How To Restore a Rusty Cast Iron Skillet

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Most commonly, neglect or moisture results in what’s called “profile rusting,” which can be seen and felt on the cookware. Thankfully, profile rusting is easily removed at home in an afternoon. Follow the steps in this post and you’ll be all set.

What You Need

Steel wool
Dish soap
Scrubbing brush, scouring pad, or sponge
Dish towel or paper towels
Vegetable oil (or cooking oil of choice)
Aluminum foil


Remove all the rust: Use fine steel wool to remove rust from affected areas. Scour the skillet until the area returns to raw cast iron.
Wash the skillet thoroughly: Wash the cast iron with warm water and mild dish soap. Scrub with bristle brush, gentle scouring pad, or mesh sponge if needed.
Dry the skillet: Thoroughly dry the cast iron immediately with a clean dish towel or paper towels.
Cover the pan with a coating of oil: Apply a small amount of vegetable oil (or cooking oil of choice) to the entire piece.
Don’t forget the bottom and handle: When oiling, don’t forget the bottom and handle. Use only a small amount to avoid a sticky surface.
Place the pan in the oven: Place the cast iron upside down on the top rack of your oven. Place a sheet of aluminum foil or a foil-lined baking sheet on the bottom rack to catch any oil drips. Heat the cast iron for one hour at 350°F.
Let the pan cool before using: Turn off heat, let cast iron cool, then get back to cooking!

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