A cast-iron skillet on a table with a bowl of oil and a cleaning cloth
How To Clean Cast Iron Before Food Starts To Stick
The best way to clean a cast iron pan is while the pan is still hot. Gently scraping it while running it under hot water should prevent any stuck bits.
A small amount of soap is permissible for the job — just don't go overboard. If there is still some pesky stuck debris, add some water to the pan, then simmer it over low heat.
The iron surface may look smooth, but it's filled with many micro indentations. An oil seasoning is vital to coat the chiseled surface so no food gets lodged in the surface.
It's important to keep it hot during cooking and cleaning because once the oil cools down, it becomes thick, gooey and hard to clean.
Never place the hot pan in cold water since it could cause cracks in the iron. Rinse shortly after cooking and your pan will last for many subsequent uses.