I've seen this a number of times (for example here, or here at cooking.SE), and I do it at home, but I'd like to know for what reason salt is good for cleaning (cast) iron cookware.

I know it's a stop-gap measure when a non-stick pan looses it's coating (I can't find the reference).

  • salt is a good cheap abrasive
    – Brendan
    Apr 7, 2013 at 16:20
  • Does this answer your question? cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/32802/… (It should if you're just asking about food safety.)
    – Cascabel
    Apr 7, 2013 at 16:31
  • @Jefromi, thanks for the link, but it's about science, not safety. Apr 7, 2013 at 16:57
  • But... the "science" is about cleaning it (so that it's safe) without damaging it.
    – Cascabel
    Apr 7, 2013 at 17:37
  • @Brendan It's really best to take the time to write an actual answer, rather than leaving one as a comment.
    – Cascabel
    Apr 7, 2013 at 18:06

1 Answer 1


The purpose for cleaning with salt is that it is an abrasive, and helps remove anything sticking to the pan, without being harsh enough to remove the seasoning.

Its not a stop-gap measure for poor seasoning; it is intended to preserve the seasoning. The main issue is avoiding soaps and detergents which would tend to remove the seasoning that makes cast iron fairly non-stick.

  • Stop-gap for non-stick pans, not seasoned cast iron ones. Apr 7, 2013 at 16:57
  • There is no benefit that I know of for non-stick pans, even if damaged.
    – SAJ14SAJ
    Apr 7, 2013 at 17:03
  • Someone claimed you should heat the non-stick with salt before each use after the coating becomes less effective. I can't find the reference, so... :-( Apr 7, 2013 at 17:05
  • :-) Here's a Q&A Apr 7, 2013 at 17:07
  • Its nonsense. Water doesn't wet PTFE. You actually want to minimize abrasion on the non-stick coating because once it is gone, the benefit to the pan is essentially gone. And the Q&A assertion is nonsense as well, as the answer indicated.
    – SAJ14SAJ
    Apr 7, 2013 at 17:07

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