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Rusty Cast Iron - is it trash???

dandan Posts: 57
edited 9:15AM in EggHead Forum
At my parents house they have several nice cast iron items in the basement. Couple skillets, muffin pans, dutch oven, etc. However, the items all have some rust on them, including in the cooking areas. They aren't completely rust covered, but there is some.[p]Can the items be cleaned some way to get rid of the rust? Or once rust has set in are they basically trash?[p]I'd like to try some of the Egg recipes that use cast iron pots, and thought I'd see first about resurrecting these old ones.[p]Thanks,


  • Dan.,
    i use a wire wheel on a grinder to remove the heavy rust followed by a good sanding with wet or dry sandpaper, the followed by brillo smooth you want the finish is up to's not really important to get a super smooth finish 'cause the oils you use to condtion the item will fill in the micro pores and you be as good as new...

  • GretlGretl Posts: 670
    Here's what I copied a quite a while ago; I can't give credit because I don't remember where I got it! Somewhere in Cyberspace. There's info about cleaning rusted cast iron cookware toward the end of the article:

    [p]Care for your Cast Iron Skillet[p]A well-seasoned cast-iron skillet requires little oil for cooking. That means it is up to the task of preparing light and healthy meals. The more you use a cast-iron skillet, the more non-stick the surface becomes. The reason is, cast-iron is porous and when it's heated, it absorbs some of the oil, protecting it against future moisture. When a cast-iron skillet is bought new, it must be seasoned before you can use it. That means, it must be cleaned, dried, oiled and heated. Follow the simple directions below for a well-seasoned skillet:[p]• Rinse under warm soapy water.
    • Dry skillet well.
    • Rub the skillet with a generous amount of oil.
    • Leave skillet on a burner turned to low heat for no less than an hour OR you can also bake it in a 350 degree oven for 2 hours.
    • Let skillet cool, then pour out any leftover oil.
    • Repeat this procedure several times before using the skillet.[p]Cast-iron will rust if not maintained properly.
    By following a few rules, your skillet should remain rust-free and ready for use for a very long time. Here's a few things you can do to keep your cast-iron skillet in tip-top shape:
    • Cast-iron should never be wet when not in use. NEVER put your cast-iron skillet in the dish washer.
    • Foods cooked in a cast-iron skillet could contain twice as much iron than they would cooked by other, non-stick skillets.
    • Rusted cast-iron CAN be saved!!! Scour the pan with steel wool and then scrub the pan with hot, soapy water then scour with steel wool again before drying. Don't forget to reseason as described above!
    • When finished cooking with pan, scrub the pan under hot water. Place on a warm burner for a few minutes to dry. When drying is done, drizzle some vegetable oil in it. Rub the oil over the inside ok skillet with a paper towel - make that skillet shine! Let skillet cool.
    • Cast-iron corrodes when acidic foods are added. If the skillet is well-seasoned, corrosion is not likely. Be sure to remove acidic foods from the skillet immediately when cooking is finished.[p]

  • Steve-BSteve-B Posts: 339
    I agree that after you get the rust off that they will be good as new. The only thing you need to do is to "season" the pans. You can find the method on the internet without a problem. A seasoned cast iron pan is the first non stick pan. We love using cast iron!!! Here is a link that shows care of cast iron:[p]

  • Dan.,
    Rusted cast iron is trash and the best thing you can do with it is send it to me post-paid and I will dispose of it properly for you. :-)[p]Kinsey

  • dandan Posts: 57
    Gretl,[p]Thanks so much to you all for the replies and great information! [p]The weather here in Nebraska is turning colder and a pot of chili cooked on the Egg sounds like a real treat. [p]Dan.[p]

  • Dan.,
    want a shortcut to cleaning your rusty pots, stick them in a self cleaning oven and clean your wifes oven, you'll be happy and the wife will think you did HER a favor....hehe
    it really knocks off everything but make sure you let them cool down before handling them.

  • GretlGretl Posts: 670
    The weather here's getting warmer. We think it's because of Joe Paterno's blood pressure.

  • Gretl,[p]85+ yesterday, currently 79.2 (@ 12:50), so, The cooking machine has Pork Spare Ribs, the flap meat cut off & rolled up like a strudel, a foil wrapped potato, and a Plantain cooking at 240 F.[p]JB Rye is sipping past my lips as I type, indoors at 71 F...[p](Repair workers, working on the 31 yr old roof, to fix restore)[p]Life is good.[p]Enjoy !
  • JulieJulie Posts: 133
    I tend to agree about the weather. Temperature in Sioux City, IA hasn't even gotten to 45 degrees. Even heard of a couple of snow flakes falling at the airport this morning. What a shock to the system since last week we had 85 degrees!

  • JeffJeff Posts: 75
    Dan.,[p]I found this posting a few weeks ago when searching for an answer to the same rust problem:[p]
    [p]Though there are many methods for cleaning rusty ovens, the one that we have found to be the easiest to use is a can of Coca-Cola. If the inside is rusty pour the Coke in and let it do it's job. Depending on how rusty the oven is will depend on how long you will need to leave the Coke on the rusty spot. If you have an issue with the outside of an oven use a sponge to apply the Cola, or place the cast iron in a large bowl or bucket with enough Coke to dissolve the rust (some rotating may be necessary). After rust is removed be sure to wash and reseason you cast iron.

  • djm5x9djm5x9 Posts: 1,342
    Dan:[p]This guy has some very helpful hints . . .

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