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I just bought a new cast iron casserole pan that is only enameled on the outside. I tried seasoning it earlier today by pouring a tablespoon of flax seed oil on the inside and spreading it around with a paper towel. Sadly, I realized shortly after that the texture on the inside of the pan is quite coarse and it causes the paper towel to "shred" leaving very little pieces of paper behind everywhere around the pan. These pieces are obviously instantly soaked in oil and become quite hard to remove. It's almost impossible to do a good job at covering the whole pan in the oil because of this. Something similar happens when I use a kitchen towel, except rather than leaving pieces of paper behind, the coarse texture of the pan causes little "hairs" from the fabric of the towel to be left behind on every wipe.

I imagine I don't have to sand down a brand new pan just to get it to a point where I can season it properly, right? It's my first cast iron pan so any help is appreciated.

  • Why not use something less lint-prone, like a sponge? – Tetsujin May 30 at 17:30
  • @Tetsujin You mean a normal kitchen sponge, green on one side and yellow on the other? My idea was to apply the oil with a paper towel and then use a second towel to wipe all the oil off, leaving a very thing layer. Would this be possible with a sponge? – Charlie Shuffler May 30 at 17:42
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    @Tetsujin It's worth a shot, though I'm not sure if the sandpaper-like texture on the inside will be kind to a sponge. Better than nothing I guess. – Charlie Shuffler May 30 at 17:48
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    Cotton is not lint-free. Sponge [of almost any material, I don't mean to steal the posh organic one from next to the bath;) is. Basically, something not made of natural fibre is far more likely to be lint-free. Sponge just seems to be the one you're more likely to already have to hand in a kitchen. – Tetsujin May 30 at 17:53
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    My personal guess would be a toothbrush to scrub it in, then blot any excess out with a paper towel. – kitukwfyer May 30 at 19:08
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We have many comments, but I'm going to throw this in as an answer…

Your issue is lint, on a rough surface, so use something that is categorically lint-free.

A sponge. Any type.
A Moppet, the yellow side of a pan-scrub, anything.

It won't absorb quite so well as a cotton or paper towel & squeezing it out to mop the last bit might be a bit of a task, but it won't shed fluff all over the surface.

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  • Just use your fingers to spread the oil. It also is a moisturizer for you hands :-) – BlueMax Jun 5 at 15:28
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You can buy lint free rags at many stores, that should fix the problem. In the mean time, you can use an old shirt (still very small amounts of lint but I find it so little it doesn't matter). And yes, someone mentioned it, make sure you wipe out all excess oil before putting in the oven or you could find the seasoning chipping after time goes by. Slow and steady wins this race.

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