Easy Steps to Clean a Cast Iron Skillet and Remove Rust

Easy Steps to Clean a Cast Iron Skillet and Remove Rust Leave a comment

Cleaning the bottom of your cast iron skillet is a simple yet often overlooked process.

Though it may be time-consuming to do, maintaining proper care for your skillet is crucial to keep it in good condition and ensure that its lifespan becomes as lengthy as possible.

In order to prevent rust and create a non-stick surface while cooking you must take part in some specific steps such as grease removal and seasoning with oil or fat.

To help educate our readers on this subject, we’ll explain all the necessary processes which will make sure that your pan remains clean, free from any forms of corrosion, well-seasoned -and ready for use!

Gather Materials Needed for Cleaning Cast Iron

Cleaning the base of a cast iron skillet can seem like an intimidating chore, but it’s super easy with just some basic supplies.

Before you begin, make sure to grab everything that you’ll need – dish towels or paper towels, soap (dish OR laundry detergent), baking soda, and/or coarse salt for tougher stains. Got all your materials?

Let’s get started!

If you’ve got a rusty skillet, then it’s time to get out the steel wool or fine-grain sandpaper.

Elbow grease is going to come in handy, too, depending on what type of material your pan is made from.

Don’t forget clean water either – warm water would be best as this will help loosen any stubborn food bits before scrubbing them away using soap, baking soda/salt etc.

If using the aforementioned materials for rust removal though remember to don some gloves so they can’t scratch and damage the surface!

Lastly, make sure there’s a safe spot nearby where your skillet can dry off after washing, outside with direct sunlight if possible – that way drying won’t take forever!

Remove Rust from Skillet with Steel Wool

Rinsing a cast iron skillet in hot water is the first step to removing rust.

Make sure you dry it completely with a cloth afterwards, otherwise any attempt at scrubbing away the rust won’t be successful!

With that said, steel wool is all you need for this job and using fine-grit will help remove even stubborn patches of rust off your pan.

Move the steel wool lightly over affected areas until no more signs of rust are visible – this shouldn’t take too long if done right!

Sometimes, even after scrubbing with steel wool, there can still be some stubborn spots of rust.

In that case, you might need to apply a bit more pressure – but just make sure you’re not scratching or damaging the skillet in the process.

Once all traces of rust have been removed from your pan’s surface, give it one last rinse and then thoroughly dry before using it again or storing away for later use.

If those pesky remaining areas are proving difficult to remove though, an oven cleaner spray specifically designed for cast iron skillets may do the trick!

It’s important to adhere to the instructions on the label and don’t forget about wearing protective gloves as some chemicals included in this product can cause nasty skin irritation or other reactions.

To clean your pan, all you have to do is spray it with oven cleaner, wait for 10 minutes and then eliminate all residual dirt by rinsing off properly using hot water.

Additionally, after each cooking session put a thin layer of oil/melted wax onto your skillet – especially if there are high levels of humidity where you live; that way you’ll decrease likelihood of rust forming over time plus create an extra lubricant effect when frying fragile products like eggs/potatoes etc.

Keeping away from sun rays will also help maintain overall look & feel longer!

Scrub Grease Residue with Hot Soapy Water

It’s important to use the right solution when you are cleaning the bottom of a cast iron skillet.

Hot soapy water is often used for scrubbing off grease residue and it works really well because no matter whether your pan is old or new, it won’t get scratched up or damaged in any way.

To start this process, first preheat your pan until it gets very hot – then pour some dish soap into a bowl of warm water and give that mix a stir!

Do you need something more powerful than just plain soap?

Next, grab a sponge or cloth and dip it into the solution. Scrub any grease residue that has built up on the bottom of your skillet with this.

Pay special attention to ridges or textured surfaces since these can be trickier areas when removing greasy build-up.

Once all Grease is scrubbed away from every part of you pan, rinse off all remaining soap using warm water and dry everything thoroughly with a soft towel before putting away in a cool dry area for safekeeping

If you’re dealing with heavy build-up, then adding baking soda to your warm soapy solution can take things up a notch.

