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Nov 14, 2009 10:51 AM

Cast Iron Skillet in the Dishwasher- Can it be saved?

My husband put my brand new (used 1x) pre-seasoned cast iron skillet in the dishwasher. It has a dusty brown film on it. If I touch it is comes off on my hands. The seasoning? Something else?

Can the pan be saved or do I toss it?

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  1. Just get the dust off it, and reseason it in the oven.

    I just coat them with crisco, put in oven at 275 or so for an hour.


    1. You can save it. Follow the instructions on this webpage under the section,"Pans needing Re-Seasoning".

      1. It's rust. Rinse it out with cold water and wipe it with a paper towel. Do that twice. If the paper towel doesn't come away "color free" the second time, then scrub out the pan with SOS, rinse well, and dry. Then coat liberally with cooking oil (I prefer peanut oil) and put it in a 325F oven for about an hour (assuming it doesn't have a wooden handle). Turn off oven, let cool. Repeat one more time. It should now be perfectly seasoned again and good to go. And tell you husband if he puts it in the dishwasher one more time, you will forcefully place it upon his head as a hat! '-)

        And for the record, the reason I never use shortening is trransfats. Who needs them?

        4 Replies
        1. re: Caroline1

          Thanks so much. It's in the oven for it's first baking.

          1. re: alexa52

            It will be fine, Alexa, but don't forget to threaten your spouse! I'm old and decrepit so I have housekeepers instead of husbands. Some of them who used to work here are recovering nicely. '-)

            1. re: Caroline1

              <<but don't forget to threaten your spouse!>>

              LOL, Caroline. What would it take to entice you to have a word with my dear hubby re my carbon steel knives?


              1. re: Normandie

                Oh my lord, I don't even want to think about that! Have you told him you can arrange for him to wear them neatly with only the handle showing? '-)

          1. So how many transfats are you going to eat by seasoning a cast iron pan?

            23 Replies
            1. re: duck833

              Why would you have it in the house if you don't cook with it, though? Oil is just fine, no need to buy shortening to feed the pan. ;-)

              1. re: duck833

                I use coconut oil to season my cast iron. It has no transfat.

                However, I don't believe there is enough fat left after seasoning a pan so that it's actually ingested in food that's cooked in the seasoned pans.

                Maybe you were joking.

                1. re: duck833

                  "So how many transfats are you going to eat by seasoning a cast iron pan?"
                  You're joking, right?

                  1. re: duck833

                    Olive oil will work well, too, if you're afraid of Crisco. HOWEVER, most of the temperature recommendations given here are just too'll end up with a sticky pan from incomplete carbonization. IF there's no black smoke when you season your pans--from exceeding the smoke point of your seasoning oil--then it hasn't been burned off and left that hard, black layer of carbon which is the hallmark of a properly seasoned cast iron pan.

                    1. re: Beckyleach

                      I was using safflower oil. It says its for high heat.
                      Are you saying after 1 hour there should be black smoke in the oven?

                      1. re: alexa52

                        Lard is the bestaccording to many, but any oil will do just fine if you do it right. Make sure remove all rust and clean it thoughly before seasoning it. Do it slow, and don't put tons of oil on the pan, just a thin layer. You will smell smoke within an hour.

                        1. re: alexa52

                          Actually, because I use VERY high heat (around 500 degrees) I hit the smoke point within half an hour, and it's all gone within an hour (after setting off the smoke alarms and requiring I open a few windows, that is... ;-)

                          It's not THICK smoke--you won't feel like your house is on fire! But there's definitely enough to trip the alarms and make your teenaged daughter go, "Yuck, Ma! You're not cooking the cast iron AGAIN???"

                          1. re: Beckyleach

                            Ok, I use about 400-425F and I do smell smoke, but not enough to trip any alarm.

                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                              I use the acmorris methodology, 500F plus, but still bake for 3 hours minimum between seasonings. Once, there is negligible grey or brown, and the surface under light shines. and to the finger, moving over the entire surface, is better than glass like slickness, you are close to finished. Bake for another 3 hours at 500F plus.

                            2. re: Beckyleach

                              Crisco or lard are best because they have a very low smoking point. Oils have a higher smoking, peanut oil being one of the highest. There won't be any transfats due the fact that it will be burnt to carbon, the same the oils. Keep the heat down to 400-425 for about 4 hours. 500 degrees is at edge of warping your pan or oven. Attached is a photo of some my dutch ovens.

