How Do You Remove Rust From a Cast Iron Pot?

Reader Contribution by Mark Kelly

How do you remove rust and care for a cast-iron pot?

Simply scour off the rust using a very fine grade of sandpaper or steel wool and re-season the pot.

Re-seasoning Cast Iron Cookware

The cooking surface of cast iron cookware is “seasoned” by coating it with vegetable oil and then heating it.  You should repeat the seasoning process after removing any rust, or if you notice food sticking to the surface. To re-season, wash the cookware with hot, soapy water and a stiff brush. (It is OK to use soap this time because you are preparing to re-season the cookware). Rinse and dry completely.

Apply a thin, even coating of melted solid vegetable shortening or a liquid cooking oil  to the cast iron cookware, inside and out.

Place aluminum foil on the bottom rack of the oven to catch any dripping. Set oven temperature to 350 to 400 degrees F. Place the cookware upside down on the top rack of the oven and bake it for at least one hour, then turn the oven off and let the cookware cool in the oven. Store your newly seasoned cast iron cookware uncovered, in a dry place.

Cleaning Cast Iron Cookware

To maintain the seasoning, clean cast iron cookware after cooking using a stiff nylon brush and hot water. Using soap is not recommended, and harsh detergents should never be used because they will remove the seasoning.

If you are having trouble removing stuck-on food, boil some water in your pan for a few minutes to loosen residue, making it easier to remove.

Towel dry immediately and apply a light coating of oil to the utensil while it is still warm.

Never put a hot cast iron utensil into cold water. Thermal shock can occur causing the metal to warp or crack.

For more cleaning, storing and seasoning tips, please visit Lodge Cast Iron Cookware.

— Mark Kelly, Lodge Cast Iron company