Two tablespoons per cup of water is enough; any more than that and the discoloration effect might make an appearance eventually!

Baking soda helps break down tough stains providing extra abrasive power for loosening stuck-on bits from your skillet faster than if dish soap was used alone.

So when tackling those stubborn spots, you know what additional step to add before scrubbing away at them as usual – use this method wisely though because too much baking soda could leave some unwelcome discolorations on the pan in time!

Dry and Season Pan with Oil or Fat

Cleaning the bottom of a cast iron skillet can be tricky, there’s no doubt about that.

Cast iron skillets are naturally non-stick so you don’t need to use harsh chemicals or soap in order to get them clean – which is great!

But many people find they still have to dry and season their pan after cleaning it if they want its non-stick qualities back. The most straightforward way of doing this is by oiling up the bottom with either fat or oil then heating it on your stovetop until you see just a small trace of smoke rising from it.

Before you season your cast iron skillet, it is important to make sure that all food particles are removed.

You can use a spatula for this but be careful not to go too rough on the pan as it may damage its finish.

After doing so, applying some oil or fat will help create a non-stick durable layer which ultimately prevents rusting and extends the life of your pan.

After all the food has been taken away, give it a rinse with warm water to get rid of any remaining residue.

Then dry off thoroughly using some paper towels or a clean cloth before proceeding onto seasoning your pan.

When dried up, pour enough oil or fat into the skillet so that it will cover its whole bottom surface – without pooling in one spot for too long; about two tablespoons should be plenty for most skillets.

Place over medium heat on stovetop until you start noticing smoke rising from inside – this usually takes around 3 minutes depending on how hot you set your burner at – and then bring down temperature as needed till when smoke is slightly faint , and remove immediately once no more visible smog is seen (this will likely take another 10-15 seconds).

Give sometime to cool down prior wiping out extra grease present there by utilizing paper towel; eventually after doing this you would have even glossy layer of seasoning spread throughout interior ready for cooking!

Store Cast Iron Skillet With Care

Cast iron skillets are like the superstars of many kitchens – they’re durable, reliable and can last for multiple generations if given proper care.

However, that same attention should be paid to its bottom as well since it’s arguably the most important part of this cookware.

If left unattended or without maintenance for a longer period of time, it may get damaged quite quickly so regular upkeep is essential in order to ensure optimal performance from your cast-iron skillet.

Have you been taking good care of yours?

Cleaning the bottom of your cast iron skillet is easy.

After each use, give it a good scrub with hot water and mild soap using a soft brush or cloth to get rid of all food particles.

Once you’ve done that, dry it off completely with either a towel or paper towel – leaving moisture can cause rust!

To keep things looking new for longer, finish by lightly oiling or seasoning the pan so nothing sticks and no rusty patches will appear over time. How long have YOU been taking care of yours?

No need to panic if you spot rust forming on the bottom of your pan – there are household items like baking soda, white vinegar and potato peels that can help remove it safely without ruining its seasoned finish.

Blend together an equal ratio of water and baking powder until a paste-like substance has formed; use this combination plus an old toothbrush or sponge scrubber (but none too abrasive) over any rusty patches, then rinse off once done with hot water and dry completely using paper towels.

This way, you’ll stop rust coming back again!

Taking care not to forget about regular cleaning after each meal & seasoning now & again will ensure your cast iron skillet lasts for years as a treasured heirloom item in the kitchen!


In conclusion, cast iron skillets are incredibly versatile for cooking a wide range of dishes – but there’s no denying that they require special attention.

You need to clean the bottom regularly to get rid of any excess grease or rust build-up, which you can do with natural ingredients like baking soda and vinegar as well as an abrasive scrubber.

If you have stubborn rust on your skillet, it might take some serious elbow grease too! Once everything is off though – don’t forget to season the pan so that future meals won’t stick when cooked.

With proper maintenance and cleaning techniques, your trusty cast iron will be around for many years more!

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