How to Remove Rust from a Cast-Iron Skillet

Don't give up on your favorite kitchen tool just yet
How to Remove Rust from a Cast-Iron Skillet
Photo: NicolasMcComber/Getty Images

Cast-iron pans have been passed down in families for generations, so it's no surprise that sometimes those pans get a little rusty. Instead of throwing out your well-seasoned heirlooms, there's an easy way you can bring them back to life.

The best way to salvage a rusty cast-iron pan is by soaking it in vinegar.

This method works best on pans that need serious work. Mix together equal parts basic white vinegar and water, and either add the solution to the pan if it's rusty only on the inside or completely submerge the pan in a bucket of the stuff to dissolve the rust all over. Letting it soak for about an hour should do the trick, depending on the damage. Check back often, though, because once the vinegar eats through the rust, it will start on the actual pan. And you definitely don't want that.

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Next, using an abrasive sponge or scrub pad and a soft soap, lightly buff the pan. Dry it immediately once done. Then, it's time to reseason the skillet and off you go.

Follow these steps, and your skillet will be as good as new. After all, cast-iron pans only get better with age.


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