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Removing Rust from Cast Iron

If your cast iron cookware is not properly seasoned or cleaned it can get rusty very quickly. getting rid of the rust will allow you to start over seasoning and cooking with your cast iron. This is a guide about removing rust from cast iron.

Unseasoned Dutch Oven
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February 13, 2012 Flag
8 found this helpful

Seasoned Cast Iron PanIf cast iron is rusty, use steel pads to remove rust and wash in hot Dawn detergent really well. Dry cast iron. I use cooking oil to season the cast iron; using paper towel, rub oil generously onto cast iron, inside and outside. Place a heavy duty piece of foil on the shelf of the oven and turn thermostat to 350 degrees F. Place cast iron top side down and season for 1 hour. This will allow the excess oil to drain off the cast iron. Allow to cool and wash with warm water. No soap.

My first item cooked in my iron skillets, is a pan of cornbread. I place 2 tablespoons of oil into the skillet and heat to slightly smoking and pour the mix into the skillet and bake at 400 degrees F. It slides right out. No sticking.

By Grandma Ree from VA


July 23, 2005 Flag
2 found this helpful

We had several old iron cooking pots and pans, that had been left in storage for many years. They were rusty, and really corroded.

I put them in a plastic garbage bag, soaked a towel with ammonia, and left it tied in bag for several days (maybe 4 days.) As I took each one out to wash and clean, I left the others in the bag. They clean well with a little elbow "grease". They looked almost new.

I had a dutch oven, a huge skillet, a large pancake griddle, and several pans with handles. I used steel wool on some and scraped residue off with a knife, then washed and dried them. I used Crisco and rubbed each one with a paper towel. I set them in the oven for several days when not in use. They looked like new and would have been discarded as useless.

By Beulah

June 18, 2010 Flag
1 found this helpful

How do I remove rust from cast iron skillets?

By Terri from Medford, OR

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June 18, 20100 found this helpful

After you remove the rust, I assume you want to use this for cooking; you will have to go through the steps to 'season' skillet, once seasoned, Do not scour or wash with soap again. Treat it as a delicate cooking utensil and never put it away without wiping it lightly with an oil. [I give mine a light spray of Pam, then wipe almost dry, then cover with a sheet of wax paper to prevent dust from settling. ... w-to-season-a-cast-iron-skillet.html

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June 19, 20100 found this helpful

Cast iron pans can be cleaned with a homemade paste of course salt and cooking oil. Rub vigorously with a dry cloth or a plastic scrubber and do not use any water.

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October 18, 2010 Flag
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How do I clean a rusty iron skillet?

By James

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October 19, 20100 found this helpful

I just read this on another site today! It said to use a paste of salt and vegetable oil. If a skillet has been cured, which I assume yours has, the site also said never to use soap, because that will strip the oil "seasoning" from the surface of the skillet. I don't know how well the salt works, as I don't have a cast-iron skillet, but since I read this online today, I thought I'd share. Hope it helps!

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October 20, 20100 found this helpful

I heard on Martha Stewart's radio show on Sirius, that if you put an old cast iron pan into a campfire (I guess a bonfire would also work), it will burn off everything and leave the pan like new. You'll of course have to re-season it, but it's worth a shot. Great idea for cleaning old cast iron pans found in antique shops too that might need a good cleaning.

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October 20, 20100 found this helpful

First make a paste of baking soda and water. Rub over the rust and rinse. Repeat and allow the paste to dry. Scrub again, and make a new paste of baking soda and water. Scrub more rust off and pour baking soda on the rusty area. Use white vinegar and pour a small amount on the soda. Use only enough to cause it to bubble a little and allow to sit awhile (an hour or two). Follow up with a good scrub with more baking soda. Do this as many times as necessary to remove layers of rust. For the final rinse, use hot water and flame dry. Place vegetable oil in the hot pan and take off the burner. Pour table salt in the small amount of oil and scrub to polish the pan. The outside of the pan needs to be cleaned the same way as the inside. Wipe dry with paper towels.

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February 26, 20110 found this helpful

Put the skillet in the oven on a sheet of foil and run the oven cleaner. Then reseason.

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April 4, 2013 Flag
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How do I get rust out of cast iron pans and also off a cast iron lamb mold?

By mb

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April 4, 20130 found this helpful

Although it requires a lot of elbow grease, your best bet is to clean it with steel wool. Be sure to rinse well, dry completely and season your cast iron after cleaning.

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November 17, 20130 found this helpful

Cut a medium sized potato in half. Pour kosher or sea salt in your pan and rub with the potato, wiping clean with a paper towel, old shirt or rag. Add more salt until finished. Season immediately.

