How To Clean Your Cast Iron Skillet And Other Specialty Kitchen Items

  • How To Clean Your Cast Iron Skillet And Other Specialty Kitchen Items

Making high-quality meals in our home kitchens has never been more important – or more possible. For those of us who cut back on restaurant visits, particularly early in the pandemic, learning professional-level cooking techniques may have been a new hobby, a way to relax after a long day of remote work, or just part of choosing a healthier, home-prepared meal over another takeout delivery. 

Whatever the reason, many of us have acquired a number of new kitchen gadgets over the past 18 months or so, each of which presents its own cleaning and maintenance challenges. Learning how to clean your specialty kitchen items in a safe, eco-friendly way can help them last longer while improving the safety of your home-cooked masterpieces. 

Cast Iron Pan

A cast iron pan is a kitchen workhorse that is nearly indestructible, provides outstanding value, and can cook everything from a perfectly done steak, to fried chicken, to even dutch baby pancakes or perfectly done pizza. However, cleaning a cast iron pan can be tricky, requiring a delicate technique to avoid disrupting the seasoning that gives cast iron its nonstick quality.

When cleaning a cast iron pan, conventional wisdom dictates that one should avoid the use of soaps or detergents that can disrupt the oil that provides the skillet its seasoning. Instead, traditionalists state that the pan should be cleaned only with abrasive kosher or sea salt, and that water should not be used during the cleaning process. However, it is fine to use some water and a brush to remove food and debris. This brush, specifically made for cast iron, is a good option, although any long-handled brush will suffice. Avoid the use of soap, which is designed to cut grease and may disrupt the seasoning.

When the pan is clean, wipe it completely dry with a clean cloth — if the pan is damp when stored, it may rust, requiring repair and re-seasoning. If the seasoning is starting to fade, re-apply a thin layer of vegetable shortening or cooking oil.

Soda Stream

For fans of sparkling water, countertop sparkling water makers are a game-changer. These devices reduce the waste and cost associated with single-use plastics or cans while providing on-demand sparkling water with the press of a button. 

However, cleaning these machines can be tricky. The bottles are not usually dishwasher safe, and ensuring that the water passing through them is clean, tastes and smells good, and is safe to drink is a top priority. 

For regular cleaning, pour a few drops of dishwashing liquid into the machine’s bottle, close the bottle, and shake vigorously. Empty and thoroughly rinse the bottle. To clean the machine, unplug it and detach the CO2 canister, and then use a warm, damp cloth to wipe the dust from the surfaces on the machine. Let the machine air dry before plugging it in again. 

If your soda maker’s bottles smell musty, adding lemon juice and water to the bottle, shaking vigorously, and let the bottle sit for about 10-15 minutes, before rinsing thoroughly and placing the bottle upside down to dry.

Bread Maker

One of the great early pandemic joys for many of us was learning to bake perfect loaves of homemade bread. However, over time, the breadmaker’s performance may decline because of burned residue being baked into fresh new loaves. Regularly cleaning your bread machine can ensure it stays at peak performance for a long time.

To clean your bread machine, first unplug it, and wait for it to completely cool to avoid burns and to allow still wet dough to dry completely. Then sweep dried material out using a small clean paintbrush or basting brush. A dry microfiber cloth can help to wipe out some of the more stubborn dried residue. A dry microfiber cloth can also be used to wipe off the heating elements, taking care not to bend any delicate structures. Avoid getting the heating elements or internal gears of the machine wet, as water can damage these structures.

The bread pan itself can be removed, and the inside washed with a warm, soapy cloth or sponge, and thoroughly dried before being placed back into the machine. Likewise, the kneading blade can be removed and washed with warm, soapy water, then rinsed and thoroughly dried before replacement. Ensure you lubricate the machine on a regular basis, consistent with the manufacturer’s instructions.

Instant Pot

The instant pot has been a game changer for home cooks. Versatile, easy-to-use, and with a small countertop footprint, this multitasking machine can take care of a seemingly endless list of kitchen tasks. However, it does require regular cleaning and care. Learning to keep your instant pot clean and sanitary will ensure it can be a workhorse for years to come.

Each time you use your instant pot, you should wash the dishwasher-safe inner pot and wipe down the housing unit. For occasional deeper cleaning, though, start with the silicone inner ring that provides an airtight seal against the rim. This ring can be removed, washed with gentle dish soap, rinsed, dried and replaced to ensure that you’re always getting a tight seal with the lid. If the ring is holding on to unpleasant odors, soaking the entire ring in vinegar can help to deodorize it. Alternatively, you can add 2 cups of water or white vinegar and some lemon rinds to the pot, and run the machine on the “steam” setting to clean and deodorize the silicone ring.

You can also remove the lid of your instant pot and wash it in warm, soapy water. While this type of cleaning isn’t needed every time you use the device, periodically deep cleaning the lid will help prevent the accumulation of residue that might keep your instant pot from functioning at its best. 

When the pot is disassembled, check the float valve and steam release handle for crumbs or other residue. These items can be cleaned with a microfiber cloth to remove any obstructions. 

Coffeemaker

The coffeemaker is the most frequently used — and frequently neglected — kitchen appliance in most homes. Cleaning your coffemaker isn’t just a matter of making your morning brew taste better, it can also improve your health. The warm, damp spaces inside your coffee machine are the perfect breeding environment for bacteria and mold. Mineral buildup from water deposits is less dangerous to health, but it can slow down your machine and shorten its lifespan. 

Luckily, cleaning your coffeemaker is a pretty straightforward job. Start by getting rid of any old coffee, and dumping the grounds out of the basket, then replacing the basket.

Fill the machine’s water reservoir with a mixture of ⅓ white vinegar and ⅔ hot water, and run the coffeemaker as normal. When the first cycle is complete, pour the mixture back into the tank, and repeat the process. The acidic vinegar will break down mold, bacteria, and mineral deposits without harming the delicate internal workings of your coffee machine. Finish the process by running at least two cycles with cold, fresh water to clear the vinegar mixture from any internal components.

The coffeepot and basket can both be removed and washed with warm, soapy water. If there are stubborn deposits that won’t lift with ordinary soap, create a paste with about half a cup of baking soda and some hot water, coat the inside of the coffee pot with the mixture and allow it to stand for about 10 minutes, and then scrub the pot as normal. The abrasive baking soda should help to break up any difficult spots. 

Sweeping Dimensions Can Take Your Kitchen To The Next Level

Want to make sure your kitchen is always ready to use? Need special service before your next big dinner party? Sweeping Dimensions is here to help!

At SDCS, we always make a sweeping effort to make life less stressful!

With a professionally trained and uniformed staff, all of our cleanings are fully customizable to meet your unique needs. We bring all of the cleaning supplies and equipment needed to clean your home, with a focus on green, environmentally sound cleaning products, perfect for your kitchen, bathroom, or any other area in your home that needs care.

We’re so confident that you’ll love our service that we offer the Sweeping Dimensions guarantee! If our cleaning services should ever fail to meet your expectations, you can call us within 24 hours of your cleaning and we will send out a supervised crew to correct anything that needs attention.

Ready to make your kitchen a show-stopper? Get in touch today for your free estimate!

2021-10-15T11:24:02+00:00 October 20th, 2021|Residential Cleaning|