How can I clean the crud off my cast iron skillet? You can see that

I've scraped and scraped and made a mess.
q how can i clean the crud off my cast iron skillet you can see that, cleaning tips
  75 answers
  • Donna Shipley Donna Shipley on Apr 13, 2014
    When mine looked like that I placed it in a campfire and burned it clean, then seasoned it. I did this several times which was more than the skillet could take and after a few years of these treatments the skillet handle fell off :(
  • Louise Louise on Apr 13, 2014
    Ooooh, I don't want that to happen!
  • Patti Biggar Patti Biggar on Apr 13, 2014
    My dad did a similar thing with our iron skillets growing up. We had a burn barrel and he would put them in that to burn off the crud.
  • Debbie R Debbie R on Apr 13, 2014
    You can not fix this. Once you have a good finish on a cast iron pan, you want to leave it on there. Clean them right after you use them, but never scrape the finish off. It's best not to wash them in a dishwasher also. Do you know how to season a cast iron pan? If not I can help with that.
  • Lori J Lori J on Apr 13, 2014
    I have read that spraying them thoroughly with oven cleaner and the then sealing in a garbage bag for a couple of days will help.
  • Barb Rosen Barb Rosen on Apr 13, 2014
    I put them in the oven when I am doing the self-cleaning cycle.
  • Linda Stone Linda Stone on Apr 13, 2014
    Shouldn't scrape it off. I don't know if that's ruined or not. If I ever have anything stuck on mine, I add a little water and heat it up as I scrape with a spatula. Food comes off, but the black finish remains.
  • Louise Louise on Apr 13, 2014
    This one is still usable -- I use it several times a week -- but thought it should look better. If I season it, will it look any different? I never put it in the dishwasher, BTW. Not sure how to season it, so info would be great.
  • Darla Darla on Apr 13, 2014
    I put a little plain water in it and scrub with a plastic scrubbie, rinse and dry well, then put some salt in it to scrub with that. Sometimes the water will dissolve off gunk that you can't get off by scraping. After it's completely dry you will need to oil it again. It looks like you will be able to use it again. To season it, you just coat it with oil and heat it in the oven.
  • R.V.R. Farris R.V.R. Farris on Apr 13, 2014
    Facebook has a page devoted to Cast Iron restoring, here's the link-
  • Louise Louise on Apr 13, 2014
  • Annie Annie on Apr 13, 2014
    BEST site I've ever found for reconditioning & re-seasoning cast iron cookware
  • Joan Joan on Apr 13, 2014
    i love my cast iron cookware and have quite a few pieces. when i started gathering the cookware I didnt know how to clean it and i did a lot of silly things to it that i will never admit to. what i do now, though, is much better and lots easier-the problem with build up is almost always not having the right temp for cooking, so stuff sticks. if you see your food is sticking, use your wooden spoon to stir & scrape. after you've cooked and you've let the pan cool, you can use a thin plastic scrubber [i have a tupperware scraper[for about 40 years] that i use-being sure you pan is cool, empty all your waste and scrape run under water-no soap -rinse and dry. when dry spray lightly with Pam or a like product i wipe front and back w/a paper towel. it will look like shiny velvet and you will be able to use it, drain and wipe to clean it. less is more with cast iron. good luck joan
  • Lreg Lreg on Apr 13, 2014
    I would scrub my skillet with a steel wool pad. The SOS brand. Then I would wipe on some crisco, turn it upside down, place in oven and recure it according to website directions. I would not EVER put my skillet thru the self clean on my oven. I have skillets that my grandma used. Remember to NEVER use dawn dish washing detergent on your cast iron cookware.
  • Louise Louise on Apr 13, 2014
    I love the name of this site! I'll look at it now. Thanks.
    • Greta Swanson Greta Swanson on May 06, 2014
      @Louise If you are on Facebook look up a site called Hillbilly Cast iron Cooking. Trust me, I am on it. Some of the things posted on here you do not do! Go to the site or go to Lodge cast iron cookwares site.
  • Robin H Robin H on Apr 13, 2014
    Spray it with Easy Off Oven Cleaner, set it outside in the sun in a TIGHTLY wrapped trash bag for a couple days, then rinse it REALLY well. You will have to re-season it afterwards, but that should get everything off. OR, I've heard you can clean your cast iron thoroughly and then run it through the self-clean function on your stove/oven if you have one, but again you have to re-season. I "wash" mine with some plain water that I bring to a boil and then using a wooden spatula, scrape off any thick pieces of baked on stuff. Dump the 'dirty' boiled water out, then rinse with only water and do a mini-re-season on the stove top with shortening (lard really does work best for seasoning cast iron) and heat on high until it smokes, then turn off the heat and add another light coat of shortening. Hope one of those helps, or try here too
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    • Jay B Jay B on Apr 16, 2014
      @Robin H Actually, if you place any greasy messy pots or pans in a black plastic garbage bag, pour in a few cups of ammomia, tie and leave in the sun for a day or two, then rinse with a hose, all the gunk will slide off. Just be careful when opening the bag that you don't get a snout full of ammonia fumes.!
  • Louise Louise on Apr 13, 2014
    I love HomeTalk. I get so many great answers!!!
  • Kelley Kelley on Apr 13, 2014
    We clean ours by throwing them into a huge fire when we go camping, I have some handed down to me from my great grandma and I'm 63.
