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Cleaning a Smelly Cast Iron Pot

Category Odors
Cast iron pots can pick up odors from the food you cook in them. This is a page about cleaning a smelly cast iron pot.


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January 26, 2005

When our mother passed away, we cleaned out her home, inside of the oven we found a cast iron pot in which she had fried fish and never got a chance to clean. It is a beautiful cast iron pot which I do not want to throw away but despite my efforts in cleaning, it will not shed the fishy smell. Do any of you thrifty readers know of a way to clean smelly cast iron. It had a top to it and was covered for who knows how long.



By Jannie (Guest Post)
January 26, 20050 found this helpful
Best Answer

Heat the skillet on the stove and sprinkle quite a bit of salt (preferably sea salt) in it and take a paper towel and scrub it, then wash and rinse.

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By kathy (Guest Post)
January 11, 20090 found this helpful
Best Answer

It probably will go away with the next cooking but who wants a fish smell with steak? I rinsed it out with water, dried on the stove top over heat, added vinegar, salt (lots) and baking soda (lots) to get a foam and let it simmer til dry and cooled. Then rinsed again with water, dried on stove top over heat, then oiled and heated again. I never put soap in my cast iron.

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July 12, 20090 found this helpful
Best Answer

Vinegar is good but make sure it is apple vinegar and use a 1 to 5 ration of vinegar to water, boil for a while, wipe it dry. Then a little more of the mixture. Use a paper towel to wipe it around and then a clean paper towel to dry it, never soap.

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January 26, 20050 found this helpful

Many people clean cast iron by plunging it into the coals of a fire and then leaving it for some time (1 hour?). I've never had the problem you mention, but this might be worth a try. Hopefully someone here will be able to recommend the length of time for this treatment.


On my own cast iron, the smell of the previously prepared dish will linger until I cook something else -- especially if I cook something with chili powder in it.

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