Cast Iron Restoration

Worst of the Worst

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  • Worst of the Worst- Rust, baked on thick black carbon! No worries. Use an Electrolysis Tank (most recommended and what I do), use Lye or Oven Cleaner. Some use the oven as well on self cleaning mode to clean crud off (not recommended). Remember, using just Lye does nothing for the rust! Never Use Fire to clean Cast Iron. Don't throw it in a fire and leave it until the fire is out. Fire can damage or warp the skillet, cause burnt orange spots where the iron changes its compound, makes it unable to be seasoned or you could crack it if you place it in too cold. If that happens, you've ruined it.  The fire method is NOT recommended to restore cast iron. For that reason I'll stand behind electrolysis being the safest and best way to go, plus an Electrolysis Tank is an easy set up. Anyone can do it. Lye tanks are used to get off the build up as well and some use the Lye tank first, then the electrolysis tank; but the "E-Tank" will do both. Also, Easy Off (yellow cap) works well. You can spray it onto a skillet or cast iron piece. Tie it up in a bag, then sit it in the sun for a day or two. Then scrub it with a SOS and hot water, repeat the easy off bag process until all the build up has came off. Remember though that this process won’t remove rust! Once cleaned; I wash the skillet with soap and water, dry it good, coat mine with the oil of choice, wipe off all excess oil before placing it upside down in the oven for an hour and a half at around 475 degrees depending on what kind of oil you use (Canola). Let the cast iron cool in the oven once you turn it off. Then repeat for as many rounds of seasoning you want. Check the smoke point of your oil you're using to get your oven temperature right.

Not Used In Years

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  • Not used in years, surface rust- Wash it in hot soapy water using a steel wool pad or a soaped steel wool pad. Scrub it and get off all the rust, then dry it off good, oil it and repeat the seasoning in the oven at 475 degrees for 1.5 hours (some use different temps and lengths of time depending once again on what oil you use). Then let it cool off in the oven.

Food Sticking to Skillet

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  • Stuff sticking to your skillet- Use more oil when cooking! Or you may want to season it again in the oven, but typically you are using too high of heat on your stove, or not enough oil. Do not turn the burner on high, Cast Iron needs to warm up slow, so start on a 2 or 3, let it warm up about five minutes and then slowly turn up the burner. Your cooking will do just fine!

Restoration Methods

Easy Off Method

Alternative method to restoring and removing the carbon on your cast iron.

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Electrolysis Tank

Ever wondered how to create an electrolysis tank to restore your cast iron? 

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Seasoning Tips

You just acquired your first piece of cast iron cookware, now what?

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Nickel and Chrome Cast Iron

Nickel and Chrome plated cast iron is not like traditional cast iron, it still needs to be cleaned but not in the same way.

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What not to do

Fire

Fire may have been used many years ago. However, today there are many other safe methods to use that don't require fire.

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Wire Wheel

Taking sandpaper or a wire wheel to cast iron may seem like a good idea, but it will not only make seasoning not work, but you lose the value of your cookware.

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