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How to Remove Rust From Cast Iron Skillet

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To own a cast iron skillet is to have superior heat retention, a long lifespan, and serious durability all in one easy to clean skillet. But without proper care, cast iron skillets can develop rust that could quickly ruin this otherwise nigh-indestructible kitchen tool. We’ll discuss how to remove rust from cast iron skillet with simple, straightforward steps and cleaning materials to save the life of your pan.

Six Steps to Remove Rust From Cast Iron Skillet With Ease

Sometimes, you may wonder, “Is rust on cast iron skillet ok?” Now, while a little rust on your skillet won’t ruin your pan, excessive rusting can cause pitting, which will destroy even the toughest cast iron over time. Our simple steps demonstrate how to remove rust from cast iron skillet with basic cleaning materials and the right techniques. But first, it’s helpful to know why does cast iron rust so this damage can be prevented.

Why Does Cast Iron Rust?

The most common culprit for a rusty cast iron skillet is almost always excessive moisture. These mistakes can lead to the development of rust on a cast iron pan:

  • Neglect: Years of disuse can allow moisture to set in, leading to pervasive rust.
  • Infrequent Maintenance: Incorrect or infrequent seasoning can expose cast iron to moisture that ultimately leads to rusting. Regular seasoning of a cast iron skillet provides it with the protective oil coating it needs to repel moisture and acid from food.
  • Improper Cleaning: Soaking a cast iron skillet in water can allow water to permeate the pan, paving the way for rust. After each use, rinse the pan under running water and scrub gently with mild dish soap and sponge. Dry completely with a clean dishcloth or paper towel.

Does vinegar remove rust from cast iron effectively? Yes, for rust damage that goes beyond the pan’s surface. For pervasive rusting, mix a solution of equal parts water and white vinegar and completely submerge the skillet. Check the pan hourly. As soon as the rust flakes off easily, remove the pan from the solution. Follow with these remaining steps for how to remove rust from cast iron skillet surface.

Step 1: Scour with Steel Wool

To clean a rusty cast iron skillet, begin with a steel wool pad. Rub the steel wool throughout the pan, including the exterior if necessary, until the raw cast iron is exposed.

how to remove rust from cast iron skillet

Step 2: Wash the Skillet

Rinse the skillet under warm running water. To get rust off cast iron skillet, scrub with a bristle brush or scouring pad and mild dish soap.

Step 3: Dry Thoroughly

Immediately after washing, dry the skillet completely with a clean cloth or dry paper towel.

Step 4: Coat the Pan With Oil

Pour a small amount of vegetable oil or other cooking oil in the pan. With a dry paper towel, rub the oil into the surface of the pan. Include the pan’s handle and exterior.

Step 5: Heat the Pan in the Oven

Position the cast iron skillet upside down on the oven’s top rack. On the bottom rack, place a sheet of aluminum foil or a foil-covered baking sheet to catch any dripping oil. Heat the cast iron pan in a 350°F oven. Turn the oven off after one hour.

Step 6: Allow the Pan to Cool and Store Properly

Allow the pan to cool completely in the oven. For cast iron rust prevention, store the skillet in a cool, dry place. If stacking your skillet with other pans, use a cloth or paper liner between each item to avoid damage.

Whether it’s how to remove rust from cast iron skillet or clean gas range grates, we can help preserve your kitchen workhorses. Call Service Care to address any kitchen appliance concern.


Toxey McDavid

Owner, Service Care

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