I have a cast iron wash pot that was my grandmother's. She used it to heat water for her laundry. The pot has a lot of rust on the outside of it. Is there a way to remove this?
I have been told to build a fire around it and that would removes the rust. Is this safe to do? I don't want to damage it. The pot is well over 100 years old. Thanks for any help.
Pat from Texarkana, TX
You can clean the rust with a mechanical method. You can buy a product made by 3M Co. and is available at automotive stores. It is called Scotch Brite. You can buy it in a sheet about the size of a 9 by 11 inch sheet and use it by hand or buy the product in a disc form with a back up pad to be used in a drill. The product is made from a nylon web and is impregnated with a grit similar to sandpaper. It is water proof so it can be used with water. (06/23/2008)
Just do a search for seasoning cast iron on this website. You will get lots of good information. (06/23/2008)
I got a cast iron griddle out of the "free" pile at a yard sale because it was full of rust. I scrubbed it with a Brillo pad, rinsed, dried, and then coated it with plain, old vegetable oil. It came out looking like new and I still use it to this day.
But, I also have some very old family cast iron skillets that the build-up on them is so bad that they are kind of bumpy. I know that no amount of scrubbing will clean them up, and I wouldn't want to take the risk of damaging them by using something as abrasive as a Brillo pad on them.
Just try rubbing some vegetable oil onto your grandmother's wash pot with a soft rag and see how it looks. I love my grandmother's cast iron skillet with all of its lumpy, bumpy build-up and wouldn't give it up for anything. Please share with everyone what technique you do use and tell us how it worked out for you.
Good luck, Paula (06/23/2008)
Removing Rust Stains:
Use Tang, Lemon Crystal Light or Lemonade Powder
First wet the pot, then take a some Tang or some instant powered Lemonade mix and sprinkle this on to the rust, now scrub it a bit with a scrubbie brush, or vegetable brush. Scrub just enough to mix it around, now leave it sit for about half an hour. Then sprinkle more Tang or Lemonade mix on and scrub again until the rust is gone. The rust should be all gone.
The Tang or Lemonade mix works because of the citric acid. You can always buy plain citric acid if you like. I've seen it sold at most "ethnic" type grocery stores, especially East Indian stores. It's super cheap and adds tang to fruit puddings and pies, if you like 'em a bit sour (like I do!).
This rust removal technique also works on rust stains inside the toilet, or bath and counter tops, also on cement floors, too. You can use it around pools (from metal pool furniture) or garages floors. I saw this tip on "Queen of Clean" TV show on DIY several years back. (06/23/2008)
To clean a cast iron pan or pot I put them into a self cleaning oven and they come out looking brand new. Then season as normal. This works for me. (06/28/2008)
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