Cast iron is our go-to for weeknight meals, comforting dinners and even some delightful desserts. These skillets are a staple in so many kitchens, not only because they’re great for even cooking but because they can really withstand a beating. No matter what you throw at a cast-iron skillet, it can probably handle it.
That’s not to say that these skillets don’t require care, though. Sometimes a cast-iron pan needs a bit of a refresh to get rid of burnt-on bits, sticky foods and even rust (yes, you can restore even the rustiest skillet!).
Since these pans are so heavy duty, they require cleaning tools that are a bit stronger than your average dish sponge. But what kind of scrubber is really best to get that skillet looking clean and ready to tackle tomorrow’s dinner? Our editors tested out plenty of products on their very own skillets. Here are their favorites.
The Best Scrubber to Clean Cast Iron (and More!): Scrub Mommy Dual-Sided Scrubber Sponge
Greasy, stuck-on food was no match for Scrub Mommy. Similar to the Shark Tank-famous Scrub Daddy, the Scrub Mommy sponge has a sponge side that becomes stiff and abrasive when wet with cold water and softens with hot water. It also has a soft sponge side to wipe away any remaining mess.
This combination gave all our burnt-on onions and garlic a one-two punch. The stiff, abrasive part of this scrubber was just the thing to pull up stuck-on food and really get rid of any leftover mess. The softer half of this tool helped dry the pan, making it ready to use again. After cleaning up with the Scrub Mommy, our editors’ pans looked like new and were ready to whip up some fabulous vintage recipes.
But we didn’t just love Scrub Mommy for its cleaning power (though, that’s reason enough). The sponge’s design makes gripping and cleaning easy and comfortable. And when the cleaning was all done, we could just toss the Scrub Mommy into the dishwasher for an easy clean-and-sanitize session.
And there’s more! After scrubbing up cast-iron pans and refreshing this sponge, we put it back to work cleaning tile, baseboards, cupboards and sinks. It’s a real kitchen superstar (just like the cast-iron pan!).
$14.94 for a pack of three; available at retailers nationwide.
More Great Tools for Cleaning Cast Iron
Scotch-Brite Stainless Steel Scrubbing Scouring Pad
If you have a big mess on your hands and need to re-season your cast-iron skillet, this tool will do the job right. This stainless steel scrubber really takes away all the mess and debris left behind by your messiest makes. And if you find yourself with a rusted pan, don’t throw it away—this scouring pad will help you restore it to its former glory.
In our tests, the Scotch-Brite pad got rid of all burnt-on foods, even bacon crumbles, and left a smooth surface behind. Because the steel is so abrasive, though, it can quickly go from cleaning to removing your seasoning, so be mindful as you clean, both for the sake of your pan and your hands.
The only drawback to this product is that it tends to unravel fairly quickly and might need replacing more often. These scouring pads are fairly inexpensive, though, so we don’t mind.
$5.24 for a pack of three; available at retailers nationwide.
Casabella Mesh Palm Scrubber
Need quick, hands-off cleanup? Try Casabella’s palm scrubber. The handle keeps your hands clear all that grease and grime while the stiff bristles brush away the mess. This scrubber really held up well to a lot of elbow grease, making it good for stubborn messes.
$5.50; available at retailers nationwide.
The Bottom Line
When it comes to everyday cleanup of your cast-iron pan, we couldn’t recommend the Scrub Mommy enough (though we liked Casabella’s palm scrubber, too). It’s a great tool for those epic messes. However, if you really need to start from scratch with your pan, a scouring pad like the one from Scotch-Brite is what you should be using.
Remember: Cast-iron pans are resilient! They can stand up to all kinds of scrubbers, sponges and cleaning tools. Just stay clear of harsh cleaners (mild dish soap is all you need).
Be sure to check out our other Best Loved Brands to keep your house feeling clean and fresh (and to keep your pantry stocked with the very best, too!).
Note: Every product is independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.