Cleaning a Smelly Cast Iron Pot?

January 26, 2005

Old Smelly Cast Iron PotWhen 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.

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.

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.

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.

By Karen in SC (Guest Post)
January 26, 20050 found this helpful

I would try vinegar to clean it out, seems I had read that somewhere. Good Luck!

January 26, 20050 found this helpful

Try stuffing Newpapers in the pot. It will take odor out of other things, so maybe that will help.

Pat in GA

By john (Guest Post)
January 26, 20050 found this helpful

sure.. got a SELF clean oven? or a neighbor with one?
stick it in next time you have to run it, and let it cook in there.
take out, after it cools and wash real good and DRY..


reseason it, cause you just baked off ALL the old seasoning on it.

By Barbie (Guest Post)
January 26, 20050 found this helpful

January 27, 20050 found this helpful

have you tryed baking soda in a hot water bath,
or make a baking soda water mixute in the pan, bake it at 350, for 30-45 min.
then reseason it with good ole fashion lard..


January 27, 20050 found this helpful

Wow, the link Barbie shows for the cast iron cookware is great. And I'm glad I checked it out because they recommend to NOT put cast iron into a fire as I had suggested in my earlier post.


This hint is something I've heard from several people who swear by it, but after reading the warnings from the whatscookingamerica website, I will not consider doing it. Thanks Barbie!

By kathy (Guest Post)
January 28, 20050 found this helpful

I always season my pans with bacon fat, it usually overpowers any other odors.

By Fran Marieq (Guest Post)
January 30, 20050 found this helpful

Put it through a self-cleaning oven cycle. Be VERY careful to let it cool off before you remove it from the oven!

By Becki in Indiana (Guest Post)
February 2, 20050 found this helpful

vinegar is a great odor absorber -- I think I would boil some vinegar-water solution in the smelly pot and see if that helps. If you absolutely cannot get the smell out, you could at least still use the pot as a planter outdoors, where the smell won't be so noticeable!

By Eddie (Guest Post)
August 13, 20050 found this helpful

Use a spray-on oven cleaner. Leave it on for at least 30 minutes, and then wash it clean. Remember to season the pot afterwards, because the oven cleaner will remove all the fats and oils off the surface of the iron, leaving it vulnerable to rust.

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