put in the dishwasher for two main reasons:
- If you put them in, the dishwasher will gradually remove the seasoning from the pan, causing them to become extremely dull and dry
- When the seasoning comes off, your cast iron pans are prone to get rust which makes them nonstick and your food will get stuck in it
When you purchase a new cast iron pan, you first need to season them. There is no nonstick coaching on them and the finish is also not exfoliated.
If you don’t do this crucial step, you will end up sticking your food in the pan.
But if you do the proper seasoning, food will keep sliding out of the pan and it would be much easier for you to clean your pans.
To make your food not stick to it, oil should be greased into the pan before seasoning.
After that, bake your pan for an hour at a low temperature. Now, your pan is ready to use, once you have allowed it to cool and have removed any extra oil from its surface.
Imagine prepping your skillets this much before using them, just to peel them off because you accidentally put your skillets in the dishwasher?
Therefore, you must have to be extremely careful in this regard as your pans would lose their nonstick qualities and that food would stick to them like glue sticks to the things.
Also, the dishwasher’s detergents cause the polymerized oil to be completely removed from the surface.
Even though the seasoning is chemically bonded to the pan’s surface, these detergents contain extremely harsh chemicals that in hot and humid conditions, can react with the seasoning to slowly wash it away and break it down.
What Makes Dishwasher Soaps So Tough?
Dishwasher surfactants are so abrasive as a result of both their extreme alkalinity and the presence of additional ingredients such as chlorine bleach.
These bleaching agents cause your pans to become susceptible to rusting outside the washer as it removes the seasoning that normally protects the skillets from the rust.
Furthermore, the prolonged drying time in the washer causes more damage than good. Providing the ideal conditioner for rusting such as air and moisture, it gives the cast iron more time to corrode.
However, dishwashers may not always be the best method for completely drying the cooking ware, as after drying them a small amount of moisture may still be present on your de-seasoned pans, which cause rusting.
But that’s not the end of the world, you can still fix these problems by using the steps mentioned below to revive your mangled pan.
What To Do If You Do Put Cast Iron In The Dishwasher?
If you have accidentally put your cast iron pans in the dishwasher, you might be able to salvage them with a lot of effort.
However, the distinctive flavour and the protective coating that comes with cast iron may never return to your cast iron pans, which is unfortunate if it is a piece of history.
To save it from greater damage, the skillet needs to be scrubbed vigorously to completely remove the rust because it can quickly multiply.
The whole skillet shall be free from the rust. This step is the most time-consuming one, but also crucial. To complete this step effectively, you will need a lot of hard work with hot water.
Then, immediately carry out the steps for seasoning your skillet, as the seasoning will delay the process of rust build-up.
Your cast iron skillets are now ready for use, but make sure you never put them in the dishwasher again.
Cleaning A Cast Iron Skillet
Now when you get to know that you can not put your cast iron pans in the dishwasher, you might be wondering what is the right way to clean off those greasy stains.
Then there are many do’s and don’ts in it, but if you follow the guidelines mentioned below, your skillet will remain pristine, well-seasoned, and rust-free for a longer period.
At first, cast irons should never be cleaned with soaps, dishwashers, or steel wool. But don’t worry, if you have accidentally pulled off its seamless seasoning, you can always re-season the skillet.
Therefore, after using a skillet, it is crucial to get to the cleaning station right away before letting it dry.
Also, do not try to put your skillets in the water overnight as there are chances that your pans might get rust as a result of this. Instead, dive right in using a stiff brush or sponge and hot warm to clean them.
Additionally, you can use a paste of water and kosher salt if there are any stubborn stuck-on food bits left, as it would help you to rinse off the food residue.
Then after cleaning it thoroughly, use a towel or a low heat setting on the stove to dry your skillets.
After it, use a paper towel or a cloth to buff a thin coat of vegetable oil off the skillet’s interior. Now when you are done with the cleaning process, keep it in a cool and dry place.
Final Word on Putting Cast Iron in the Dishwasher
Cast iron pans are every household’s essential item that should be treated with due care.
Your cast iron can last for many generations and get better with use as long as you keep them clean.
Also, you should season them more often and keep them out of the dishwasher and soap to give them a healthy and long life.
And if by chance you have put them in the dishwasher, you will have to re-season them once again but the taste will not be the same.