Using a cast-iron skillet is absolutely a great feeling, especially if you’re a chef or cooking aficionado. Cast iron skillets are very sturdy, but they require a bit of special care. Taking care of something special like a cast iron skillet takes time and effort. Sometimes, you forget to do the right things to take care of your tools. If your cast iron skillet becomes rusty, do not worry because we will teach you how to restore a cast iron skillet.
Things You Need
Before we share with you the steps on how to restore a cast iron skillet, first you should gather all items that you need. Like any other cleaning job, you need the right tools to properly restore your cast iron skillet.
The first thing that we need is steel wool or a steel scrub. We will use this to scrub all the rust away. Some people might suggest using a non-abrasive scrubber to avoid damaging the pan. That is true, especially if your cast iron pan is properly taken care of, then you don’t need to use steel wool.
However, in this case, we are trying to restore a cast iron skillet, assuming that it has thick layers of rust or has some food scraps left on the cooking surface. Since cast iron skillets and pans are tough, they can withstand the pressure of the steel wool. It wouldn’t damage the pan itself.
The next thing we need is vinegar. We will use the vinegar to quickly remove the rust. You can use any white vinegar like apple cider vinegar. Any acid is a great tool for removing rust, and vinegar is a good acid for this job.
For removing food scraps, you can use salt for easier removal. You can also use it for scrubbing the rust off the pan. Just add it to the scrubber.
We will also need some baking soda. It will be used to neutralize the acidity of the vinegar. Baking soda is regarded as one of the most used cleaning agents at home, and it has various usage. Having baking soda ready at home is a great remedy for emergency cleaning situations like removing clogs on kitchen sinks and drains.
For cleaning the cast iron skillet, we need a good dishwashing soap. We will use this after submerging the cast iron pan in the vinegar solution. Use mild dishwashing soap to avoid any chemical reactions between the cast iron pan and the dishwashing soap.
The last thing that we need on how to restore a cast iron skillet is oil. We will use this oil to season our cast iron skillet. Seasoning your cast iron skillet is also a way to preserve its integrity and avoid rusting. We suggest using flax oil for a better coating. If you don’t have some flax oil, you can use any oil available, like canola oil.
We also need a gas stove and a large oven or a gas range with an oven. Use the gas stove for removing unwanted moisture after washing and the large oven or the seasoning process of the cast iron skillet.
We will now give the steps on how to restore a cast iron skillet. These steps will begin by removing the rust and end with the seasoning process to prolong the quality of your cast iron skillet.
The first step in restoring a cast iron skillet is removing the rust. Prepare a mixture of vinegar and water. A fifty-fifty ratio is a great balance to easily remove the rust on your cast iron pan. Submerge the whole pan, including the handle, to remove all rust.
Soak it for an hour up to 5 hours. Do not exceed this time to prevent corrosion. The vinegar can cause pitting on your cast iron skillet.
Washing and Drying the Skillet
After soaking your cast iron skillet in the vinegar solution, it’s time to clean it down. Removing the cast iron skillet from the solution and sprinkle it with baking soda. This will neutralize the acidity of the vinegar. Scrub it with the steel wool or the scrubber side of the sponge to remove any remaining rust. Afterward, rinse it well.
Wash it again using the mild dishwashing soap to remove any remaining dirt and rust on the pan. Dry the cast iron skillet by exposing it to high heat on the gas stove. This will allow all moisture on the surface of the pan to evaporate and avoid rusting. You can also dry the cast iron skillet with a kitchen towel. Avoid using cloth towels since cast iron skillets sometimes leave dark marks on the cloth.
After completely drying the skillet, it is time to season it. Seasoning your skillet is important to preserve the quality of the cast-iron skillet and to add some nonstick factor to your pan. This will also prevent rusting in storage.
To season your pan, put one to two tablespoons of oil on each surface, then spread it around all surface parts, including the handle. Spread it thinly and evenly to avoid uneven coating. After coating the whole pan, preheat the oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit or 260 degrees Celsius. Place the pan faced downward inside the oven and heat it for one hour. This will cause the oil to coat properly on the surface of the skillet. Repeat the seasoning process two more times for a nice coating.
If your cast iron skillet is properly taken care of, it will last a very long time. The steps on how to restore a cast iron skillet are easy enough that you can try it on your own. If you have one that needs restoration, don’t give up and fix it while you can. Get more tips on kitchenware care.