Super Easy Way to Clean Rusted Cast Iron Skillets

By | February 4, 2016

Rusted cast iron isn't ruined. With just 2 simple things you have in your pantry, you can easily clean rusted cast iron skillets.

Have you ever been frustrated by rusty cast iron pans and skillets? You might think they are ruined, but they aren’t.  It is actually super easy to clean rusted cast iron skillets and restore them to their former glory. It takes just a couple of minutes and 2 things you probably already have in your pantry.

When I went to use my cast iron flat skillet today, I was not pleased to see its condition.  Evidently the skillet was put away when it wasn’t completely dry, and a couple of spots of rust had formed. Fortunately my pantry contains just the things to remove rust from cast iron cookware – olive oil and coarse salt.

Rusty cast iron isn't ruined. With just 2 simple things you have in your pantry, you can easily clean rusted cast iron skillets.

To clean rust spots on cast iron cookware, just pour a tablespoon or 2 of oil on the pan. Sprinkle liberally with the coarse salt. Use a stiff brush to scrub until the rust is gone. It doesn’t take long at all. This method also works to remove burnt-on food.

After all the rust has been removed, rub some oil into the cast iron to season it. (I use coconut oil.) Put the cast iron pan into a 450 degree oven to dry completely. I put the pan in the oven for 5 minutes at that temperature and then turn it off. I allow the pan to cool in the oven.

Hint: Don’t ever use soap on cast iron as it destroys the seasoning. I have a dedicated cast iron scrub brush that I use with water. That’s all I ever need.  You can also use one of these cool chainmail cast iron scrubbers.

After your cast iron skillet is cleaned,  just make sure it is absolutely dry before you put it away.  Then you won’t have to clean rusted cast iron skillets ever again!

Hopefully this trick is helpful to anyone who needs to clean rusted cast iron skillets.   So tell me…  What tricks do you use to keep your cast iron cookware looking good as new?

16 thoughts on “Super Easy Way to Clean Rusted Cast Iron Skillets

  1. Renee

    Thank you! I have couple cast iron pans on my stove that I was ready to get rid of. Now I don’t have to!

  2. Catherine

    Good to know! Every time this has happened I have gone down the scrub with soap, wash with water, heat pan up, steam, than re-season again. Hopefully I won’t have to go down that road again, since this sounds soooo much easier, and probably keeps more of the original season. Thanks! 🙂
    A tip I use is to put my pans away with a paper towel between them. It helps to absorb any trapped moisture so I don’t get rusty pans again.

  3. Christine

    What?! That’s all it takes? I’ve always steered clear of cast iron because it seems so complicated to clean. This is so much simpler than I thought.

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  5. Angelina

    I received two cast iron pans for Christmas… had no idea you aren’t supposed to use soap on them! Oops! Won’t be doing that now!

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  7. Lela

    These are great tips! Thank you so much for stopping by Inspiration Thursday last week and sharing them. Hope to see you again tonight at 9pm EST!

  8. McKenzie

    Rust can be pretty tough to get off. Thank you for sharing the way you got it off your skillets!


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