We stopped buying paper towels years ago. Never really needed them.
And since we were eating mostly vegetarian meals, we rarely had the dilemma of what to do with a greasy cast iron skillet. Now that we eat bacon occasionally, because we’ve reintroduced a little locally-produced organic meat now and then, we have to contend with the leftover grease. We’ve used a few rags on the grease and just wash the rags, but that isn’t the best use for the rag.
And then, one day a week or so ago, I posted a dozen lunch-bag size bags to give away in my local Buy Nothing group. (I save these little bags whenever they somehow make their way into our house, and the kids use them when they go on school field trips.) A member immediately posted a comment explaining that he uses those thin lunch bags to sop up his bacon grease. It was an “aha” moment for me.
Here’s what he wrote:
“If you have a new, or not-so-well-seasoned pan, a thicker bag will leave little micro fragments of paper. So generally, the smoother the pan and the finer quality of the bag, the better it works. Newspaper is completely unworkable because it’s such lo’grade.”
I decided to keep the bags, and now I have a small stash of little brown bags I can use to clean out my cast iron skillet when it gets a little too greasy. The thin bag is pretty darn absorbent.
I throw in a little Celtic sea salt to scrub the bottom of the pan with the crumpled up bag, and the salt acts as a perfect scrubbing agent.
No need to run soap and water over the well-seasoned skillet. And the pan is ready for its next job.
The greasy bag goes into our next fire as fire-starter or we just toss it in our compost.
Save those little bags for jobs like this!
9 thoughts on “Paper Bag Cast Iron Skillet Cleaner”
Thanks for the hint- Love my cast iron skillet
An important work-horse for every household.
Great Idea! My fiance is always looking for better ways to care for his baby, the cast iron skillet. Ha!
It’s funny how guys really love their cast iron. I let my husband do much of the “caring” for it.
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Exactly. I won’t go near it in case I somehow clean it wrong. I leave it all to him!
Great tip. Now I just need a cast iron… I’ve been seeking a second hand one forever
I’m new to using cast iron and am wondering if that’s all you do to “clean” it. I know not to use soap but I feel like there needs to be more than just scraping it out and wiping it with a cloth and then oiling it. Do you rinse or just wipe with the bag and salt and then, viola, you’re ready to go? Seems too easy and I worry about food residue. Also, have you heard of using ashes to clean cast iron?
Thanks for any help you more seasoned users can provide. [Yeah, I went there. 🙂 ]
Haha! Yes, I literally just wipe it out and then reuse it again, with the residue of the previous oil in there. I use it about 3x per day so the little bit of oil is just part of the next dish. If things get really caked on, then we use salt for scrubbing. Water and soap do so much damage to the patina of the iron, that you’d have to start over, seasoning it nearly every time. Hope this helps.
They’re out there. If you’re in a Buy Nothing group, just ask for one!