future hubby soaked my cast iron overnight :(
Be all nice about it and then make him buy you some new pots with his guilt as motivator.
Don't drop the poor sap because he did what many (not all) men do with pots. My husband and fatehr and father in law have some odd belief that letting a pot sit in water for hours will somehow make it magically clean. Then I discovered the real reason for the "soaking" myth-lotsa men (not all) are too lazy to scrub pots properly, and don't know the secrets passed on by many to get them clean:
1. a cleaning deglaze on a hot pot with water
2. boiling water and baking soda
3. Soap, water, and a scrubby and a little effort.
My husband looked defeated when presented with a pot that had been used to make caramel.
"I'll let it soak for a few hours, it'll b fine" he said nervously picturing toil and hardship ahead.
I saved the poor guy by showing him how to fill it with water, boil, use a long handled brush to lightly scrub, and lookee here! all the hard candy just melted off!
It backfired, of course, as he now tells me that I am the magical pot cleaning expert and have super powers he wasn't born with.
But heck, the inkling of guilt he feels has provided me with some fine kitchen goodies and gadgets, wines and beers.
This may sound strange, but it works. :-)
Slice open a potato and peel about 1/2 inch of the peel along the top edge (near the cut part). Dip the potato in baking soda. Use the baking soda-covered cut edge of the potato to wipe the rust off your pan. Re-dip in baking soda as needed.
Works with lots of rusty things. Good luck!
Thanks everybody! I knew it wasn't the end of the world - the pan wasn't well seasoned anyways so all is not lost :-) I had the pan sitting in the sink and I think the roomates put water in it, and then future hubby came along and noticed water (which I will add he thought was odd and that you weren't supposed to soak it...) and filled it up more overnight and I didn't notice til this morning!
I will get some steel wool tomorrow and re-season :-)