How to Remove Rust from Cast Iron (6 Easy Steps)

How to Remove Rust from Cast Iron (6 Easy Steps)

Dream Cheeky will help you know How To Fix A Rusty Cast Iron Pan 2022: Best Guide

Video How To Fix A Rusty Cast Iron Pan

Your cast iron pan has rust. Oh no! You might be wondering how this happened. Cast iron pans rust when the layer of seasoning wears off. Each time you season your cast iron pan, the protective layer of oil can last several months or even years. It all depends on how often you use it.

Any exposure to moisture can accelerate rust. For example, if you leave your pan in the sink to soak, put it in the dishwasher, let it air dry, or store it in a humid area. Turning on your hood vent in your kitchen will help remove excess moisture in the air.

Luckily, if your skillet rusts, you can remove it without much trouble. Resist the urge to throw out your cast iron and try out our technique first. We’ll show you a quick step-by-step guide on how to remove rust from cast iron.

What You Need

  • Sink
  • Stovetop
  • White vinegar
  • Water
  • Scrub brush or scrubby sponge
  • Steel wool (optional)
  • Dish towel or paper towels
  • Oil with a high smoke point (peanut oil, canola oil)

1. Fully submerge your cast iron in half water and half vinegar.

Fill your sink with half water and half vinegar. You want enough cleaning solution to fully submerge your cast iron pan.

Be careful not to overflow the sink. When you add the pan, the water level will rise!

The less vinegar you use, the longer it will likely take for the rust to break down. The more vinegar you use, the less time it’ll take to break down.

2. Let it soak for one to two hours.

Depending on the toughness of the rust, you may need to wait up to eight to 10 hours. Most rust will soften in one to two hours, though. After about an hour you can try to scrub some of the rust to see if it comes off easily.

3. Remove all the rust using a scrubby sponge or steel wool.

You might have heard that using a scrubby sponge or other abrasive cleaners on cast iron is a bad idea. It will remove the seasoning from your pan! But, you don’t have to worry about removing the seasoning here. You’ll reseason the pan later so remove as much as you can!

4. Rinse the skillet with water.

If you still see bits of rust after rinsing, just keep scrubbing. You want all the rust to be gone!

5. Dry the skillet completely with paper towels or a dish towel.

6. Reseason the cast iron.

You can reseason your cast iron skillet on a stovetop or in the oven. The oven technique is pretty simple.

Keep in mind if your cast iron has a wooden handle, you’ll need to season it on your stovetop.

1) Preheat the oven to 350º.

2) Dry the pan thoroughly with a dish towel or paper towels.

3) Coat the outside and inside of the pan with a thin layer of canola oil.

Make sure the pan is dry before you coat it with oil. Remember to coat the bottom of your pan as well as the handle.

4) Set the pan upside down on your stove for one hour.

Put a piece of foil on a baking sheet under the pan to catch the oil that drips down during the seasoning process.

5) Let the pan cool for one hour.

Don’t try and rush to remove the pan from your stove. Let it cool for at least an hour to be safe before you store it.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the easiest way to remove rust from iron?

The easiest way to remove rust from cast iron is to soak the pan in a 1:1 vinegar and water solution. Then scrub the rust off with a scrubby sponge, scrub brush, or steel wool.

How do you remove rust from cast iron without steel wool?

To remove small amounts of rust, you can use a scrubby sponge or scrub brush instead of steel wool. Let it soak in half vinegar and half water longer before removing the rust. Steel wool is best for rust that’s difficult to remove.

Does Coke remove rust from cast iron?

Yes, Coke contains phosphoric acid which helps remove rust from cast iron. Pour Coke on the rusted area and wait 15 to 20 minutes for the acid to break down the rust. Then wipe the pan with a scrubby sponge or dish towel. Repeat this process until the rust is completely gone.

How do you remove rust from cast iron with salt?

Use coarse salt to remove rust from cast iron. Pour one tablespoon of salt into the pan and scrub it vigorously. Use more salt as needed. Once you remove all the rust, rinse the pan with water and dry it thoroughly.

Can you use a rusty cast iron pan?

A little rust is OK, but don’t let too much build up. As rust grows, harmful bacteria may grow with it. To be safe, clean your cast iron pan soon after you notice any rust buildup.

Why does my cast iron keep rusting?

Make sure that your pan stays as dry as possible. It might be stored in a humid area which can accelerate rust. The layer of seasoning may be wearing off as well. So consider reseasoning your cast iron.

Can I use steel wool on cast iron?

Avoid steel wool when cleaning cast iron. It will remove the seasoning and you’ll have to reseason your pan. If your goal is to remove rust, then it is a great option.

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