How to Clean a Rusty Cast Iron Skillet With Salt

Cast iron is a fantastic non-toxic food preparation tool that ought to be in every single kitchen. Cast iron skillets are kind of kitchen super heroes. They can be used for cakes, nachos, chickens and a lot more. The iron skillet is however susceptible to rust and when this happens, people yearn to know how to clean a rusty cast iron skillet.

Every once in awhile, our precious cast iron skillet gets ignored. Failure to re-season and clean adequately can result in one rusty cast iron skillet - and no-one would like to prepare food with rust. Before you decide to throw out your skillet, there's still hope to get rid of rust. As opposed to non-stick pans, cast iron was designed to last forever - regardless of whether rust takes hold. Making use of the following simple measures from us at The Home Engine, you'll be able to salvage your skillet and get back to cooking.

How to Clean a Rusty Cast Iron Skillet With Salt

How to Clean a Rusty Cast Iron Skillet With Salt

How To Restore a Rusty Cast Iron Skillet

Materials needed

  1. Coarse salt
  2. Oil (Vegetable Oil)
  3. 1 Potato

Thoroughly clean the skillet with water and soap. In my very humble opinion, this is probably the last time your skillet should need soap. Once you are done, use a clean towel to properly dry it


When it is dry, sprinkle a generous quantity of coarse salt into the skillet. I made use of about a half cup to start for my 12? skillet, and added more as required.


Cut the potato into two making sure that one half very easily fits in the palm of your hand.


Position the potato, flat side down, onto the pan and scrub, quite intensely, in a circular motion. (Potatoes have oxalic acid which is actually a natural rust remover. Steel wool can also be used). The salt will get very dirty in a short time. Dependent upon the condition of the skillet, you might want to rinse out the dirty salt and restart the whole process with clean salt.


When the skillet is clean, rinse with water and dab with a clean towel to dry it. Put the pan on the stove over minimal heat for a minute or more to help dry out any remaining moisture content.


As soon as it is dry, put a modest amount of vegetable oil (or any cooking oil of your choice) into the skillet and spread uniformly using a paper towel to ensure that the entire thing is covered in a thin coating. When oiling, do not forget the base and handle. Use only a little bit in order to avoid a sticky surface.


Put the cast iron upside down on the top rack of your oven. make sure that you put a sheet of aluminum foil or a foil-lined baking sheet on the bottom rack to capture any oil drips. Heat the cast iron for one hour at 350°F. (note: this will likely produce some smoke inside your kitchen. Ensure that you switch on your vent hood and possibly open a window to help. Try not to do this if there is any asthmatic person in the house or someone with other forms of allergy. Wait till they're out of the house.)

Turn off heat, let the cast iron cool. Once your skillet has cooled, wipe off any remaining oil and you're ready to go.

How To Clean a Cast Iron Pan After Use

How To Clean a Cast Iron Pan After Use

When you are done with your skillet, you can just allow the pan cool a little bit and after that wipe out any left over oil by using a paper towel. That is right – there is no reason to scrub, rinse or wash the skillet with soap and water. Under no circumstances should you soak your cast iron or put it in the dishwasher!

Sometimes, the cooking process might leave some stuck on food that simply cannot be removed by mild cleaning. If that's the case, rinse out the skillet under water and carefully scrub it using a soap-free brush.

Lodge even makes a handy little chainmail wire scrubber specifically made for cleaning cast iron

If you must clean cast iron with water you will certainly need to thoroughly dry your skillet and after that quickly re-season it. This is as easy as putting a bit of oil into the pan and placing it on a warm burner for about 10 minutes or if your oven is still warm/hot from cooking, put it in there after adding some oil and let it stay until the oven cools down.

Cast Iron Skillet Rust Prevention

Cast iron is usually susceptible to rusting if it is stored incorrectly or put away prior to it being completely dried out. Certain climates (coastal conditions and humidity) may require you to repeat steps 1-7 once in a while should profile rusting develop.

Storage: in case you stack skillets inside your cupboard, place a paper towel or piece of newspaper in between each skillet. This prevents chipping and rust spots developing from skillet to skillet contact.

Can you use cast iron on induction cooktops?

Cast iron can be used on induction cooktops. You should however put something thin between the skillet and the cooktop as skillets have the tendency to scratch induction cook tops.

Can you use cast iron on glass top stoves?

You should not typically use a cast iron on a glass top stove because it has the tendency to scratch the surface of the stove which might in turn spoil the stove . If there is however a need to use your skillet on your glass top stove, you should put a thin layer between the skillet and the top stove

Can vegetable oil be used to season cast iron?

Vegetable oil is the most recommended oil for the seasoning of your cast iron. Other oils can equally be used to season your cast iron. It all boils down to availability and preference

Can i season cast iron with coconut oil?

You can use coconut oil to season your cast iron. Any cooking oil can generally be used to season your cast iron. It all depends on your preference

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We hope you relished finding out how to clean a rusty cast iron skillet With salt. Have you formulated any cool techniques to clean a rusty cast iron skillet? We would like to read about them in the comments below!

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