How to Clean A Rusty Cast Iron Skillet?

Do you also have a rusty cast iron skillet and are looking for “how to clean a rusty cast iron skillet?

If yes, then you’re at the right place

Cast iron cookware is very good at its work and known for its durability. But, these cast iron have some of their disadvantages too. Cast iron catches rust if it is exposed to water. However, you can easily remove the rust using the methods mentioned in this article below. 

Let’s start with the 8 essential steps: 

How to clean a rusty cast iron skillet in 8 simple steps? 

Step – 1: Use an abrasive pad to scrub off the rust

You must have a steel wool or copper pad to remove the rust over the pan effortlessly. However, non-metal abrasive products such as Brillo and SOS can also work well. If you find the rust stubborn, put a little water or dishwashing soap over it, and scrub it off. 

Step – 2: Scrub the pan rust with DIYs

  • Scrub with baking soda: If you have mild rust over your pan, sprinkle the baking soda and rub it off with water. You can also use the rag to remove the rusty spots from your pan. However, it would help if you gave the baking soda paste a little time to settle on the rusty spots to remove it better. 
  • Salt and Water DIY: This is almost similar to the baking soda method. You have to make a rough paste using salt & water and scrub the rust off. However, this paste is slightly more abrasive than baking soda because the salt particles are more significant. 
  • Heavy-duty cleaner: Some stubborn rusty spots are hard to deal with. Thus you have to use harsh chemicals. You can use a toilet bowl cleaner containing around 20% hydrochloric acid (HCL), which is good enough to dissolve your rust into a wet powder. However, you must read the disposal instructions for your product too. 

HCL is a harsh chemical. Thus you need to protect your skin, hands, and eyes with gloves, long sleeve t-shirts, and safety goggles. HCL can also dull your pan-coated or plated screws. Thus, beware of that too. 

Step – 3: Rinse your pan thoroughly 

Once you’re done cleansing your pan, it’s time to give it a thorough rinse. It helps in removing all the loosened dirt and cleaning products. Finally, when thoroughly cleansed, drag it with a clean rag or paper towel. Ensure that your pan is completely dry so it won’t form rust later. 

After thoroughly drying your pan, heat it on the medium heat stove for around 4-5 minutes. It will help you remove even the last traces of water. We recommend you season your pan after drying it completely, which will form a protective fat layer over your pan and prevent it from rusting again in the near future. 

Step – 4: Re-season your pan

Primarily, it would help if you had an oven. Preheat it to 350⁰F (177 C). In the seasoning process, you have to bake the layer of fat over the pan to make it stay for some time. Here, the latter of the fat protects the metal from catching rust. Till your oven is heating, follow specific steps. 

Step – 5: Coat the dry pan with cooking oil

You have to use the cooling oil to coat your dry pan. You can use the following oils: canola, vegetable, or peanut. Pour a little amount of oil into your skillet and spread it all over the pan with the help of a paper towel. 

Make sure to use at most one tablespoon of oil. And, also do not use olive oil as it has a lower smoke point. 

Step – 6: Alternative of Oil 

If you cannot arrange the oil now, you can use the bacon grease instead. Thus, cook your bacon in the pan and drain the rest of the fat into the pan. Use the paper towel to coat your pan with the grease evenly. 

However, when you use grease, make sure to use less temperature. It should be around 275-300 F (135-149 C). 

Step – 7: Put your skillet into the oven for an hour 

Now, it’s time to use the pan. You must put it directly in the middle of the oven facing the downside. You should also put a baking sheet underneath the skillet to collect the extra drops of oil. Let it bake for an hour like this. 

Step – 8: Turn off the oven. 

Once your time is completed, switch off the oven, but do not open it. Instead, let it get cool slowly. It will take around 1-2 hours. Take it out when you feel that the pan is completely cool to handle. 

Boom, you will receive your seasoned pan. It would resist all the rusting and act as a nonstick pan. You can easily re-season it anytime you want to provide it with a necessary protective layer. 

Final Words 

These are the 8 simple steps: “how to clean a rusty cast iron skillet?” Follow these steps as mentioned, and you will get your pan cleansed. It will also increase the life of your pan. We hope you kike this guide and that it has helped you to make your pan better. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • What’s the easiest way to remove rust from Cast iron? 

You can easily remove the rust from the pan by soaking it in a 1:1 solution of vinegar and water. Using this mixture with a sponge will help you remove the rust from your pan. 

  • Can you restore a badly rusted iron skillet? 

Cast-iron skillets generally get rusted very easily. You can restore your pan quickly with the following steps:

  1. Use an abrasive pad to scrub off the rust
  2. Use the DIY to scrub it off 
  3. Rinse your pan thoroughly
  4. Start reasoning your pan 
  5. Coat your dry pan with cooking oil
  6. Switch off the oven 
  7. Take out the new type of pan 
  • Does vinegar destroy cast iron?

You should avoid filling your cast iron with wine or vinegar. You can splash some amount of sauce, or deglazing can work. However, you should not directly put a significant amount directly into the pan to save it from ruin. 

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Priya Singh

Hey readers! I'm Priya Singh Founder of (, I am full-time Digital Marketer, Organic Affiliate Marketer & a Blogger.

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