I have been hearing about chainmail for cast iron for a few months now and decided to find out more. What is chainmail, and what do you do with it? Does it really work on cast iron, and how do you clean it when the bits of food get stuck in the chains? Which chainmail scrubber is best?
My review will be on the Lodge silicone and chainmail scrubbing pad. This scrubber is a favorite with many, though some people prefer chainmail that doesn’t have an insert.
Do you, my readers, already have an opinion? I would love to hear what you think. But for those who would like to know more, read on, and hopefully, this article will answer your questions.
A Lodge Silicone and Chainmail Scrubbing Pad Review
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Price: see Amazon
Length: 4.33 in
Height: 0.75 in
Width: 3 in
Volume: 0.03 qt
Weight: 5.4 oz
Made: in China
Great for: Heavy-duty cleaning
What is Chainmail?
Chainmail is a scrubber made from stainless steel rings linked together and looks kind of like medieval-style armor. Some are made only with chains, and some have a sponge-like core with the chain encircling them. And both types will last forever if taken care of and kept clean.
What Do You Do With Chainmail?
Since chainmail is a type of scrubber, you can guess people use it for cleaning, whether cast iron or other types of cookware. Everyone on occasion has baked-on food that they can’t easily get off. Chainmail:
- scrubs off stuck-on bits of food in your pan
- replaces steel wool or other scouring pads
- can replace salt for cast iron cleaning
Here is one way to use chainmail:
- Start with rinsing the pan in hot water to loosen up the food.
- Next, use a plastic scraper to get off as much food as you can.
- Leaving a little water in the pan, start scrubbing with the chainmail to get off the food that didn’t come off with the scraper.
- You can skip the scraper and only use chainmail, but that will mean more food stuck in the chains.
How Do You Clean Chainmail?
The food does get stuck in the chains, and getting it clean may not be as easy as rinsing it off. Here are what others say about how to clean chainmail:
- Drop it in a pot of hot water to soak.
- Soak it in soapy water overnight, then rinse.
- Put it in the dishwasher (chainmail is dishwasher safe).
- Pyrolytic cleaning (I guess that means you stick it in your self-cleaning oven).
- Never put it in the garbage disposal, lol (chainmail can survive it, but the disposal won’t get it clean)
Will Chainmail Strip the Seasoning Off Cast Iron?
No, chainmail will not strip the seasoning off cast iron. Places like Lodge Cast Iron make, sell, and recommend this product.
The benefits of using a Lodge Silicone and chainmail scrubbing pad are:
- The textured 304 stainless steel surface makes it ideal for heavy-duty cleaning.
- It’s easy to grip with its ergonomic silicone core.
- Using it on cast iron won’t remove the seasoning.
- This pad will last a lifetime.
People often refer to the silicone insert as a sponge, but it is more than a sponge. Besides compressing to keep the chains from scratching when you push down hard, it has hexagon-like holes inside to help the water run through it. And many people like it because you can grip it, and say it is easier to use than the chains only.
Questions Asked and Answered
Question: Will chainmail help with minor rust in my dutch oven due to boiling noodles?
Answer: It may help get the rust flakes off, but it won’t take care of your rust problem. To get rid of rust, you will need to reseason in the oven. Then, to keep rust from forming again, always clean, dry, and season your pan after each use.
Question: Can the sponge be replaced? What happens when it breaks down?
Answer: You cannot replace the sponge, but it’s not a sponge anyway; it’s a silicone rubber insert. The insert doesn’t break down and doesn’t show wear and tear. Just throw it in the dishwasher to clean.
Question: Will chainmail smooth out the crusty bumps on my griddle?
Answer: Probably not, but you can try. If that doesn’t work, it would be better to strip the skillet down with lye or Easy Off cleaner and start the seasoning process all over.
Question: Do I use the chainmail when the pan is hot?
Answer: You can, but it’s not necessary. The outside is stainless steel, and the insert is silicone and able to withstand up to 500°. Meaning you can use chainmail on hot or cold pans.
Question: Chainmail or brush and plastic scraper: which is better for daily cleaning and maintenance of cast iron?
Answer: It depends on the level of cleaning needed, but you can never go wrong with chainmail. I recommend a brush and plastic scraper for daily cleaning and chainmail for heavy-duty cleaning, but some also use chainmail for daily maintenance.
Customer Reviews for the Lodge Scrubbing Pad
The customer reviews were generally positive, saying the scrubbing pad works great, as intended, and is a must-have. The majority recommend having one though several people also thought you should use it only for stuck-on food. Buyers said:
- You should have this for your cast iron.
- Great if you have lots of cast iron.
- I wish I had known about this sooner.
- Easy to use and very effective.
- It’s far less stressful to clean my cast iron now.
- Fantastic at removing stuck-on food.
- I’m now enjoyuing using cast iron again.
- It’s worth the cost.
- Use this on all your cookware, even stoneware.
- Works great for cleaning the cast iron grill.
Those who were unhappy with this chainmail scrubber said they were disappointed that it was made in China when it came from an American company. A few thought the silicone insert was unnecessary or didn’t like how hard it was to clean. Not everyone thought it was worth the price they paid. People didn’t like that:
- It was made in China
- It was 314 stainless steel instead of 316 (The Lodge CI website says it is 304 stainless steel)
- The silicone center seemed unnecessary
- It didn’t get down into the edges of a pan
- The links weren’t smaller
Just for Fun
I first found this TikTok video posted on Reddit r/castiron. The chainmail jello cube is just for fun and not meant to use as a scrubber.
@steampunkgarageChainmaille Jelly Cube. 18swg 1/8” stainless rings. ##chainmail ##chainmaille ##fidgettoys ##squishy ##gelatinouscube ##dnd ##jellocube ##jellycube ##asmr♬ original sound – Steampunk Garage
I hope you have enjoyed reading this article about chainmail for cast iron. I wanted to tell you what it is, first of all, but also how and why to use it. Then, I reviewed one of the name-brand chainmail scrubbers to share with you some of its features and what others think about this particular one. Finally, and more broadly, what people like or don’t like about using chainmail.
The verdict: After my research and reading what others say about chainmail, and particularly the Lodge Silicone and Chainmail Scrubbing Pad, I am convinced to give it a try. I just ordered one on Amazon.
Please feel free to share any thoughts, ideas, or questions in the comment section below. And if you are convinced to start using chainmail, let me know that too!