Techniques for Restoring an old Cast Iron Skillet
Salt for Cleaning Cast Iron - Cleaning Cast Iron Pans with Salt

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Check out all my web pages on cast iron pots, kettles, and Dutch ovens
(just click on the underlined topics):

Main Page: 
The Irreplaceable Cast Iron Skillet

Question & Answer Pages:

Ammonia for Cleaning Cast Iron

Ceramic Top (Flat Top) Electric Range and Cast Iron Pots

Hot Fire for Curing & Cleaning

Iron and Carcinogens in Cast Iron

Misc. Questions & Answers

Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Pots

Salt for Cleaning Cast Iron

Sanding Cast Iron Pots

Self-Cleaning Oven for Cleaning & Seasoning

Warped or Cracked Cast Iron Pots

Washing Cast Iron Pots

Are you in the market for a new Cast-Iron Dutch Oven?

Check out the What's Cooking America's Cookware Store for new Cast Iron Pans and Dutch Oven Equipment for all your outdoor cooking needs.


cast-iron griddle
cast iron griddle

cast-iron frying pans
cast-iron pans and skillets

cast-iron Dutch oven
cast iron Dutch oven

The Salt Method for Cleaning Cast Iron:

Using a thick paste of warm vegetable oil and salt does a great job of bringing rusty cast iron pots and pans back to life. Following are the step to follow:

Rub the cast iron pan with fine steel wool.

Wipe out loose dirt and rust with a cloth. Repeat steps 1 and 2 until the pan is largely cleared of rust.

Place the pan on the burner of your stove over medium-low heat. Add enough vegetable oil to coat the pan bottom heavily. Heat for 5 minutes or until the handle is too hot to touch. turn off the heat.

Depending on the size of your cast iron pan, add approximately 2 to 4 tablespoons coarse salt to form a paste. The salt acts as an abrasive to gently srub any goop off the surface. Wearing a glove, scrub with a thick wad of paper towels, steadying the pan with a pot holder, scrub the pan, concentrating on the rusted spots but covering all surfaces with the oil and salt mixture. Add more salt or oil as needed.

Wash the pan with hot water and dish washing soap. Rinse the pan thoroughly in hot water, wipe dry, and then coat with a thin film of vegetable oil, wiping off any excess oil with additional paper towels.

To maintain your cast iron pan after cooking in it, using coarse sale and a paper towel, scrub the pan. Dump the salt out and rinse the cast iron pan in cold water. Wipe dry with a paper towel (if you still get a brown stain on the paper towel, dump more salt in and repeat the process), and then wipe a thin film of olive oil in the pan.



A friend of mine has been cleaning his iron skillets for years by just rinsing in hot water, pouring salt on them and scouring off any food partials, leaving just the seasoning of the oil in the pan. No soap, which is contrary to what I have read in your web page. He said his instructions from the manufacturer for cleaning said, no soap. This cleaning process seems to make sense in keeping the pan seasoned with little effort (salt for scouring), and his cooking with these pans is exceptional. Have you heard of this process of cleaning with salt and is there any reason why he should change this practice? - Richard Featherston (9/17/05)


If this process works for you, there is no reason to change. I prefer cleaning in soapy water and then re-oiling.


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