How to Refinish Cast Iron


Cast iron surfaces can quickly become rusty and discolored in wet or humid environments. Years of neglect on a cast iron surface can develop into something that can no longer be used in its current state. You can refinish a cast iron surface almost back to its original condition with a few tools and products found at your hardware store.

Things You'll Need

  • 409 household cleaner/degreaser
  • Steel wool
  • WD-40
  • Paste floor wax
  • Clean rags
  • Cheesecloth
  • Remove any surface grease and grime with a household cleaner/degreaser, such as 409. After spraying the surface, wipe it off completely with a clean rag. This will remove any foreign substances that will get in the way of the cleaning and refinishing process.

  • Remove the rust from the surface of the object by rubbing it with a steel wool pad. Remember that you are only trying to remove the rust and not actually trying to remove the surface of the object itself.

  • Remove the deep-seated rust from small crevices and weathered areas by spraying some WD-40 on the area, allowing it to penetrate the rust for a few minutes, and then going over the area with the steel wool until the rust is gone. If you get too much WD-40 pooled on the surface of the object, wipe it off with a rag.

  • Protect the freshly refinished surface. Using paste floor wax, apply a thin coat of wax to the surface of the object in small sections with a rag. Allow the wax to dry (approximately 15 to 20 minutes), and then buff it to a high-gloss shine using a piece of cheesecloth. Repeat this process until you have three coats of wax.

  • Perform periodic maintenance on the cast iron object in order to keep it in refinished condition. Clean and re-wax the object on a monthly basis if it is heavily used. Otherwise you can maintain your cast iron surface on a quarterly basis.

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  • Photo Credit ABC Brewery Cast Iron Sign image by Charlie Rosenberg from
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