Help to take the rust out of Cast Iron pots and pans from my mom's old set.

Have tried the vinegar thing - tried the Borax thing - no no avail - anybody got
some ideas -
  19 answers
  • Miriam Illions Miriam Illions on Jan 22, 2013
    @Metropolitan Organizing, LLC has some great cleaning tips.She might be able to help.
  • Sandra G Sandra G on Jan 22, 2013
    Thanx my dear will check on that - and comment later
  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Jan 23, 2013
    Secret? OIL, OIL, OIL!!!!! Iron cooking pots and skillets are my very favorite things! I adore them and regret very much giving away some of the ones I had because I did not understand them. Then my mother gave me some that were so "cured" that the inside bottoms of the skillets felt like velvet. Oil is the only thing you can do to clean/treat/and preserve ironware! No soap or water. Wipe down with dry paper towel or soak out foodstuff with newspaper. Scrub with salt and wipe with dry cloth or paper. Single edge razor blades should be kept handy to use as scrapers for difficult areas. Buildup of gunk on outside and along sides inside are part of the deal if you want this kind of cooking item. You have to clean these immediately before food hardens and do not leave cooked food in iron...take up immediately because the taste will be effected. I clean mine, and if it gets really dried out, I will rub it down with olive oil. Oil is the secret to these. They need to stay "cured" with oil. It can take many, many curing sessions (months/years) to get them in shape! I store mine in the oven...preferring to wipe them down and stick them back in the oven when it is hot but turned off. Get oven really hot, wipe down iron and put back in oven. These beasts are not pretty, but they are marvelous! I love mine! If you have to have pretty, stick with stainless!
  • Z Z on Jan 23, 2013
    I used to use cast iron skillets all the time. I miss them, but had to stop using them after an unrelated wrist injury. There are actually a few different ways to care for cast iron pans as I've found over the years, but this is the way I cared for mine. I clean them the same way the guys cleaned the grills when I worked at McDonald's when I was a teen only I use an inexpensive metal spatula where as they had some sort of bigger scraper. Immediately after I removed the food I toss in a little bit of tap water. This sizzles on the hot pan and loosens any burnt on food. Scrape the whole pan with the spatula until all particles are removed. Then took it to the sink to rinse it under the tap and wiped the excess moisture with a towel. I set it back on the hot burner, turning it off and letting the pan dry thoroughly while the burner cooled. You'll learn to sense when it needs re-seasoning. Here's more information from Real Simple that might help you with cleaning the rust off them.
  • Billie Billie on Jan 24, 2013
    I have always cured mine by pouring oil in the pan and cooking cornbread, when finished I throw away the cornbread and wipe the pan with paper towels., May need to do this a couple times if real bad. my large pot, I oil it good and then I put it in the oven after I have cooked the cornbread and turn off the oven , hope this helps
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Jan 24, 2013 I do about 95% of my cooking in cast iron. If the rust is deep you could have the pans sandblasted then re-season them. For minor rust you can season on top of it. ( I have old smaller dutch oven that had a orange hue to it, it still seasoned well.
  • Sandra G Sandra G on Jan 31, 2013
    Hey to KMS Woodworks - we are former Coloradoans - got married in Westminster 48 yrs. ago - loved going up to Nederland area- always were lookin for good breakfast places - my folks retired in Longmont way back - both are buried there - we did most of our cookin too in the cast iron pots - but as I said some have rusted thru the years - I love the networx article - goin to be workin on the pots this weekend - will keep in touch - when we come up that way would love to look you up...
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Feb 01, 2013
    Some good old fashioned Steel wool will do wonders for light "cosmetic" rust. Some folks will use oven cleaner for really nasty jobs.
  • Love Ly Love Ly on Mar 21, 2013
    @Billie, I'm new to cast-iron, maybe two months of use. I don't understand the cornbread baking and tossing out, you toss out the cornbread because of the oil and ruined flavor I assume; but why cornbread itself, flavor? Do you use a certain type of oil and how much?
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Mar 22, 2013
    @Love Ly wasting good cornbread is no fun...LOL. The key is to never use soap, and touch up the seasoning when needed. This depends on your cooking and eating habits. Until the pan is well seasoned certain food are more prone to sticking. Eggs is one. One of the best repeated uses that will help season a pan is making grilled cheese sandwiches. I use a touch of butter with mine, when your done cooking the sandwich leave the pan on the stove to cool, after a bit a you can just wipe it out with a paper towel. and handful of these and the pan will be well seasoned.
