How to Get Rust Off of a Cast Iron Skillet


Cast iron is considered by some to be the best material for cookware. This metal has a natural, non-stick surface and heats up evenly, regardless of the heat source. Cast iron is also extremely durable, so a single skillet could potentially last a lifetime and always work like new, as long as it is properly cared for. While there are many benefits of cooking with cast iron, you have to give it special care, since it's susceptible to rust.

Things You'll Need

  • White vinegar
  • Water
  • Container
  • Washing soda
  • Fine wire wheel
  • Electric drill
  • Pour a mixture of 50 percent water to 50 percent white vinegar into a container that's large enough to submerge the skillet in. Plastic bins work well for this, but you can use your kitchen sink if you do not have a container large enough for the job. You need just enough of liquid to completely cover the skillet.

  • Submerge the skillet in the liquid. The acid in the vinegar will slowly eat away at the rust. In most cases this takes between three and eight hours.

  • Check on the skillet every 30 minutes. Remove it from the liquid as soon as the rust is gone. Do not let it soak for more than eight hours, because the vinegar will also eat away at the surface of the skillet.

  • Soak the skillet in a solution of washing soda and water for an hour to neutralize the acid in the vinegar.

  • Dry the skillet with a paper towel. Examine it to make sure the rust is gone.

  • Attach a fine wire wheel to an electric drill if the skillet has any residual rust. Hold the rotating wheel against the surface of the rust to remove it. Rinse the skillet with water and wipe it dry with a paper towel. Always wear safety glasses when removing rust with a wire wheel.

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