Q. Is it true that I can clean a dirty cast-iron skillet by putting it in the oven during the self-clean cycle?

A. The short answer is no. "For the general cleaning of a cast-iron pan, it's overkill to put your pan in the oven during a self-clean cycle," says Cindy Fisher, CR's cookware tester.

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Further, many manufacturers of cast-iron skillets don't recommend it. "The high heat melts the seasoning off the pan," says Mark Kelly, a representative for the cookware brand Lodge Cast Iron, talking about the oil baked into a cast-iron pan to help form a slick surface and prevent rust.

For everyday cleaning, rinse with water or use a paper towel to wipe your skillet clean. "For tougher messes," says Fisher, "add a little water to your pan and simmer for a minute." Or try gently scrubbing the skillet with coarse salt and a splash of water, then wipe dry.

For related information, check our cookware buying guide

Editor's Note: This article also appeared in the March 2018 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.