Last Updated on May 25, 2023 by Shari Mason
Brillo pads are abrasive scrubbers often used to clean pots and pans. Cast iron cookware is popular for many home cooks due to its durability and heating properties.
However, the question of whether a Brillo pad can be used on cast iron has been debated among cooks.
Some say the abrasiveness of the Brillo pad can strip away the seasoned surface of the cast iron, causing it to rust. On the other hand, others believe the scrubber can be effective in removing stubborn food residue.
So, really, can you use a Brillo pad on cast iron? Let’s find out.
Is It Safe To Use A Brillo Pad On Cast Iron?
Yes, you can use a Brillo Pad to clean cast iron . But it is not recommended as it can cause damage to the surface.
Cast iron cookware is known for its durability and versatility in the kitchen. It is prized for its heat retention and non-stick properties, which can be maintained through proper care and maintenance.
The steel wool in the Brillo pad can scratch the cast iron surface, removing the seasoning and creating a rough surface.
“Cast iron is so superior for cooking utensils to our modern aluminum that I not only cannot grieve for the pioneer hardship of cooking in iron over the hearth, but shall retire if necessary to the back yard with my two Dutch ovens, turning over all my aluminum cookers for airplanes with a secret delight.”– Majorie Kinnan Rawlings, American Writer
This can make it more challenging to cook with and clean in the future and lead to rusting.
Therefore, using a Brillo pad on cast iron is not considered safe.
Instead, it is recommended to use a stiff brush or scraper to remove any stuck-on food or debris from the surface of the cast iron.
A stubborn stain can be removed by boiling water in the pan or using a small amount of coarse salt to scrub the surface. But will you get sick from washing dishes with bleach?
How To Clean A Cast Iron
- Remove any stuck-on food: Use a plastic scraper or spatula to gently remove any food stuck to the surface of the cast iron.
- Rinse with hot water: Rinse the cast iron with hot water, avoiding soap and using a stiff brush to scrub away any remaining food particles.
- Dry thoroughly: Dry the cast iron thoroughly with a clean cloth or paper towel to prevent rust from forming.
- Re-season: If necessary, re-season the cast iron by brushing a thin layer of oil on the surface and heating it in the oven for about an hour at 350°F.
Alternatives To Brillo Pad For Cleaning Cast Iron
- Salt: Sprinkle coarse salt on the surface and use a stiff brush or scraper to scrub the cast iron. The salt helps to remove any stuck-on food and acts as an abrasive to help scrub away grime.
- Baking soda: Mix baking soda  with water to form a paste and scrub the cast iron’s surface. Rinse with water and dry thoroughly.
- Vinegar: Soak a cloth in vinegar and use it to clean the cast iron. The vinegar acid helps dissolve any rust or mineral buildup on the surface.
- Steel wool: Use a very fine grade of steel wool to scrub the cast iron’s surface gently. This can be a good option for removing rust or other stubborn buildups.
Tips On How To Maintain Cast Iron
- Avoid using soap: Soap can strip away the seasoning on the cast iron, so avoid using it and rinse the pan with hot water instead.
- Dry thoroughly: After cleaning, dry the cast iron thoroughly to prevent rust from forming. You can heat it on the stove or in the oven to help speed up the drying process.
- Re-season regularly: Re-seasoning the cast iron helps to maintain its non-stick properties and prevent rust. You can brush a thin layer of oil on the surface and heat it in the oven for about an hour at 350°F.
- Store properly: Store your cast iron in a dry place and protect it from moisture. You can also store it with a paper towel or cloth between the pan and the lid to help absorb any moisture.
- Use high heat: Cast iron is designed to be used at high temperatures, so don’t be afraid to use it on high heat. This will help to maintain the seasoning and prevent rust from forming.
- Avoid harsh chemicals: Avoid using harsh chemicals like bleach or acidic cleaners on the cast iron, as they can damage the seasoning and surface.
What is the best oil to season cast iron?
The best oil to season cast iron is one with a high smoke point, such as vegetable oil, canola oil, or flaxseed oil. These oils can withstand high temperatures without breaking down and creating harmful fumes, and they also provide an excellent non-stick surface for cooking.
Is it OK to use a scouring pad on cast iron?
No, it’s not recommended to use a scouring pad on cast iron as it can damage the seasoning and surface of the pan. Scouring pads are abrasive and can scratch the surface, making them more prone to rust and affecting their non-stick properties.
Using a Brillo pad on cast iron is possible, but it is not recommended. Brillo pads are abrasive and can scratch and damage the surface of the cast iron, which can affect its seasoning and non-stick properties.
To clean your cast iron, it is better to use alternative cleaning methods, such as salt, baking soda, vinegar, or a fine grade of steel wool.
By taking good care of your cast iron, you can ensure that it lasts for many years and continues to perform well in the kitchen.
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