How to Restore a Rusty Cast Iron Skillet in 5 Easy Steps

From time to time, our beloved cast iron skillet gets neglected. Failure to season and clean properly can lead to one rusty cast iron skillet – and nobody wants to cook with rust. Before you decide to toss out the skillet, there is still hope. From the people who know cast iron cookware best, Lodge Cast Iron show us how we can restore a rusty cast iron skillet to spanking brand new.

Unlike Teflon, cast iron was meant to last forever – even when rust takes hold. For those of you with a rusty skillet, Lodge Cast Iron recommends a good scrub, wash, dry, oil, and bake. With a good sprucing up using this five-step method, you can salvage your skillet and get back to cooking.

Look at that skillet! To clean off stuck-on food, which isn’t covered in this video, simply pour a tablespoon of kosher salt into the pan and scrub the salt into the pan with a sponge. Wipe out the salt, and rinse. If it’s truly stuck, feel free to let it soak briefly so the warm soapy water can lift away any stubborn bits on the cooking surface.

Some elbow grease and a little bit of heat was all the skillet needed. Now, I know there is much debate on the soap part. Some people swear it will ruin a seasoned skillet, while others choose to use just a touch. But if the makers of cast iron say a little bit is okay, then it can’t be that bad, right?

Either way, next time you fail to clean your skillet after a long camping trip – I swear it wasn’t my fault – try this method. Simply round up your vegetable oil, grab a few clean paper towels, and step away from the steel wool. It’s important to note that you can choose to begin the drying process for the skillet on low heat on a stovetop burner, though a truly clean cast iron will finish in the oven so no more rust forms. Store in a dry place overnight to ensure it’s completely dry.

Make sure to line the bottom of the oven in foil though. Otherwise you’ll have a whole new mess to deal with. Don’t fear the cast-iron pan in your kitchen! It’s your most reliable piece of cookware.

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