How to Properly Clean and Care for a Cast Iron Bacon Press

A cast iron bacon press is a must-have tool for any bacon lover. It evenly flattens and crisps up bacon strips to absolute perfection. But like all cast iron cookware caring for a bacon press requires some special attention to keep it in top condition.

Cleaning and maintaining cast iron is different than other pots, pans, and cooking tools. It’s critical to clean it the right way to prevent damage. With the proper techniques, your press will develop a natural nonstick seasoning and last for decades.

In this guide, I’ll cover everything you need to know about cleaning and caring for a cast iron bacon press. Follow these steps and you’ll be cooking up perfect crispy bacon for years to come.

Why Cast Iron Bacon Presses Need Special Care

Cast iron bacon presses are made from, you guessed it, cast iron Cast iron has been valued for centuries as a durable, versatile, and natural cooking material But it does have some unique properties that require special treatment

  • Seasoning – Cast iron develops a natural nonstick coating called seasoning from polymerized oils This seasoning can be damaged by harsh cleaners,

  • Rust – Bare cast iron is prone to rust if not properly cared for. Food residue, moisture, and other factors can cause rust if left unchecked.

  • Porosity – The porous surface of cast iron will absorb flavors and odors if not promptly cleaned after cooking.

Following proper cleaning and storage methods prevents these issues and keeps the press in good shape.

Supplies Needed for Cleaning a Cast Iron Bacon Press

You likely already have most of the supplies needed to clean and care for a cast iron bacon press:

  • Hot water – The hotter the better for cleaning stuck-on grease and residue.

  • Mild dish soap (optional) – A small amount of gentle soap can be used for cleaning if needed.

  • A sturdy scrub brush or sponge – Help remove any stubborn stuck-on food bits.

  • Clean lint-free cloth or paper towels – For drying and applying oil.

  • Coarse kosher salt (optional) – An abrasive for scrubbing off residue.

  • Cooking oil – For re-seasoning and storage. Canola, vegetable, grapeseed, etc.

  • Paper bag or cloth – For storing the oiled press.

That’s all you need for cast iron cleaning greatness! Now let’s go over the step-by-step process.

How to Clean a Cast Iron Bacon Press After Use

Here are the steps to properly clean and care for your cast iron bacon press:

1. Cool the Press

After cooking, transfer the hot bacon press to a heat-safe surface. Allow it to cool slightly so that it’s warm but safe enough to handle comfortably with your hands.

2. Wipe Away Grease

While the press is still warm (not hot), wipe away any excess bacon grease with a paper towel or lint-free cloth. This prevents grease from getting sticky and removes some food residue.

3. Rinse With Hot Water

Rinse the entire press under very hot running water from the tap. Hot water alone will help release and wash away most remaining bacon bits and grease.

Give the press a good scrub with a sponge or brush while holding it under the hot water stream. Focus on any areas with visible stuck-on food residue.

4. Use Salt or Soap to Remove Stubborn Bits

If you spot any stubborn stuck-on food bits that hot water rinsing didn’t remove, sprinkle some coarse kosher salt directly onto those spots while the press is still warm and wet. Gently scrub the salty areas with your scrub brush.

For really persistent gunk, apply just a drop or two of mild soap directly onto those areas and scrub with your brush. Rinse all areas thoroughly.

5. Dry Immediately and Completely

As soon as cleaning is complete, dry the press thoroughly with clean paper towels or a lint-free cloth. This is important to prevent rust from moisture.

Make sure to wipe both sides and handles dry. Heat the press back up briefly to evaporate any lingering water drops if needed.

6. Apply a Very Thin Oil Coating

Once fully dried, use a paper towel or lint-free cloth to wipe a very thin layer of cooking oil over the entire press – both sides and handles. Any neutral oil like canola or vegetable oil works fine.

Only a thin sheen of oil is needed – wipe off any excess. This oil will help maintain the natural seasoning of your cast iron bacon press.

7. Store Properly Once Cooled and Oiled

After cooling completely, place the oiled bacon press inside a paper bag or wrap loosely in a cloth or towel. This prevents dust buildup and keeps the oil coating intact.

Never put away a cast iron bacon press while it’s still damp or wet. Always store fully dried and lightly oiled. Place in a dry spot, never nesting or stacking it inside other cookware.

And that’s it – follow this routine after each use and your cast iron bacon press will last a lifetime!

