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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.