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Help with cast iron question

cookn bikercookn biker Posts: 13,272
edited November -1 in EggHead Forum
One of my new/secondhand store bought cast iron, the pan, has a pretty good layer of real sticky old greese or oil on it. Any suggestions on how to get this off?
Thanks all,


  • FidelFidel Posts: 10,168
    Get it warm - not hot, but warm - on the stove top. Add a couple tablespoons of hot water and a couple tablespoons of salt to make a paste. Then use a folded paper towel or a scrub pad and get to work. Add more water or salt if needed.

    Lather, rinse, repeat, as it were.

    When done and clean you will most likely need to season it again.
  • Try mild detergent and a wash cloth
    Try 3M-brand Scotch-Brite pads or generic equivalent.
    Try steel wool
    If the area to be cleaned has hard caked on food, scraping with a old screwdriver or small scraper should remove most of it.
    Use sandblasting. This is done by rubbing the pan with either course sandpaper (80 grit), or by rubbing the pan with sand and aluminum foil to remove everything coating the cooking surfaces of the pan
    If during processes 1 through 5, you start to see shiny iron underneath, you will need to re-season the pan when finished. If the pan is clean, but you have not taken the pan down to bare metal, I recommend coating the area lightly with oil and cooking something greasy the next time you use it.

    Some people have had good luck cleaning off the worst layers by running it through the self-cleaning cycle of an oven
  • BENTEBENTE Posts: 8,337

    happy eggin


    Anderson S.C.

    "Life is too short to be diplomatic. A man's friends shouldn't mind what he does or says- and those who are not his friends, well, the hell with them. They don't count."

    Tyrus Raymond Cobb

  • AZRPAZRP Posts: 10,116
    So Molly, you've been dumpster diving again? :lol: -RP
  • cookn bikercookn biker Posts: 13,272
    Hehe, busted again...and you said at the fest that I would have a dutch oven soon. Oh wise one ;)
  • kernskerns Posts: 22
    Never, ever use detergent or soaps on cast iron. Not unles you want to taste them every time you use the vessel thereafter. Cast iron is sufficiently porous that it will trap and hold detergent or soap 'flavor' and that can be released even through several re-seasoning layers.

    I recovered several very old, supremely crusty Lodge cast iron pans by taking a wire wheel on a hand drill to the crusts, then scrubbing with plain wire pads holding lump salt (water softener salt nuggets) and then re-seasoning twice. My favorite Lodge #8 has been back in service for 10 years after that.

  • the no soap rule relates to washing/stripping off the hard-won fats and oils that are the hallmark of a nice seasoned pan.

    if you have an old gummy, rancid pan, detergent is ok, since you'll be obliterating the seasoning anyway and taking it to bare metal and restablishing the seasoning.

    it's not that the soap gets into crevices. the ur-mom yelled at us all not to use soap because it would strip the seasoned layer off.
  • Molly,

    If you don't see any rust, just old fat or food 'stuff' you can re season the CI.

    If you re-season in the egg keep the mass away from the gasket areas. CI close to the gasket at 450° for 30 minutes took my gasket out and that was after 40 cooks under 400°.

    If it is real bad and or rusty you could have it sandblasted.

    If re-seasoning in the oven, keep in mind it is going to smoke a lot.

    I go to the garden area put down a pile of lump and let it get good and hot, put the pan on the fire and re-season it there.

    Here is a link to the lodge products and caring for 'their' products. From first use to clening old ovens/skillets. Cast Iron is Cast Iron so this page will work. It gives some good tips. Mostly where the difference comes in is how thick and how well the CI is done. If using for actual Duth Oven cooking it is important to find an oven that has a very well fitting lid and somewhat smooth surface.

    It is pretty hard to ruin cast iron - other than breaking it.

  • cookn bikercookn biker Posts: 13,272
    Thanks for all the great tips! I scrubbed the shize out of all of them and will reseason tomorrow.
    My new large is getting fed 2 beer-can chickens and 4 fatties. The CI pots n pan will be put in the med to season.
    Life is great!
  • Molly,

    Be real careful when that much mass close to the felt area.

    I put a 16" DO in my large to season. It was so big I had to put the DO in at an angle. Part directly on the lump and the other side about 2" away for the gasket leaning against the fire ring. About 30 minutes and dome 450°, and I thought that would be a safe temp.

    There was about an 8" area of the gasket directly above the DO where the adhesive failed.

    Anyway, when done you will have a nice DO and some great cooks following.

  • Molly,

    I get all my cast iron at the thrift store.
    Everyone knows that cast iron is just old
    fashioned, heavy, and dirty junk. That is
    why I have a ginornmous collection of Wagner,
    Lodge, and Griswald stuff. All for cheap.

    Save yourself. Just give it to me and
    go pay lots of money for some good

  • cookn bikercookn biker Posts: 13,272
    A man,
    That is where I got these, actually up in Denver last weekend. My friend took me to a place on Monday and everything is half off. It was a set of four marked 17.95 and I paid half. What a bargin!
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