Can You Wash A Cast Iron Skillet In The Dishwasher

When it comes to cast iron skillets, they are often treasured kitchen tools that can last for generations if properly cared for. One common question that arises among cast iron enthusiasts is whether it’s safe to wash a cast iron skillet in the dishwasher. In this article, we will delve into the dos and don’ts of cleaning your cast iron cookware, exploring the dishwasher’s potential impact on these durable kitchen companions.

The Legacy of Cast Iron Skillets

Cast iron skillets have a rich history that dates back centuries. They are renowned for their exceptional heat retention and even distribution, making them a favorite among chefs and home cooks alike. Before we jump into the dishwasher debate, let’s understand why cast iron skillets require special care.

The Care and Maintenance of Cast Iron Skillets

Seasoning: The Heart of Cast Iron Care

Before we discuss the dishwasher, it’s crucial to grasp the significance of seasoning. Seasoning is the process of applying a thin layer of oil to the skillet’s surface and heating it until it polymerizes. This creates a natural non-stick coating, protecting the skillet from rust and enhancing its performance.

Handwashing: The Traditional Approach

Traditionally, cast iron skillets are handwashed with minimal soap and hot water. Scrubbing with abrasive materials or using excessive soap can strip away the seasoning, leaving your skillet vulnerable to rust and food sticking.

The Dishwasher Dilemma

The Risks of Dishwashing Cast Iron

Dishwashers are designed to be efficient, but they can be harsh on certain materials, including cast iron. Here are some risks associated with putting your cast iron skillet in the dishwasher:

1. Harsh Detergents

Dishwashing detergents are often abrasive and can remove the seasoning on your cast iron skillet, leading to decreased non-stick performance.

2. High Water Temperatures

Dishwashers use hot water, which can also contribute to the breakdown of the seasoning and potentially cause warping of the skillet.

3. Rust Concerns

Moisture is the enemy of cast iron. If not dried thoroughly after a dishwasher cycle, your skillet may develop rust spots.

The Dishwasher-Friendly Cast Iron

While the conventional wisdom advises against using the dishwasher for cast iron, some modern cast iron skillets come with enamel coatings, making them more dishwasher-friendly. However, even with these skillets, it’s essential to exercise caution and check the manufacturer’s recommendations.

The Verdict

To Dishwasher or Not to Dishwasher?

In most cases, it’s best to avoid putting your cast iron skillet in the dishwasher. The potential risks to the seasoning and overall quality of your skillet outweigh the convenience of dishwasher cleaning. Stick to handwashing with minimal soap and gentle scrubbing to preserve the integrity of your cast iron cookware.


1. Can I use soap to clean my cast iron skillet?

Yes, you can use a small amount of mild dish soap when cleaning your cast iron skillet, but avoid using excessive amounts that can strip away the seasoning.

2. How do I remove rust from my cast iron skillet?

To remove rust, scrub the affected area with a scrub brush or steel wool, then re-season your skillet to prevent future rusting.

3. Can I put my enamel-coated cast iron skillet in the dishwasher?

Enamel-coated cast iron skillets are generally safe for dishwasher use, but it’s still recommended to check the manufacturer’s guidelines.

4. How often should I re-season my cast iron skillet?

Depending on usage, it’s a good practice to re-season your cast iron skillet every few months or when you notice a decline in its non-stick performance.

5. What’s the best oil for seasoning a cast iron skillet?

Vegetable oils like canola or flaxseed oil are commonly used for seasoning cast iron skillets. Make sure to follow a reliable seasoning method for the best results.


Your cast iron skillet can be a kitchen workhorse, but it requires some TLC to maintain its performance. While the dishwasher might seem like a convenient option, it’s safer to handwash your cast iron cookware to ensure it serves you well for years to come.

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