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I have a rusted, dutch oven skillet. How do I clean and re-season it?
By Nikki Kiser from San Angelo, TX
If the rust is a bit deep get some sandpaper and try to remove it. After removal of the rust, clean it well with soap and water, then dry it. Brush some vegetable oil on it and heat in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Remove and let cool. Then reapply more oil and heat for another 30 minutes.
If the rust is only topical then you can rub it out using equal parts vegetable oil and salt. Then follow the instructions for the seasoning and heating from above. Good luck!
The care and cleaning of a cast iron pan is different than that of other types of cookware. This is a page about cleaning a cast iron pan.
This is a page about removing rust from cast iron. If your cast iron cookware is not properly seasoned or cleaned it can get rusty very quickly.
This is a page for seasoning a cast iron pan. Cast iron pans are durable and versatile for cooking. Proper seasoning and care of cast iron cookware makes your pans resistant to food sticking.
ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.
I have 3 old iron skillets that had belonged to my mother-in-law. We found them in a box after she passed away. They are very dirty and have rust on them. What is the correct way to remove the rust, clean the pans, then season them?
By Catherine Brown from Pickerington, OH
I have two that I use all the time. I seasoned them about 30 years ago by coating them with lard or Crisco, don't remember. I put them in the oven and heated. Over time, using them to fry bacon, sausage etc. will make them more seasoned.
Yesterday my husband fixed his own breakfast and put the frying pan in the sink, filled it with water and put a drop of dawn in it. Last night when we were doing the dishes, I noticed that inside the pan had rusted on the sides. I cleaned it up and fried sausage for breakfast this morning and it's going to be ok.
I wash them in the dish water but dry them immediately after washing. (09/10/2009)
There are 2 things that baffled me for a long time. How to clean the outside of a cast iron frying pan, and how to season after being washed. My mom said, "In Ala we put the frying pan in the fire." works like a charm to take away all the crud from outside. Just re-season by placing oil inside and leaving it in a 200 degree oven for 1/2 an hour or so.
If you can't put them in a fire, you can run them through a self cleaning oven cycle. Then season them by rubbing them with lard and baking them at a low temp for about 3 hours. (09/14/2009)
Once the skillets are seasoned, never wash with soap. The soap will just remove the "seasoning." (09/14/2009)
When I get old pans from yard sales etc, some are so dirty you cannot read everything on the bottom. I clean them with oven cleaner then re season with nonstick cooking spray. I have had no problems. I know oven cleaner may not be environmentally friendly, but neither is driving, so we pick our items we use. (09/14/2009)
The correct way to fix the pans is to clean the rust off with steel wool or some other metal scrubber. Wash thoroughly with soap and water. Then season them by applying a light layer of oil or lard over the entire surface area of the pan. Put in the oven at a low temperature for a long period of time. 250, 2 hours or similar. Never wash with soap again. (09/14/2009)
What is the proper care for a cast iron skillet? How do I "season" one? Do I coat them with oil then bake, and if so at what temp? Is it true that cast iron skillets should not be washed? Any advise would be greatly appreciated!
By Claudette from Kent, WA
I commented yesterday about cast iron:
My mother would never let me scrub an iron skillet. She said food would stick. Well, years later someone told me I could scrub all I wanted just don't use dish washing liquid. I've been washing with hot water and scrubbing if I have to. Then I dry with paper towel. I haven't had anything stick to mine and they are used all the time.
I season them with Crisco shortening. I take a spoonful and place on paper towel and rub into skillet. Place in 450 degree oven for 30 mins. I do this in the spring so I can open windows, because it smells like something burning. (07/08/2009)
I actually researched this a while ago for my job. I agree with washing. Here's what my notes say (based on the numerous websites I'd visited):
Hand wash in hot, soapy water
Cookware can be heated over a low setting to evaporate all moisture
To re-season, scour pan, rinse, dry, coat inside with unsalted fat. Leave in moderately heated oven for 2 hours. Remove and wipe away excess grease
Not for use with acidic foods, which could remove the seasoning (07/09/2009)
I always have to 're-google' the directions to season them, but I do know, from grandmother's grandmother, to only wash the iron skillet with hot water, NOT soap. (07/09/2009)
I grew up with my mother and grandmother using these types of pans and they always washed with hot sudsy water then seasoned them. (07/10/2009)
By Teresa Tart
I used cast iron for years, including my grandmother's frying pan. Heat the oven to 250 degrees, rub Crisco or lard on the inside and outside of the pan, heat for 20-30 minutes. After cooling, wipe off with a towel. After cooking or frying, and while the pan is still warm boil off any stuck on food, wash with light soapy water and rinse.
Place on a burner to dry using low heat. Don't forget it! Been there and done that! You shouldn't have to re- season after each use, if you are careful to clean the pan right away. Don't use heavy duty cleaners, a light coating of Pam or other spray on should help keep them seasoned. (07/10/2009)
I have been using this method for 35 years or more and in that time have only had to re-season my grandmother's cast iron cookware only twice. I responded to another request with detailed info. The link is: http://www.thriftyfun.com/tf14165358.tip.html (07/11/2009)
When I wash my skillet, I dry it with a paper towel then sit it on the burner until it gets really hot, that's about 4 to 5 minutes and my skillet never sticks. I can soft fry eggs and they come out the way they are suppose to. If your iron skillet gets rusty make a paste of salt and cooking oil.
I use one of those green cleaner pads in the same aisle as the brillo pads, don't use the wire pads. Anyway, take the paste of salt and cooking oil and dip your pad into it and scrub it really well, continue until all of the rust is gone then wash it with hot soapy water, rinse it out then add some shortening (not oil) with a paper towel, then put it into the oven set at about 350 degrees and leave it in there for about 10 to 15 minutes and turn off the oven. Leave it in there until the oven cools and you won't have any rust on it, and it will be as good as new. (07/12/2009)