Removing Rust from an Iron Skillet

How do I clean a rusty iron skillet?

By James

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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October 18, 2010 Flag
0 found this helpful

My neighbor gave me a stack of cast iron cookware. They had been outdoors and were covered in rust. I knew I could get the rust off with white vinegar and baking soda. It works nicely.

Use enough baking soda to make a paste with the white vinegar and apply it to the rusty area. Leave until dry then apply a bit more white vinegar and use some elbow grease to get every bit of rust off. The cookware looked like new!


It does take some effort, but well worth the results. After cleaning the rust off, apply vegetable oil to wipe off the remainder of the rust and use some table salt to polish up the cast iron.

Source: My grandparents had told me how to clean cast iron more than thirty years ago.

By Monica from Cortez, CO

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May 26, 2010 Flag
0 found this helpful

How can I remove rust from cast iron skillet. My mom used to use sauerkraut, ever heard of such a thing?

Jeanine from NM


Removing Rust from an Iron Skillet

When mine would get rust I scrubbed it with dish soap and an S.O.S. Pad. Then rinsed it well. My mom would always put it on a HOT stove burner to dry. When it gets good and dry, it won't rust. At least ours didn't. Good luck. (wear mitts when handling the hot pan please) (11/08/2006)


By Ariela

Removing Rust from an Iron Skillet

I found a rusty, cast-iron skillet in the free box at a garage sale. I came home and scrubbed it with a brillo pad, rinsed it, dried it, and rubbed plain vegetable oil all over it, then wiped it clean with a paper towel. I heated it in the oven, when it cooled down, I oiled and wiped it again. I have had it for three years now and it has never rusted. (11/08/2006)

By Persnickety Paula

Removing Rust from an Iron Skillet

I even put my iron skillets in the dishwasher, which is a BIG no-no, and they are all right after I spray them with no-stick and heat them up. If the skillet is really bad, wash well, smear with vegetable oil or a solid shortening, and bake in an oven for a couple of hours on a low heat. I always use a no-stick spray for just about everything I cook and have very few problems. (11/08/2006)


By Margie

Removing Rust from an Iron Skillet

To clean the rust off either some vinegar and a steel pad or some lemon juice and salt. Once the rust is gone, you can heat and rub down with olive oil or try rubbing the skillet with a cut potato. This helps to prevent further rusting. If rust starts reappearing, rub down with the potato again. It does work but it's not a permanent fix, you need to redo periodically.

A really good product that works very well is lanolin. Over here, we have a product called lanogard that is excellent. It prevents rust on barbecue burners, motor mower exhausts and is great on cast iron. It makes it go almost black. I collect vintage mowers. Over 12 months, no rust on the mower exhaust even though it is subject to extreme heat. Apparently the lanolin penetrates deep into the pores of the steel, keeping rust out. CRC makes a lanolin based product called lanocote. I haven't used that though. The lanogard is a non solvent based so eco friendly. (11/09/2006)

By brent nz

Removing Rust from an Iron Skillet

I have to admit that I do love my cast iron skillets. when my grandmother gave me some, she told me to wash it real good just with hot water. Wipe off the excess water then put some grease on the bottom and sides and heat in the oven on 350 degrees F for about an hour, which will help season it (11/14/2006)

By Brenda from Texas

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