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Discussion Starter #1
I just picked up three cast iron skillets at our church rummage sale for $3!!! I'm so excited! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/bouncy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="bouncy"> They need a MAJOR cleaning though, and I'm really not sure how to go about it. I don't have anything that's cast iron, so I'm not familiar with the "rules" of cleaning them. Tips, please! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin">
 

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This is what I do. If it has a lot of burned foods, soak and scrape them off as much as you can first with steel wire pad. Then, burn off with just a water to scrape off more, if it probablly needs to be done repeatedly. When all the rusts and foods are scraped off, I would re-treat it in the oven. Grease up the surface with olive oil and bake it in the oven as you would if you have a new cast iron pan.<br><br>
For maintenance, I would just burn and scrape off the food and grease with steal pad and never use soap.
 

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I wouldn't use olive oil though. I would use an animal fat instead. Something like butter, lard, or the like.
 

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I agree with greencat. You should never use dishliquid or soap with cast iron. Boil some water in the pans, use steel wool to scrub and definitley cure with oil. I wouldn't use animal fat because when cast iron is cured, the oil needs to stay on - and animal fat would become rancid. Olive oil won't.<br><br>
To clean after every use - scrub with the hottest water your hands can stand, dry immediately, and then rub the cooking surface with just a bit of olive oil and leave it on. You must hand dry them right away to keep them from rusting.<br><br>
I love cooking with my cast iron. I always make my rice in it.<br><br>
Happy cooking! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for all of the advice everyone! Can you tell me why I shouldn't use dishsoap? Sorry for my ignorance; as I said before, I'm really unfamiliar with the rules of cast iron. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/innocent.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="shy"><br><br>
Also- I have a cast iron skillet that I picked up on Freecycle about a year ago. It's just sitting in my kitchen doing nothing, because I scrubbed and scrubbed and couldn't get it clean. However, I did use dishsoap on it and soaked it in borax (OOPS! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment">), but I didn't know I wasn't supposed to! I didn't have any steel wool at the time either (okay, I still don't, but I'll be buying some this weekend). So, is this pan ruined forever?
 

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This is what my mom did - boil them in a BIG pot with backing soda diluted in the water for 1-2 hours.<br><br>
Come out good as new!
 

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Another way to do it is to put your cast iron in your oven upside down and set the oven to clean (upside down so that the gunk will fall out the pots). The extremely high heat of the clean cycle will burn the gunk off the iron. Then you can re-season it.
 

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Heat it up with a little oil, lard, or shortening in it. Dump in some kosher salt. Scrape it out with a metal spatula, and/or scrub it with steel wool. The big, curly kind works better than brillo. Repeat if necessary. Once that's done, wipe it out with a damp cloth while it's still hot.
 

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I believe cast iron is somewhat pours, and that is why people with gluten sensitivities will not use the same iron pan for cooking gluten-food. My understanding is that the detergent and oil will some how 'combine' and won't leave the surface. So, as you cook your food, the detergent is going to be part of your food.<br><br>
A friend of mine always threw her cast iron cook ware in the camp fire. If you leave it in, and let it cool naturally as fire cools the next day, it should be fine. If you take'm out to let it cool too quickly, it can crack.<br><br>
I have used baking soda to get grease off, but not often.
 

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When I get really naaaasty old cast iron from rummage sales and things, I give them to my Dad to take to work and sand blast (well, it's actually bead blasting). That makes them super-smooth, then I just season as usual.<br><br>
I always season with animal fats. No, they won't go rancid. You're cooking on them and basically replacing the surface of the season all the time. And, olive oil *does* go rancid very easily.<br><br>
My pans stay at their best when I cook bacon in them regularly - basically, re-seasoning the pans as I cook <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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This is not the prettiest way, but I just put them on the outside grill and let the stuff burn off. Works like a charm. Just scrape the crud off and rub some fat on them
 

