How to Clean and Season a Cast Iron Skillet

Am I the only one who collects cast iron skillets and never uses them? I had this grand dream of collecting them, cleaning them, cooking with them, and having a beautiful display set up just for them. Well, over the past year I've found them at yard sales, thrift stores, and was gifted a few but all they've done was collect dust. I just didn't want to take the time to clean them. I guess I was too lazy and really didn't want to do all of the dirty work.
Now there are a few recipes I want to try out, so I decided that it was finally time for me to get my hands dirty (literally) and get to cleaning. Here is how to clean and season a cast iron skillet to get from old and rusty to the squeaky clean ones I have now.
I used cup of baking soda and a copper scouring pad to scrub off the rust. I added about cup of water to the skillet and kept scrubbing until the water turned really murky.
Make sure you use kitchen gloves when handling the scouring pad because you can get stuck. I constantly rinsed out the skillet while scrubbing. I kept scrubbing and rinsing until the water ran clear. I used a dry cloth to completely dry the skillet off.
Now comes the seasoning of the skillet. No, I don't mean adding salt and pepper. I mean oiling the skillet to prevent it from rusting. Some people use vegetable oil and some use bacon fat. I prefer to use extra virgin olive oil.
To see how I finish off the seasoning, please click the link below.

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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 of 8 questions
  • Peg29533088
    on Dec 10, 2017

    How can I save these great ideas?
  • Donna
    on Jan 3, 2018

    I had just bought a Lodge Cast Iron dutch oven, was able to use a couple of times only to have one of our cats per in the lid. I had it upside down on the pot.
    What is the best way to clean it so I don't have any smelly residue left in it?
    Please help
  • Sondra Salyers
    on Feb 2, 2018

    The inside seems to stay clear but the outside has build up on it. Is there any way to get that off?
    • PamPam
      on Oct 9, 2018

      Do you think I can clean cast iron skillets by putting them in my oven on the self cleaning cycle?

Join the conversation

2 of 158 comments
  • Malcolm Chapman
    on Jun 7, 2018

    I season my cast iron pan in my bbq .i get the charcoal really hot then rub the pan with vegetable oil and place it on the bbq and close the lid. I wait till the pan is black and shiny. Don’t put it in the oven as this fills your home with the smoking oil,

    Malcolm from the uk.

  • Kelly Hodsdon
    on Mar 22, 2019

    We used to use vegetable oil. The food kept sticking and then I asked my father-in-law what we were doing wrong. He told me to use lard! No more sticking!!! Thanks Dad!

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