Cast Iron Bacon Press Cleaning Tips and Tricks

Keep these handy tips in mind when cleaning and caring for your bacon press:

  • Always use the gentlest approach possible when cleaning. Start with just hot water, and only use salt or soap for tough stuck-on spots when absolutely needed.

  • If soap is needed, just apply a drop directly onto the problem spot and scrub gently. Don’t submerge or soak the entire press in soapy water.

  • Chainmail scrubbers are perfect for removing stuck-on gunk without damaging the seasoning. Use gentle pressure.

  • For neglected presses with rust spots, scrub those spots gently with steel wool followed by a thin layer of oil to prevent redevelopment.

  • Salt acts as a natural gentle abrasive. Use coarse varieties like kosher salt and rub gently onto stuck-on residue.

  • Bacon fat left in the press too long can go rancid, leaving odors behind. Scrub with salt and re-season ASAP after use.

  • Always make sure your press is fully dried immediately after washing before oiling and storing. Even small moisture droplets can damage the iron.

  • After prolonged storage, wash with soap and water to remove any accumulated dust or residue before cooking with the press again.

Re-Seasoning a Cast Iron Bacon Press

If your bacon press becomes rusty, the seasoning wears away, or if a deep cleaning with soap is needed, you’ll want to re-season it. Since the press is made entirely of cast iron, the re-seasoning process is simple.

Here’s how to re-season a cast iron bacon press:

1. Scrub away any rust spots and old seasoning with steel wool if needed. Rinse and dry thoroughly.

2. Apply a thin, even layer of oil over the entire press – sides, bottom, handles, everywhere. Use a high smoke point neutral oil.

3. Place the oiled press upside down on a baking sheet lined with foil or a silicone mat. Put it in the oven.

4. Bake at 450°F for 1 hour. Turn off oven and let cool completely in the oven.

5. Repeat the oiling and baking process 2-3 more times to build up seasoning layers.

6. Once fully cooled after the final session, wipe off any excess oil. The press is ready to use!

Repeat this re-seasoning when the press seems neglected and tired. With proper care between uses, you shouldn’t need to re-season too often.

Storing a Cast Iron Bacon Press Long Term

For long-term storage between periods of heavy use, a few extra steps help keep the press in optimal shape:

  • Make sure the press is freshly cleaned, dried, and lightly oiled before storage.

  • Place paper towels between components like the press and handle if they detach.

  • Wrap the press very loosely in paper or cloth – tight wrapping can damage the seasoning.

  • Store in a cool, dry place. Avoid areas with high humidity.

  • Consider placing some rice in the storage bag/wrapping to absorb ambient moisture.

  • Always hand wash with soap before first use after prolonged storage to remove any dust or odors.

With proper care and storage, your investment in a quality cast iron bacon press will provide delicious breakfasts for life. Just be sure to treat it right! Follow these tips and you’ll have crispy bacon and happy taste buds every time.

Common Cast Iron Bacon Press Questions

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about cleaning and caring for cast iron bacon presses:

Can it go in the dishwasher?

No, never put a cast iron bacon press in the dishwasher! The harsh detergents will damage the seasoning. Hand washing is best.

How do you remove stuck-on food and grease?

Hot water rinse first. For stubborn spots, use coarse salt or chainmail as a gentle abrasive. Avoid abrasive scouring pads.

What oil should you season it with?

Any neutral high smoke point oil works for seasoning. Canola, vegetable, grapeseed, etc. Avoid olive oil which can leave a gummy residue.

How often does it need to be seasoned?

Only season again if the press seems dry or rusty. With proper care after each use, seasoning should only be needed every few years at most.

Can you use soap to clean it?

A small amount of mild soap is okay for tough spots but avoid submerging the entire press. Hot water and salt scrubbing is best for regular cleaning.

How do you get rust off a cast iron press?

Gently scrub any rust spots with steel wool until completely removed, then wash, dry thoroughly, and re-season the cookware.

Enjoy Perfectly Crispy Bacon with Your Cast Iron Press

Caring for a cast iron bacon press doesn’t need to be complicated or stressful. Simply remember these key tips:

  • Always start cleaning while press is still warm, not hot
  • Dry immediately and completely after rinsing
  • Apply just a thin layer of oil to the cookware surface after each use
  • Store in a dry spot once cooled and oiled

Follow this routine and your press will provide delicious crispy bacon for years of joyful breakfasts! So grab those bacon and eggs and start cooking!

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How do I clean my bacon press?

Easy to clean. Hand wash in warm, soapy water. Dry thoroughly and coat lightly with vegetable oil before storing. If there are signs of rust, simply re-season.

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