  • Louise Louise on Apr 13, 2014
    I'm not a camper, so won't work for me. :-)
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    • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Apr 15, 2014
      @Louise My dad used to build a fire in the back yard and cook the skillets to clean them for Mom. I inherited a couple from her and they were as smooth as satin inside...the outside we did not worry about. A fire pit made by digging a shallow hole and then placing stones around it will work. Be sure and keep an eye on it. At 73, I bet some of my skillets are about 100 years old!
  • Juanell Hollingsworth Juanell Hollingsworth on Apr 13, 2014
    If you can't build a fire and then put pan in coals then the next best thing is the self cleaning oven. To season then cover entire pan, inside and out, with unsalted oil or shortening.
  • Donna Shipley Donna Shipley on Apr 14, 2014
    I have read (haven't tried it yet) that sealing stove top grills in a plastic bag with a some ammonia and leaving it overnight softens burned on grease and it washes right off. The ammonia doesn't have to cover the object as the fumes do most of the work.
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    • Donna Shipley Donna Shipley on Jun 15, 2014
      @Barbara R Wow, glad I haven't tried it on my skillet. Works great on the burner grates. I won't use it on any cast iron cooking surfaces. Thanks.
  • Cindy tustin Cindy tustin on Apr 15, 2014
    at least once a year my skillets go into the ash of a brush fire. I fill each skillet with the ash and coals and push them into the coals. I am 66 yrs old and this is the method my grandmother showed me. I have skillets that are over a hundred yrs old and have always been cleaned this way. I have also used the ammonia for me doesn't clean like the fire. always season. I do recommend you check out web sites that tell you how to clean and care for cast iron.
  • Emily Moothart Emily Moothart on Apr 15, 2014
    If I have this happen, I boil water in the skillet to soften the crud. Then use steel wool to get everything removed. Usually have to reseason afterwards.
  • Lynne Lynne on Apr 15, 2014
    My husband uses his electric drill with a wire brush attachment. Fast and easy !
  • Kim Hudnall Richmond Kim Hudnall Richmond on Apr 26, 2014
    water and potato peelings.. or water and some apple peelings.. seer the peelings.. keep moving them in the skillet... then poor the water over... for a "deglaze" then boil a bit.. wash, dry properly, then reseason... one thing my grandmother and mother always said is to never ever use Brillo Pads/steel wool or anything harsh ...
  • Patty Patty on May 06, 2014
    My dad used to take my moms skillets outside and put lard or cooking oil in the skillets and set fire to them, then after they had cooled off mom would wash them dry them on the stove then coat them good with cooking oil and put them in the oven at 250 degree's for a couple of hours, and they were good for another five yrs. or so. I have one that is over a hundred yrs. old and I just season it every year, I have never had to burn it.
  • Barbara C Barbara C on Jun 03, 2014
    You never should use soap or Heaven forbid using a soap pad on cast iron.Will cause rust.My Grandmother would take the skillet outside and scour with sand,rinse with water, coat with lard and bake until real dry. Never any rust problem.Do not put in dishwasher!!!
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    • Irene Irene on Jun 29, 2014
      @Shirley Hendrix Weber i have always washed my cast iron with soap and water too. i don't like the idea of cooking in a skillet that hasn't been washed. i do the same as you shirley. when the skillet is dry and still hot i put a little olive oil in it and rib it all around and wipe off any excess oil and put it away. there is only problem i have had is with my old 8 in" skillet that is at least 100 years old. my mother in law gave it to me when i was first married and it was old then. that was about 60 years ago. it has a lot of crud on the out side. i keep thinking there must be a way to get it off but then again maybe it's a good thing to just leave it alone.
  • Marlene Wilson Marlene Wilson on Jun 03, 2014
    One thing that will take off rust is to cut a potato in half and use salt to scour the rust places .a friend of mine gave me a lid and that was how I cleaned it up then oil it and stick in oven.
    • Barbara R Barbara R on Jun 15, 2014
      @Marlene Wilson Put some kosher salt on that potato, it works wonders, cleans and leaves no aftertaste!
  • Sarah Johnson Sarah Johnson on Jun 15, 2014
    Burn it off, then keep it seasoned add oil and let cook in oven and when u wash it set it on the stove with burner on to dry it but be careful, also recently learned and tried it that save the ends of your onions when you cut one up and then use the onion ends to clean your grill top, make work on the cast iron too
  • Dena Adden Dena Adden on Jun 15, 2014
    Any thing I have burnt on I have put to soak with a Bounce dryer sheet, really hot water and dawn. Let it soak and then wipe it out with the dryer sheet and then wash as usual. May take a couple of attempts.
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    • Irene Irene on Jun 29, 2014
      @Lynda Chevalier not luck it has worked for me for at least 60 years.
  • Meem Kaplan Meem Kaplan on Jun 15, 2014
    Soap in non-stick pans or plastic beverage holders will do the same and it is an awful taste and smell to deal with. I am going to do the burn thing with my skillet as the outside of it is getting a bit thick... Thanks for sharing this and all suggestions!
    • Irene Irene on Jun 29, 2014
      @Meem Kaplan for dealing with bad smell just put some baking soda and water in whatever has the bad smell and let soak an hour or so. rinse well and the smell will be gone. i have always put my non stick skillets in the dish washer.
  • Mila S Mila S on Jun 16, 2014
    Sounds like your skillet needs to be scoured really good & then reseasoned. Instead of putting them in the oven, we put them in the BBk. That way your kitchen doesn't get all heated up.
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