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Discussion Starter #12
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>greencat</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7972917"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I believe cast iron is somewhat pours, and that is why people with gluten sensitivities will not use the same iron pan for cooking gluten-food. My understanding is that the detergent and oil will some how 'combine' and won't leave the surface. So, as you cook your food, the detergent is going to be part of your food.</div>
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So, is there a way to reverse the damage I've done with the dish soap? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad">
 

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To be honest, I don't know... But, cast iron pans are somewhat affordable. I have "Lodge" but also a set from K-mart. I only use cast iron and Pyrex or Bake stones for cooking (besides my other paraphernalia, like juicer, crock, pressure cooker, dehydrator, etc.) If you are interested in a lot of baking, Pampered Chef has nice bake stones. I have many of them, and love them all. Don't use soap on these either.<br><br>
Here's some info I found on Google: <a href="http://whatscookingamerica.net/Information/CastIronPans.htm" target="_blank">http://whatscookingamerica.net/Infor...stIronPans.htm</a>
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>tboroson</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7973552"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">When I get really naaaasty old cast iron from rummage sales and things, I give them to my Dad to take to work and sand blast (well, it's actually bead blasting). That makes them super-smooth, then I just season as usual.<br><br>
I always season with animal fats. No, they won't go rancid. You're cooking on them and basically replacing the surface of the season all the time. And, olive oil *does* go rancid very easily.<br><br>
My pans stay at their best when I cook bacon in them regularly - basically, re-seasoning the pans as I cook <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"></div>
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oooh, yes, bacon does them up very nicely<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/nod.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="nod"><br>
I have a steel wool scrubbie that does the job.<br>
I just scrub mine up as much as I can each time, and season regularly.
 

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It seems there is a disagreement on which oil to use on the cast iron for treating it. I think any oil can go rancid if you don't use the pan for a while, and had excess amount of oil left on the surfice. When it does, burn and cook off with water and steel pad again. I've used baking soda for this, but Kosher salt sound like a good idea, too.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Rikki Jean</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7974041"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">So, is there a way to reverse the damage I've done with the dish soap? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"></div>
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You don't use dish soap because it ruins the season of the fry pan and it will stick. Just re-season it and it will be fine.
 

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if you have a wood burning stove you can throw them in the fire to burn everything off. then just boil out and oil. (let them cool, before adding water to them when they come out of the fire or they will crack.)
 

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Rust doesn't burn off, though. Some of the worst pans I've seen going cheap at yard sales and the like were rusty, not food encrusted. A light dusting of rust, I can scrub off. When it's really bad, though, that's when I send it home with my Dad. I had one with rust flaking up under the seasoning, that was slightly sticky. All in all, it was gross.
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Samjm</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7972800"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Another way to do it is to put your cast iron in your oven upside down and set the oven to clean (upside down so that the gunk will fall out the pots). The extremely high heat of the clean cycle will burn the gunk off the iron. Then you can re-season it.</div>
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<br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/yeahthat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="yeah that">:<br>
It's easy-peasy, no scrubbing.<br>
If you have any grunged-looking (uncoated) cookie sheets, you can throw those in, as well, and they'll also come out looking perfectly new. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
As far as the oil goes, I keep hearing about the rancidity factor with veg-based fats, but I'm essentially quite lazy, and olive oil is the only thing that I keep in a speed-pour bottle, so that's what I've used for years, and it works beautifully for me. No problems.<br><br>
Regardless of which fat you choose to season your cast iron, be sure to wipe it down so that only a bare film of oil remains when you're done, or it could actually become sticky!<br><br>
alsoSarah
 

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ive scruubed rust off of mine with kosher salt and a little water<br><br>
OP- you just have to keep seasoning the one you scrubbed and it should come out fine. as for your new ones, unless theyre rusty, or have dried food on them or something, i'd probably just scrub it down with hot water, then season it, that way you wont mess up the season it already has, if any. cast iron doesnt get "clean" like youre used too, its the oils and stuff that help make it nonstick <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 
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