I Cleaned My Cast Iron Skillet with One of Those Wacky Chain-Mail Scrubbers

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Elizabeth Stark)

My deep, abiding love for cooking in and cleaning my cast iron skillet is no secret. I’m a bit old-fashioned when it comes to maintaining a super-slick, no-stick finish on my pan: I clean it with oil and salt, rinse with water, heat it to dry, and slick it with a little oil before storing. Sure, it sounds like a lot of steps, but the whole process takes about three minutes and I enjoy every second of it.

So I was incredibly skeptical of a product that promised to make this task easier and faster. When Sir Scrubbington arrived in the mail, I set out to test it against my favorite method for speed and reliability.

(Image credit: Amazon)

What Is a Sir Scrubbington Scrubber?

Sir Scrubbington is a variation on the popular “chain-mail”-style scrubbers — that is a scrubber made from stainless steel rings linked together like the medieval-style armor. Unlike other scrubbers in this category, Sir Scrubbington’s chain-mail is wrapped around a squishy polymer core that is supposedly more gentle on your hand and the pan. It’s touted for being easy to clean (it can go in the dishwasher, although other chain-mail scrubbers can, too) and the fact that it will basically last forever.

(Image credit: Meghan Splawn)

The First Test: Cast Iron Pan

Because these chain-mail scrubbers were specifically designed for cleaning cast iron, I started with my beloved cast iron pan. I use my cast iron skillet daily for making bacon and eggs, cooking dinner, or baking desserts. I’ve been working on its cure for 12 years now — its not an heirloom yet, but I hope it will be one day.

The most abrasive thing I’ve ever used for scrubbing my cast iron is kosher salt, so I was incredibly nervous to scrub stainless steel on its surface. The first few times I used my Sir Scrubbington I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it — it easily cleaned stuck-on bits off the pan and the scrubber itself was easy to clean. But the third or fourth time, I started noticing some patches and wee flaking in the cure of my skillet. This immediately ended my Sir Scrubbington and cast iron skillet test — I wasn’t willing to ruin my cure, even for you, dear readers. I’m now also unwilling to try the other chain-mail scrubbers on the market. They just seem unnecessary and too risky!

Testing Everything Else

After I abandoned the scrubber for cast iron use, it sat on my sink for another week and I occasionally used it instead of a scour pad or sponge. Not surprisingly, Sir Scrubbington did an excellent job cleaning cobbler off a baking dish. Ditto for a stir-fry gone awry out of a stainless steel skillet. I loved that baked-on food didn’t stand a chance against this scrubber and the fact that I could easily throw it in the dishwasher for cleaning.

The Verdict

I’ll be sticking with my traditional salt and oil scrub for my beloved cast iron pan, but Sir Scrubbington has replaced steel wool scrubbers and scouring pads at my sink. I honestly love it for big messes at the sink. Because its made of stainless steel, it will last nearly forever (good thing, considering the price tag!) and that makes it feel like a sustainable replacement for those cleaning tools, too.

Have you tried a Sir Scrubbington? What did you think?