Asked on Aug 30, 2015

How to smooth bottom of used cast iron skillet

by Lynda
A friend gave me a second hand cast iron skillet she picked up at a garage sale. The bottom of the skillet is not smooth as it should be. I have a glass top stove which I am very careful with when using my other cast iron skillets. How do I go about smoothing out the bottom of second had skillet I received as to not scratch my glass top stove. thank you.
q how to smooth bottom of used cast iron skillet, cleaning tips, how to
  13 answers
  • DIANA DIANA on Aug 31, 2015
    coat the bottom with a coating of solid crisco turn upside down in hot oven and let stay infor 5 -6 hours
  • CG CG on Aug 31, 2015
    What tempature will be hot enough and what will happen to the unwanted coating? Will it melt off or flack off?
  • Elwanna Elwanna on Aug 31, 2015
    I was just told to put easy off on an iron skillet and put in a trash bag to let it sit. Would take all rust and gunk off down to the metal. Not sure this pertains to this situation though.
  • Becky Becky on Aug 31, 2015
    If you have a self cleaning oven, put the pan in upside down and hit the button. When its done, you should just have ash. If you have any rust spots, hit them lightly with some sand paper and reseason by coating it with a vegetable oil coated paper towel and then put it in a cold oven, upside down. Then set the oven for 250 and let it go for an hour or so., then let it cool.
  • Swan Road Designs Swan Road Designs on Aug 31, 2015
    I've been cooking with cast iron for about 50 years and some of my regularly-used pieces are over 100-years-old. Some were yard sale finds that were in atrocious condition but now are back to their rightful beauty and functionality. Your piece appears to be suffering from one of two conditions. Either corrosion from abuse, sitting out in the elements or mistreatment, or a build up of cooking crud...or a combination of both. You need to get down to the bare metal and start from scratch and there are several ways to achieve this. One way is to place the skillet in a self-cleaning oven on the longest "clean" cycle. The intense heat of the cleaning process will burn off any built-up material both on the outside and on the inside. This is good because it will allow you to begin with a clean slate to re-season the skillet. You will also learn if the pock-marked bottom is corrosion, which can be treated. If you don't have a self-cleaning oven or access to one, you can use your outdoor barbecue grill to achieve the same end. Just make sure the skillet gets as hot as you can get it for as long as you can keep it that way. No barbecue grill? Take it camping with you and bury it in your campfire and "cook" it in that inferno. However you do it, the goal is to heat it to as close to red hot as you can to burn off all "non-skillet" material. You WILL NOT hurt it. If the pitting on the bottom is truly corrosion, you can try to smooth it by using a wire wheel attachment on an electric drill, which will probably result in nothing more than flinging about tiny bits of wire from the brush. can take it to your local monument (grave stone) dealer and have them sandblast it. Heck, you can have them do the whole thing and forget about the oven, barbecue grill, campfire thing all together. At this point, it will be as smooth as it can be made and you will be able to determine if you can season it and use it on your cooktop.
  • Bonnie Bonnie on Aug 31, 2015
    why couldnt you use a sander? then buff it out?
  • Andrew Bell Andrew Bell on Aug 31, 2015
    I have restored many a cast iron garage find. Start by evening out the metal with an angle grinder to remove any major pits. The amount of metal that is removed is not a big deal. Then move on to smaller or finer pieces of sandpaper effectively polishing the bottom to make it smooth. Always remember to season both the inside and outside of cast iron
  • Sue c. Sue c. on Aug 31, 2015
    What wonderful answers! Now I know how to take care of the crud on my cast iron. Thanks Linda for asking the question:>
  • Nancy Skipper Nancy Skipper on Sep 01, 2015
    The easiest way is to put the skillet in a self cleaning oven and let it run the cleaning cycle. It will come out spanking brand new and you will need to re-season it which is done by generously greasing the skillet and put it in the oven on a low temperature for at least an hour, 200-25; then use it as normal,
  • Pam Walker Pam Walker on Sep 01, 2015
    Get a garbage bag. Place the skillet inside. Hold onto the handle & spray both sides (the entire thing) VERY HEAVILY with Oven Cleaner. Close & seal the bag VERY tightly. Let the bag sit outside for 3 or 4 days while the cleaner works (sunlight works best). Check on it after the 2nd day to see it working. Close & seal the bag again & wait. Once it's cleaned, just hand wash it with Dawn & hot water. If it needs it again, just repeat. Your pan should come out looking brand new. You will havta re-season it. The oven cleaner will eat off all the old gunk. Hope this helps. :)
  • JEWEL C JEWEL C on Sep 01, 2015
    My mom would build a wood fire in the yard with oak (hot and slow ) burning wood and put the cast iron in and it would come out clean inside and out. I don't recommend any chemical cleaners because cast iron is porous.
    • Becky Becky on Sep 01, 2015
      @JEWEL C Im with you! I suggested the self cleaning oven trick. Cast Iron is to delicate, giggle, for anything other that heat and oil.
  • Deb K Deb K on Oct 15, 2022

    Hi Lynda, hope this helps you out.

    1. Warm the pan. ...
    2. Sprinkle over generous amounts of baking soda on the bottom of the pan.
    3. Spray on some vinegar.
    4. The surface of the pan will start to fizz.
    5. Let it sit for a while.
    6. Scrub with a scourer until the black soot is removed.

  • Mogie Mogie on Oct 15, 2022

    Sanding or sand blasting.