How to Remove Rust from Cast Iron Skillet or Pan – 5 Easy Step

Cast Iron skillet or pan is our number one favorite in the kitchen, right? It cooks all of your go-to recipes and is an excellent conductor. Further, it is so versatile and can be used for multiple recipes. A skillet or pan is such a usable top cast iron utensil that lasts for years if you take good care of it. Formation of rust is a common thing seen on enameled cast iron skillet or pan and believe us, nobody wants that. Well, don’t you worry! We have a number of simple and easy ways that will remove rust from cast iron skillet or pan. Dive in to make your pan look like new. 

Guide on How to Remove Rust From Cast Iron Skillet or Pan

The rust commonly developed on the cast iron skillet looks permanent but thankfully it is not. In fact, it comes with an uncomplicated fix. Don’t you worry about the things you will require while removing the rust? Those are common materials present in everyone’s houses. To ensure that you understand each and every step, it has been divided into an easy 5-step process. Let’s get straight to the process. 

What Things Do You Require? 

  • Soap that washes the dishes 
  • Steel wool 
  • White vinegar 
  • Cooking oil 
  • A clean cloth 
  • A paper towel 

1. Soaking:

The first step involves soaking the pan in vinegar. This step is to assess the amount of damage. The pan should be soaked in vinegar for a small interval as vinegar can be really hard on the pan. Therefore, it will cause permanent damage if soaked for a longer period. Vinegar will break the surface rust and will contribute to the easy removal of rust. It also significantly decreases the elbow grease. 

In order to soak your pan, simply fill a sink with warm water plus white vinegar in the ratio of 1:1 and submerge the skillet into it. The maximum time you should keep your pan soaked must be 1-2 hours. During that duration, keep checking if the vinegar solution has broken the rust up. This can be ensured if the rust can be removed through gentle abrasion. If not, soak the pan in the solution again. However, if the rust developed on the pan is not coarse, you can simply skip on this step and proceed to step no 02. 

2. Scrubbing:

This step comes after your pan comes out of the vinegar solution. For this step, you are required to take steel wool together with dishwashing soap. Next, use both of these to scrub the pan or skillet in lukewarm water. Scrub it as hard as it requires to remove the rust. The harder you scrub, the more the pan will be clean. This step aims at getting rid of the rust completely. 

3. Drying:

After you are done soaking your pan well and scrubbing it, dry the skillet thoroughly. This is a crucial step in the entire cleaning process and should not be neglected. To dry your pan effectively, use a paper towel or a cleaning cloth. 

4. Seasoning:

The pan is now rust-free as well as dried but it cannot be used without seasoning. Seasoning is a very significant step as seasoning gets removed while scrubbing the pan.Therefore, the seasoning has to be restored for the pan to be back to its best state. In order to restore the seasoning, polish your skillet with a thin film of oil. The oil that is recommended for best results is old canola. However, if you do not have that, you can use the one available. Make sure that you coat just enough for a thin layer and not overdo it. In order to make sure that it doesn’t drip, use a paper towel. Instead of pouring in the oil on the pan, use a paper towel saturated in oil to season the skillet. This will ensure the right amount of oil required for seasoning. 

5. Baking:

Your pan is almost ready for you to cook delicious meals on it. However, a final baking step is required. This last step is to seal the deal. Baking the pan involves taking the aluminum foil and covering the bottom of the oven with it. Next, preheat your oven at 450 to 500 Fahrenheit. Once the oven achieves this temperature, put your pan upside down inside it. Bake the pan for about 60 minutes. After an hour, turn off the heat in the oven. Keep the skillet in the oven until it completely cools down. This will cause the seasoning on the pan to adhere to its surface effectively, making the pan ready for use. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

The equal proportions of white vinegar and warm water serve as the best rust remover for cast iron. This effectively removes the rust off the skillet or pan. However one has to be very careful as this can do more harm than good if kept for long.  

A great homemade rust remover can be made by mixing cream-of-tartar in equal proportions with baking soda. After mixing them thoroughly, add a little amount of hydrogen peroxide. Continue adding until a thick consistency is achieved. This mixture aids in removing the rust effectively when rubbed over objects. 

Yes, white vinegar does remove rust effectively. The acid which is in the formulation of white vinegar completely eats up the rust-causing it to break. After which you can scrub the metal and make the utensil rust-free. 

Final Verdict

Removing rust from cast iron skillet or pan involves an easy 5-step process. Soaking your cast iron grill pan in a vinegar solution followed by scrubbing and drying the pan will make it rust-free. Lastly, it is coated with oil to restore the seasoning and baked to cure it perfectly! Your pan is rust-free and great as new!

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