Can cast iron go in the dishwasher? (+5 cleaning tips)

In this article, we will answer the question “Can cast iron go in the dishwasher?”, and how to clean a cast-iron skillet?

Can cast iron go in the dishwasher?

No, cast iron cannot go in the dishwasher. The following 2 reasons explain why not.

It ruins the seasoning: The seasoning is what prevents the food from sticking to the surface of cast iron pans or skillets. A well-seasoned cast-iron skillet or pan will ensure even cooking without burning your food. 

The piercing water jets and the harsh detergents used in the dishwasher will strip this seasoning. To protect the seasoning, never put cast iron in the dishwasher.

It triggers rusting: Moisture is the worst enemy of cast iron. Iron rusts on prolonged exposure to moisture. The amount of water and the time the cast iron is held in the dishwasher is too much to handle. 

The heat dry setting of the dishwasher does not thoroughly dry the cast iron. If you want to protect your cast iron from rusting, you should never put it in the dishwasher. 

How do you fix a cast iron pan that has been in the dishwasher?

Is it rusted?

If yes, then start by removing the rust from the pan followed by seasoning it. Follow the steps below to scrub off the rust from the surface of the cast iron pan.

To loosen the rust, you have plenty of options. You can either scrub it off using salt or soak it in a solution of water and vinegar or water and baking soda.

Since the season has already been ruined, feel free to remove the rust using steel wool. After all the rust has been removed, rinse the pan. Wash it with hot soapy water followed by drying. Last but not the least, re-season your pan. 

How to season your cast iron pan?

Coat the pan with a thin layer of vegetable oil or shortening or use a paper towel soaked in oil to thoroughly rub oil all over the pan. Bake the pan in the oven for about 1 hour on low heat (350°F). 

Spread a piece of aluminum foil or baking paper below the oven rack to catch any oil drips. Remove the pan from the oven after 1 hour. Repeat this process 2-3 times If the pan is still not shiny and greasy enough.  Remove the surplus oil from the surface of the pan and voila, your pan is seasoned.

Is it dull grey, less shiny, or flaking?

This is also a sign that your pan has been completely or partially stripped of its seasoning. To replenish the seasoning, follow the method described above in the article. 

How to clean a cast-iron skillet?

The top 2 enemies of the cast iron seasoning are soap, steel wool, and the dishwasher. These should never be used to clean cast iron pans and skillets. 

If, however, you have damaged the seasoning, you can re-season your cast iron by the method described above in the article. 

  1. If the stuck-on food is too stubborn, you can soak the pan in warm water for a short time. But this is not recommended. 
  1. Your best bet is to use a sponge or stiff brush to remove all the stuck-on bits and pieces of the food. 
  1. If some of the food bits still don’t come off, scrub them off using kosher salt.  
  1. Dry your cast iron pan or skillet right after the rinsing. For this, you can heat it on the stove on low heat or wipe it with a towel.
  1. Then rub a thin layer of oil all over the cast iron surface. Remove the excess with a paper towel or cloth and you are good to go.

How to clean non-stick pans?

Just like cast iron pans and skillets, non-stick pans should not go in the dishwasher. Similarly, using steel wool or harsh detergents will damage the non-stick coating of these pans. 

The best way to clean a non-stick pan is to soak it in a water and vinegar solution. Bring this solution to a boil to loosen the stuck-on food bits. Then drain the liquid and wash the pan with soapy water and non-abrasive scrub. 

How to clean aluminum pots?

Never soak your aluminum pots in soapy water. Similarly, do not put the pots in the dishwasher. Ideally, you should use a steel-wool soap pad to remove the pesky food particles. 

In a pan, add 1 tbsp of cream of tartar for every quart of water. Place your discolored aluminum pan or pot in this concoction. Simmer until the dislocation disappears. 


In this article, we answered the question “Can cast iron go in the dishwasher?”, and how to clean a cast-iron skillet?


Hello, I'm Sana Ameer. I'm a student of Food Science and Technology at UVAS. I like to bake and I aspire to become a Food blogger.