Can You Put Cast Iron in the Dishwasher? – Cleaning Guide

Discover why you should never put cast iron in the dishwasher with our essential cleaning guide. Learn how to maintain the nonstick surface of your cast iron cookware with plain water and nonabrasive sponges for long-lasting use.

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Are you wondering if you can put your cast iron cookware in the dishwasher?

If you’ve just bought a new cast iron skillet or used one for years, you’ll know they require special care to keep them in good condition. But Can You Put Cast Iron in the Dishwasher?

The answer is no. It would be best if you never put your cast iron cookware in the dishwasher. Cast iron is a porous material that can rust, warp, and discolor if exposed to too much water and detergent.

In this article, I’ll explain why you should never put cast iron in the dishwasher and how to clean and maintain your cast iron cookware. Keep reading to learn everything you need about caring for your cast iron cookware.

Can Cast Iron Pans Go In The Dishwasher?

Can You Put Cast Iron in The Dishwasher

No, cast iron pans should not be put in the dishwasher. The dishwasher can remove the seasoning on the pan and cause rust, and the detergent can strip the seasoning and expose the pan’s interior to moisture, which can lead to rust. Cast iron pans should be washed by hand with hot water and a stiff brush, and then dried thoroughly.

Why You Shouldn’t Put Cast Iron in the Dishwasher

1. Can Damage the Seasoning

One of the main reasons you shouldn’t put cast iron in the dishwasher is that it can damage the seasoning. The seasoning is a baked-on layer of oil that creates a non-stick surface on the pan. Dishwasher detergent can strip this protective layer off the pan, leaving it vulnerable to rust and making it more likely to stick.

2. Risk of Rust

Another reason you shouldn’t put cast iron in the dishwasher is the risk of rust. Cast iron is made of iron, which can rust when exposed to water and oxygen. The high heat and prolonged exposure to moisture in the dishwasher can accelerate rust formation and cause irreversible damage to your cast iron pan.

3. Soap and Water Can Be Enough

Washing your cast iron pan by hand with soap and water is an effective way to clean it without damaging the seasoning or causing rust. Simply use warm water and a sponge or brush to scrub away any food particles, rinse it thoroughly, dry it immediately, and store it in a dry place.

How to Clean Cast Iron Without Using the Dishwasher

If you’re looking for alternative ways to clean your cast iron pan without using the dishwasher, here are some effective methods:

1. Scrape off Food Residue

Before cleaning your cast iron pan, use a plastic spatula or wooden spoon to scrape off any food residue. Avoid using metal utensils that can scratch the seasoning.

2. Wash with Warm Water and a Soft Sponge

Next, wash your cast iron pan in warm water with a soft sponge or brush. Avoid using soap, as it can damage the seasoning. If necessary, you can use a small amount of mild dish soap, but be sure to rinse it off thoroughly.

3. Dry Thoroughly

After washing your cast iron pan, dry it thoroughly with a clean cloth or paper towel. Don’t let it air-dry or leave it sitting in water, as this can cause rust to form.

4. Re-Season the Cast Iron

To maintain the seasoning on your cast iron pan, you may need to re-season it from time to time. You can do this by applying a thin layer of oil to the pan and heating it in the oven at a high temperature for an hour or so. This will create a new polymerized protective layer on the pan.

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How to Restore Cast Iron That Has Been Put in the Dishwasher

If your cast iron pan has been put in the dishwasher and is now rusted, don’t worry – it’s not necessarily ruined. Here’s how you can restore it:

1. Remove Rust

First, remove as much rust as possible using a non-abrasive scrubber or pan scraper. You can also try soaking the pan in a solution of equal parts water and white vinegar for a few hours to help dissolve the rust.

2. Re-Season the Cast Iron

After removing the rust, you’ll need to re-season the cast iron pan to protect it from future rust formation. Follow the same steps for seasoning as mentioned above.

What Is The Best Way To Clean Cast Iron Pans

The best way to clean cast iron pans is by hand with warm water and a soft sponge or brush. Avoid using soap, as it can damage the seasoning. Dry the pan thoroughly after washing, and store it in a cool, dry place.

Additional Tips and Tricks

  • Use a coarse salt or chain-mail scrubber to remove stubborn food particles from your cast iron pan.
  • If you don’t have time to re-season your cast iron pan after every use, simply rub it lightly with cooking oil before storing it.
  • Don’t be afraid to use your cast iron pan on the stovetop or in the oven – it can handle high temperatures without warping or melting.
  • Always wait until your cast iron pan has cooled down before cleaning it to avoid cracking or warping.
  • Avoid using abrasive cleaning tools like steel wool or copper scrubbers, as they can scratch the seasoning and cause rust.


In conclusion, putting cast iron in the dishwasher is not recommended if you want to maintain its durability and versatility. Hand washing and proper care are key to keeping your cast iron in good condition. Avoid using soap and dishwasher detergent, which can damage the seasoning and cause rust formation.

By following these tips and tricks, you can keep your cast iron cookware in top shape for years to come. Cast iron may require a little extra care and maintenance, but its durability and versatility make it well worth the effort. So, next time you’re cooking with your cast iron pan, remember to give it the proper care it deserves.


Can I put my cast iron grates in the dishwasher?

No, it would be best if you did not put your cast iron grates in the dishwasher. Cast iron and steel grates are highly likely to rust when exposed to the dishwasher’s water and detergent. Stainless steel and porcelain enamel grates are safe to put in the dishwasher.

What to do if you accidentally wash a cast iron?

If you accidentally wash a cast iron, you can still save it. First, rinse the pan with hot water and dry it with a towel. Then, pour 1 cup of kosher salt into the still-warm skillet and use a paper towel or folded kitchen towel to scrub the pan with the salt until it appears clean. Rinse out the pan and dry it. If you want to use soap to clean your cast iron, it is okay to do so, but you will need to take a few extra steps to care for the pan so you don’t have any rusty regrets. Avoid putting cast iron in the dishwasher.

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Richard Charpentier is the CEO of Baking Innovation, a leading provider of baking solutions. He has over 20 years of experience in the baking industry and has been a driving force behind the company's success.