  • Karen T Karen T on Mar 28, 2013
    I have cooked with cast iron my whole life...I am 63 years old...I have an extensive collection...I have many pans that do feel like satin...although I would never consider using soap on them, once I am done cooking in them...I do put a small amount, (about a half inch or so) of water in them, set them on my wood cook stove, until they are steaming hot, then I use a soft dish brush to remove any food stuff left in them...rinse, put back on the wood stove to dry...if your pans get to dry, use a paper towel with oil, (I use olive oil, using butter for seasoning, can cause your pan to become rancid), vegetable oil works fine to...and completely coat them, lightly...I would NEVER entertain the idea of using an oven cleaner, it is highly toxic...if your pan should have any pits in it...however small they may will absorb this poisionous stuff!!!...I once saw on one of the chef shows, ( and chefs love cast iron more than anything) where they showed how to clean a cast iron pan by putting a layer of salt in it, no water, ...and brushing it around while it's heating...water is not going to hurt your cast iron...just don't forget to finish the process of brushing and drying and oiling...I have revitalized even pans that have been left out, and are starting to rust...I have a nieghbor guy who I do housework for and he always leaves them on the stove...and anything left in there will start the rusting process...if you do find cast iron that is completely rusted, fine sand blasting does work quite well, but of course you must start the whole curing process again...but, in my opionion, it is well worth it...Food for thought...never leave tomato products in your cast iron pan for to long after cooking...and did you was discovered, in the early 19th century I believe...that cooking with cast iron, definately gives you a healthy dose of iron...Happy cooking...Karen
  • Karen T Karen T on Mar 28, 2013
    This cookstove was in my house, when I bought it...I included it in my offer to purchase...
  • Karen T Karen T on Mar 28, 2013
    These are two cast iron pans I have cooked in since I was 5 years old:)
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Mar 28, 2013
    @Karen T the one picture on the right is that a 14" biggest skillet is only 12" ...I think in have pan envy.
  • Sandra G Sandra G on Mar 28, 2013
    Well by yumpin yiminy as us old Norvegians say - - Thank ya'all bunches for all your tips, and stories, and just your friendship - - - HomeTalk is the best isn't it - when I finally finish all of these old rusted pieces I will add a photo - but love hearin from ya all and just keep that fun stuff a comin wouldja now - "sandra" but betteryet Sandy Mae for short...
  • Billie Billie on Mar 29, 2013
    I put probably a 1/4 cup of oil in the pan, mind you the pan is rusty, so I don't want to eat the cornbread, until I have my pan seasoned, then it makes the best cornbread, if you allow the oil to heat up before pouring the cornbread mixture in, you will have the best crust EVER!!!!! Hope this explains.....anyother questions let me know
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Mar 29, 2013
    I preheat my skillets on the stove top before adding the corn bread mix...then bake in the oven...oh ya with a bit of butter and honey.
  • Karen T Karen T on Mar 29, 2013
    Actually, the one on the right is a 10 and 1/4 in., it is stamped Made in USA..No.7, 10 and 1/4 in...the other is an 8 inch...this is the cadillac of cast iron is called Wagner Ware...pronounced, Vagner Vare...I am quite sure Wagner Ware has it's origin in is stamped with the Wagner Ware name, and the initials DNEY...& -0-...I also have one called a Puritian..10 and 1/2 in...these I have cooked in since I was 5, my family had no use for they went throughly I consider myself lucky...I have another piece of Wager Ware...a beautiful round 12 an 1/2 in griddle...given to me by a friend who had a large antique business, and another Wagner 8 in...not sure how long I've had this, but it is stamped 1891...this one I've not used very much, and is not as seasoned as the one in the picture...can't remember when I got his one...interesting part about this 8 in., is it is stamped with seasoning instructions on the bottom...probably not as old as my does say, Made in USA...and to finish the collection although not Wagner...I have a 6 quart dutch oven, a 3qt. dutch oven, both with lids...and a long oval griddle, which fits perfectly on the cookstsove...and last but not least, I have a 12 in cast iron Wok...which has the steel wire type handle across it for brother says, he hasn't seen one like this since he was in Vietnam! there you have it, cast iron cookware heaven...the only problem is, it's hard to store them...the are quite heavy to get out of bottom cabinets...I usually stack the pans on the far right corner of my cookstove, from largest to smallest, upside down, I always keep them seasoned...My plan was to have mason put hooks in the rock wall behind the cookstove, when I finished restoring this 1800's home...but...still waiting....cast iron rocks!:):)Karen
  • Anne Hewitt Anne Hewitt on Jun 19, 2013
    Sandra, don't laugh. I just bought (really stole it) an old Wagner cast iron skillet at an auction. They really are the best! It was caked with rust, grime and showed years of use. This is what I do to bring it back to life: I stuck it in my self cleaning oven (upside down on a rack) this morning and ran the *clean* cycle on the oven. Once cool, I removed it and lathered it ALL OVER with Crisco shortening (whipped cream looking kind- for those younger). I probably used 30+ paper towels, but kept slathering the Crisco all over the skillet with paper towels until the towels showed almost no signs of rust. She's really pretty now and ready to use! This is a good tutorial on I I didn't use the brick, just stuck it on the oven rack. Good luck!
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