How to clean rusted cast iron pots?


I have a couple of cast iron pots that had sat outside at my Dad's that I would like to get the rust off/out of and be able to use; any suggestions?

  6 answers
  • DesertRose DesertRose on May 03, 2019

    Clean it well as you would any pot. It may take more than one cleaning, but it can be done. Then you need to seal it by rubbing shortening or lard all inside and out with a paper towel. Cover it lightly but completely. Put it in an oven at 250 Deg F for about an hour. That should do it. I have had to do mine many times over the years (I mostly use them in summer on the campfires and they get rusty sometimes over winter)

    • See 1 previous
    • DesertRose DesertRose on May 03, 2019

      You should be able to get them clean if it is just cosmetic rust. I have had really rusty ones too.

  • Sarah Sota Sarah Sota on May 03, 2019

    soak it in vinegar to remove the rust first. You could just soak a rag and cover pan.It takes about an hour and can be repeated if needed.

    • Lisa Lisa on May 03, 2019

      Thanks Sara! I will definitely be trying this first to see how much of the rust the vinegar can remove...fingers crossed!

  • Krafty Mrs.K Krafty Mrs.K on May 03, 2019

    Salt or Baking soda makes a good food safe scrub to remove the rust.

  • Janice Janice on May 03, 2019

    Hi Lisa, the steel wool DesertRose mentioned will work. Another idea is to get a steel brush attachment for your drill, if you have one. Use it to work away at the rust and gunk from the pots being outside. Once you get the rust off you can oil them lightly. I'm envisioning they may be too large to place in an oven, but that would be the ideal process. Otherwise, oil lightly and rub in very well and then rub away any excess oil with a soft cloth and use the pots in whatever way you envisioned. They will last a lifetime!

  • Kathy Gunter Law Kathy Gunter Law on May 03, 2019

    If it is really bad, use a wire brush to remove as much as possible. Then, coarse salt and a lemon cut in half. Use the lemon for the "sponge" and salt as a scrubbing agent. Rinse and wipe dry. Heat the oven to 350. Oil (with shortening) the pan on all surfaces. Put a drip pan below in the oven to catch any mess. Place the pan upside down on the rack above the pan. After an hour, turn off the oven. Remove pan once oven is completely cooled.

  • Hi Lisa - This is a great tutorial on how to clean, season, and care for cast iron skillets. Hope it helps! Hugs, Holly