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Need help reviving cast iron pots? Answered

Hey instructablers,
During a home renovation I found these cast iron pots / cauldrons, they have seen better days but luckily the rust is only skindeep!
The only problem is, I have no idea how to clean up and seal cast iron so its foodsafe.
If any of you have experience with cast iron maintenance please chip in!

Thank you, 
Knut knackebrod



Best Answer 4 years ago

Look for links on the process of "seasoning cast iron" - basically scrub off all the rust, then heat very hot, while rubbing oil onto the surfaces- using a foodgrade oil !!!

Here's a great instructable on the subject



4 years ago

There's no renovating needed.

THE BIG PICTURE: Rust won't hurt you. As a matter of fact, it will put more iron in your diet.

Wire-brush off as much rust as you want, wash them and then season them (if you want). What rust is left won't hurt you and after you use them/season them, you won't even have the rust any more. You don't HAVE TO season them, if you cook and clean them correctly, they will season themselves over time.

HOW TO SEASON: Coat them in oil (inside and out) and heat them up. As many times as you want until they are as black as you want (or just use them). When you do it correctly, your cast iron will be black. The black is carbon that used to be oil after you cook all of the H's and O's off.
PRO TIP: Oil is your cast iron's best friend. They won't season if you only steam your vegan fare with them (as a matter of fact, the water will destroy them).

My cookware is all cast iron from junk stores (and even some I found in the dirt of a property that I bought) that was all horribly rusty. I washed them, coated them in oil and baked them in the oven and on the stove eye. You need to get the oil so hot that it smokes (but doesn't catch fire).

HOW TO MAINTAIN THEM: Wash them just before you use them. DON'T SCRUB THEM CLEAN, you will scrub off the protective carbon.

After use, lightly wash them to get food out, dry, and re-coat with oil and store. Do not scrub, do not scrape, do not leave wet!

One other thing to be aware of, cheap cast iron cookware can crack if you thermally shock it too much. Apparently, this is a concern from some of the chinese stuff on the market. Mine is all OLD (probably 4th hand) American and I have yet to have a problem.


4 years ago

Very nice find!. I've been very slowly looking for some as well. Don'y know if that instructable mentions it in there, but one way to clean them up is putting them through a self cleaning cycle in your oven. Best of luck