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Jul 16, 2005 12:43 PM

Sticky Vegetable oil residue on new cast iron pans

  • m

Help! We just got some cast iron pots for a wedding gift & I followed the manufacturers directions on seasoning. It said coat them with oil, so I used vegetable oil (it didn't say not to!) and now I have sticky pans, which can't be hygienic. I've been trying everything I can think of to make them less sticky, but nothing is working. Any ideas?

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  1. Is your oven self-cleaning? If so, run them through a cleaning cycle. If not try Dawn Power Dissolver or spray on oven cleaner. Then after they are clean again, wash and dry well over a low flame. Then re-season with Crisco or lard or bacon fat. Wipe it over the surface of the pan and heat gently, wipe out any excess and heat again. It will take several applications to get it seasoned, it just takes time.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Candy

      For "surface of the pan" read "COOKING surface of the pan. All you really need to clean off is the non-cooking part, handles and stuff, then keep applying fat and slow heat to the cooking surfaces. Don't get obsessive about it: these things will last damn near forever if you don't melt them down or try to drive railroad spikes with them, and you have plenty of time to make them perfect.

      The best way to do that is to use them. Fry a lot of chicken, bacon, pork chops. Bake a lot of skillet corn bread. Scrub them well after every use with just hot water and a Chore Girl. Twenty years down the road, you'll be able to use detergent on them if you have to and it won't hurt'em a bit. You did intend to keep them that long, didn't you?

      1. re: Will Owen

        Some of mine are over 30-50 years old and I'm not planning on giving them up in the near future. And yes, gasp, I do use soap and water on them and burn some of them out once a year. Good enough for my G-G_grandmother and so on, good enough for me

        1. re: Candy
          ChowFun (derek)

          Candy, I'm not familiar with the term "burn them out". Is this a procedure I should be following for the proper upkeep of cast iron pans?

          1. re: ChowFun (derek)

            It was something that was done a long time ago as cast iron maintenence. The cast iron pan when it got a bit too crusty and needed a real cleaning was put directly in a hot fire and burned out. Something my grandmother would have done. Now we have the modern equivalent with our self celaning ovens. A couple of posters have also suggested the fire/hot coals method recently if one does not have a self cleaning oven.

            1. re: Candy
              ChowFun (derek)

              Great idea...I do have a self cleaner....thanks for responding!

              1. re: ChowFun (derek)

                I got a great buy on a Griswold 10" skillet in a thrift shop. It looked disgusting, caked with old grease that was so thick it had cracked all over the inside and out (the grease, not the pan). I thnk I might have paid .50 for it. I brought it home and ran it through the self clean oven, along with the grids for my gas cook top and the discs, they are cast iron too, and everything came out squeaky clean. That pan is one of my best. My mother who is in her early 80's is sending me a corn stick pan that had been her mothers. She says it is sticking. It will get the same treatment and be a great stick pan again.

    2. You left too much on there after you heated the pans. You want to wipe them down (paper towels are good) to leave just the barest film of oil - it shouldn't actually fell "oily" - just sort of smoother than they would bare.