How To Clean Cast Iron Camping Cookware

Here are instructions for how to clean cast iron camping cookware. Cast iron cookware is a great choice for camping. It is durable and it is not as hard to clean cast iron camping cookware as you may think. Many people avoid using it because they think cast iron is difficult to clean or that food will stick to it. However, if you keep the pan seasoned, it will have a natural “non-stick” coating and you do not have to worry about treating it carefully to avoid ruining the non-stick coating. Also, if you choose to cook on the campfire, these sturdy pans will not be harmed. Using things from around the campsite and your campfire makes cleaning the cookware easy.

Items Needed:

  • Sand or salt
  • Warm water
  • Cooling Oil
  1. Fill the cast iron cookware with water and leave on the fire to boil. The boiling will cause most of the stuck on food particles to come to the top making cleaning easier. Pour out the water and gunk. 
  2. Pour two to four tablespoons of sand or coarse salt into the cookware. Add enough oil to make a paste. Use the mixture to scour any remaining cooked on food. If the pan is hot, use a potholder to hold the pan and protect your hands by wiping the mixture on with a wad of damp paper towels. 
  3. Rinse with warm water. If necessary, use a scouring pad to remove more of the food particles. You only want to remove the food residue. It is ok for the cast iron cookware to feel oily to the touch. This means it is still seasoned.
  4. Coat the pan with a light layer of oil. Turn the pan upside down over the camping fire. You can use it to kill the fire before going to bed. Leave it overnight to replace the seasoning lost while it was being cleaned. 
  5. Coat the cast iron camping cookware lightly with cooking oil before using. Wipe it on with a paper towel to remove any ashes that are clinging to the inside.


  • Some say to never use soap on cast iron.  However, as long as you dry it well and season with oil when done, you should be fine. Soap removes the oils from the cast iron which allows the cookware to be non-stick. 
  • Bacon grease is another good choice to use to season cast iron camping cookware.
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