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February 16, 2010 Flag
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We use a cast iron pot filled with water on our wood stove for humidity. Rust has formed on the pot and I am not sure how to clean it. Any suggestions? Thank you.

By Patricia from Dansville, NY

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February 17, 20100 found this helpful

White vinegar will cut the rust. Clean well after using vinegar.

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February 18, 20100 found this helpful

Water and iron don't mix. to keep iron from rusting, you need to keep it oiled or greased. Dip a paper towel in some oil and rub the outside of the pot. after using a pot for a long time you get a build up on the bottom and side of the pot. Build a fire outside (you could use a grill) and set the pot in the fire to burn off excess build up. Just do this on the outside of the pot. Then after it cools, rub the inside and outside with oil. Oiling is the key. Vanessa

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February 20, 20100 found this helpful

Using water with cast iron is sure to cause rust! I believe that you could remove the rust from this pot if you follow the

instructions for cleaning a cast iron skillet.

Clean the rust away, grease the inside of the pot with crisco or another solid shortening, then place the pot in the oven on low heat for several hours. This usually re-seasons a skillet. It probably would re-season your pot.

There are instructions here on Thrifty Fun that are pretty detailed for skillets. You probably should chose another type container to keep the water in to provide the humidity. Maybe a tea kettle would work?

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February 21, 20100 found this helpful

Sprinkle salt in the pan and rub with a paper towel. Works like sandpaper.

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June 18, 2010 Flag
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Can you get rust off a cast iron pan and use it again?

February 16, 2010 Flag
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I have a cast iron wash pot that was my grandmother's. She used it to heat water for her laundry. The pot has a lot of rust on the outside of it. Is there a way to remove this?

I have been told to build a fire around it and that would removes the rust. Is this safe to do? I don't want to damage it. The pot is well over 100 years old. Thanks for any help.

Pat from Texarkana, TX


Removing Rust From Cast Iron

You can clean the rust with a mechanical method. You can buy a product made by 3M Co. and is available at automotive stores. It is called Scotch Brite. You can buy it in a sheet about the size of a 9 by 11 inch sheet and use it by hand or buy the product in a disc form with a back up pad to be used in a drill. The product is made from a nylon web and is impregnated with a grit similar to sandpaper. It is water proof so it can be used with water. (06/23/2008)

By Harry

Removing Rust From Cast Iron

Just do a search for seasoning cast iron on this website. You will get lots of good information. (06/23/2008)

By G R I T S

Removing Rust From Cast Iron

I got a cast iron griddle out of the "free" pile at a yard sale because it was full of rust. I scrubbed it with a Brillo pad, rinsed, dried, and then coated it with plain, old vegetable oil. It came out looking like new and I still use it to this day.

But, I also have some very old family cast iron skillets that the build-up on them is so bad that they are kind of bumpy. I know that no amount of scrubbing will clean them up, and I wouldn't want to take the risk of damaging them by using something as abrasive as a Brillo pad on them.

Just try rubbing some vegetable oil onto your grandmother's wash pot with a soft rag and see how it looks. I love my grandmother's cast iron skillet with all of its lumpy, bumpy build-up and wouldn't give it up for anything. Please share with everyone what technique you do use and tell us how it worked out for you.

Good luck, Paula (06/23/2008)

By Persnickety Paula

Removing Rust From Cast Iron

Removing Rust Stains:
Use Tang, Lemon Crystal Light or Lemonade Powder

First wet the pot, then take a some Tang or some instant powered Lemonade mix and sprinkle this on to the rust, now scrub it a bit with a scrubbie brush, or vegetable brush. Scrub just enough to mix it around, now leave it sit for about half an hour. Then sprinkle more Tang or Lemonade mix on and scrub again until the rust is gone. The rust should be all gone.

The Tang or Lemonade mix works because of the citric acid. You can always buy plain citric acid if you like. I've seen it sold at most "ethnic" type grocery stores, especially East Indian stores. It's super cheap and adds tang to fruit puddings and pies, if you like 'em a bit sour (like I do!).

This rust removal technique also works on rust stains inside the toilet, or bath and counter tops, also on cement floors, too. You can use it around pools (from metal pool furniture) or garages floors. I saw this tip on "Queen of Clean" TV show on DIY several years back. (06/23/2008)

By Cyinda

Removing Rust From Cast Iron

To clean a cast iron pan or pot I put them into a self cleaning oven and they come out looking brand new. Then season as normal. This works for me. (06/28/2008)

By Trina

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June 23, 2008 Flag
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Don't use fancy chemicals to clean rust off of your old cast iron. Simply dunk in a solution of half water and half plain vinegar.

By Connie

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