If your cast iron skillet or frying pan has started rusting, the good news is, there are many ways that you could effectively get the rust out of it. Read on for some handy tips:
Soak the cast iron. Prepare a solution of vinegar and water in equal proportions. Soak in the cast iron pan, and let it stay for a few hours. This should be effective at dissolving rust, especially if it is just newly developed. After soaking, place some salt and a tablespoon of vegetable oil onto the pan – the salt and oil mixture will help you scrub off the remaining rust on the pan. You can use a folded paper towel for this purpose. For more stubborn rust, you can use a fine steel wool for scrubbing, but you have to be careful not to scrub too hard. Remember that if you scrub too hard, you might end up scraping away too much metal, which would result in uneven cooking.
Another alternative to the paper towel or fine steel wool is the end of a potato. Simply get a potato and cut off one end. Rub this end onto the iron’s rusted area, for gentle but effective scrubbing.
Use oven cleaner. Alternatives to the home remedy described above are commercially available oven cleaners. Make sure that you carefully follow manufacturer’s instructions, and you use gloves to protect your hands from the harsh chemicals.
Wash and dry the cast iron. After thoroughly but gently removing the rust, you should wash and rinse your cast iron. You could use a commercial liquid detergent for this, or simply a scrub brush and hot water. The important step however, is this: you have to be sure to completely dry it, and never allow it to just air-dry. If you are so inclined, you can even heat it inside a hot stove for a few minutes to make sure that it is completely dry.
Season the cast iron to make it rust-resistant. So that you won’t have to remove rust from your cast-iron anymore, the extra step to season it will certainly be worth it. To do this step, simply brush your cast-iron pan with a light coating of vegetable oil or lard, and place it inside a warm oven (250 degrees Fahrenheit, or 120 degrees Celsius) for an hour.
Afterwards, take out the cast-iron pan and wipe it well with paper towels. Let it cool completely – about 30 minutes or an hour should be enough. Store it properly.
Know how to maintain the cast-iron’s coating. Since you’ve now coated your cast-iron, you have to be careful to preserve this coating. From now on, you should not use commercial liquid detergents for cleaning your pan. Every time you finish cooking, just pour a cup of hot water onto the pan, and this should remove the remaining food stuck onto the pan. Then, use a scouring pad and rinse the pan with water. Dry the pan thoroughly and store without its lid on.
There you have it! These are the steps to take to remove rust off of cast iron, and to coat it so rust won’t develop again. Good luck, and hope this helped you out!