By now, we’re all pretty aware that cleaning your cast iron pan with soap and water is fine and good, as long as you dry and re-season it promptly. But soap and water doesn’t always cut it, and sometimes you need a little extra help getting gunk off your pan, which is when I turn to plain ol’ aluminium foil.
Wadded up foil, along with hot water, is rough enough to scrape off stuck on food, but not so abrasive that it will strip off all of your seasoning. (Scrubbing with salt and a damp paper towel can also work, but I use foil on the truly stubborn stains.) It’s also great for removing rust—which, if you aren’t super vigilant, is something that can easily happen to cast iron.
As with any cast iron cleaning, the aftercare is extremely important. Never leave it soaking; dry the pan thoroughly after washing, then set it on a burner to let any last bit of moisture evaporate. Then rub it down with a few drops of oil, or give it a spray with a mist of oil. Buff away any excess, then return it to its rightful place in the kitchen.