Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >
May 10, 2006 05:40 PM

ruined cast iron

  • m

some good tips were listed on a thread below on how to care for cast iron -

i had a roommate ruin my griddle - its got a couple of rust spots, lots of stuck on gunk -

is there a way i can start from scratch with a piece that hasnt been cared for properly?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. If you have a self cleaning oven run it through the cleaning cycle. When cool, wipe off any discoloration and then grease the surface with lard, bacon fat or shortening and heat slowly, wiping again as needed with more fat or to remove excess. Then cook up some bacon. You'll bein business.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Candy

      Yup- Had an ex-roommate who ruined a lot of my cookware (he was allegedly a cook...bwahaha).

      I did everything everybody else here suggested, short of the sandblasting.

      Long hot soaks, boiling quarts of water away in the pan, going through self cleaning, leaving it in a 500 degree oven for 2 hours, chipping with a spackling knife, and lots and lots of scrubbing with the coarsest steel wool I could lay my hands on.

      Then I had to recondition.

      Cast iron will forgive you a lot... but it's also pretty cheap...

      1. re: jdherbert

        I'd be suprised if Candys fix doesn't work. It has for me 4 or 5 times. Give it a try.


    2. You can probably salvage your griddle. If it were mine, I would try soaking it in hot water to soften the gunk. Then you can probably use steel wool, scouring powder and even sandpaper to remove the gunk and rust. You don't have to remove all of the rust. Dry it, heat it, oil it, use it. Eventually the rust will fade away.

      1. I found a couple of pans and a dutch oven in an my grandparents barn that had been put up for storage years ago; they were rusty beyond belief (and my wife told me I wasn't putting them in the car).

        anyway, I took them to a local place that does sandblasting and they turned out great. Not the most delicate solution, but these looked so far gone I figured there wasn't anything to lose.

        you might want to go ahead and start accumulating a good supply of fat, you'll need it.

        1. If you don't have access to a self-cleaning oven (which would have been my suggestion too) try putting it on a gas barbecue and leave it there until everything burns off. Then scrub well to remove any residue, rinse and re-season by rubbing with oil or grease and heating slowly in the oven for several hours. If you love the pan, you owe it that much.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Nyleve

            Or if you don't have a grill and can deal with the smell & smoke, the same'll work on a stove. (Turn off your smoke detectors!)

            1. re: Nyleve

              My dad found an old cast iron frying pan (which is at least 20" diameter!) and put it in the fireplace to burn off all the gunk. He then seasoned it as usual and it is in great shape.

            2. You can't ruin cast iron. Unless it rusts all the way through, which
              takes some doing. In addition to all the other suggestions here, you
              could try a wire brush. If it's really bad, there are wire brush attachments
              to electric drills. Go at it with some muscle then wash it down good
              then cook a lot of bacon and you're back in business.