                              1. re: yakitat jack

                                You're right, jack; 500 degrees F is much too high.

                                Lodge recommends only 350-400 degrees maximum for RE-SEASONING and for first seasonings, recommends starting out with LOW heat and gradually increasing it as pan gets hotter.

                                And for OP, here is the link to Lodge's instructions for re-seasoning should the pan accidentally get into the dishwasher (apparently, it's not that uncommon a mistake). ;-)


                                1. re: Normandie

                                  Actually, the finest seasoning I've ever seen, from a fellow WAGS member and a seller on Ebay who consistently gets amazing prices for his cast iron ( seasons his cast iron, using Pam, at 550 degrees. His stuff is gorgeous.

                                  And many cast iron collectors clean their stuff by running it through a self-cleaning oven cycle, with temps MUCH higher than 500 degrees. You're not likely to warp cast iron, on a rack, IN AN OVEN at any temp it can reach; after all, the stuff was created via much higher temperatures than that. ;-) Where you run the danger of warping your cast iron is by leaving it, dry, on a very high BURNER--the heat can get extraordinarily concentrated when the item is in direct contact with a heat source.

                                  1. re: Beckyleach

                                    I don't know, Becky. I only know that Lodge recommends against temps that high because it says these pans *can* warp.

                                    Also, I have cast iron burner grills (that's what they're called, right? The things the pans sit on). I think they're *great* to cook on, and an absolute nightmare to keep clean. Someone had posted somewhere on the web (can't remember the site) that they ran theirs through the oven self-cleaning cycle to clean and season them. Made sense to me! But, for whatever reason, I hesitated and called Viking customer service to ask about it. They said, no, don't do it; cast iron can warp; oven self-cleaning cycle temps are too high.... It seems a little illogical, since you can stick cast iron in a camp fire, but both manufacturers say "no", so I'm not chancing it. At least not with the burner grills. It's one thing to replace a $20 Lodge skillet, but I can just imagine what outrageous price Viking charges to replace the grills (or whatever you call them).


                                    1. re: Normandie

                                      Might a lot of the manufacturer recommendations and disclaimers be lawyerspeak? I notice that a lot of manuals that come with products, have one page of instruction and many, many pages of disclaimer. This wasn't the case 20 years ago.

                                      1. re: rosetown

                                        Could be. I don't know.

                                        I've always seasoned my pans at around 350 and they're gorgeous and a dream to use, so I never bothered to go higher with those. The burners are a different issue. It may indeed be lawyer speak, but I'm not under warranty, so they wouldn't owe me anything anyway if I did it and damaged something.

                                        I really don't know. What works for different people, works, I suppose.

                                      2. re: Normandie

                                        Well, I'm tempted to make a disparaging Lodge comment, but I shall refrain. ;-)

                                        I'm not sure ANY modern cast iron is as well made as the older stuff; much of it has inclusions and so forth, that may indeed make it less stable. That's probably why I wouldn't do the Oven Thang on my continuous cast iron grates, either....they're modern AND from China. And even though my stove is just a Fridgidaire, they still quote a price of over $200 A PIECE to replace the three grate sections, at their website. Whew!

                                        1. re: Beckyleach

                                          Uhm, I think maybe I meant "occlusions"? Something like that. Of course, I suppose stuff might be "included" in Chinese cast iron, as well....

                                          1. re: Beckyleach

                                            Re Lodge. I know, I know. My Lodge griddle--well, I don't know if it's "new" enough still to be considered part of the "modern" stuff, but it's about 30 years old, wasn't "pre-seasoned" and I like it much better than its significantly younger (i.e., about five years old), "pre-seasoned" Lodge grill pan. I've got a Wagner frying pan that I know is at least 65 or 70 years old, because it spent WWII with my FIL aboard his ship, and that is a gem. So the "older" Lodge and the Wagner--much dreamier, IMO, than the newer Lodge.

                                            And speaking of gems, yes, I think "occlusion" would be the word, especially when we consider that apparently Frigidaire thinks the grates (yes! that's the word that eluded me before!) are at least as costly as diamonds. Sheesh, Becky. Frigidaire's charging $200 apiece? Nice work, if you can get it. I can imagine what Viking would hold us hostage for, then.

                                    2. re: yakitat jack

                                      You got my attention fast. I don't want to ruin my oven. It didn't cross my mind. So far, the oven is fine - good luck I suppose. I've completed 3 pieces and have 6 others underway. I'll switch to Crisco or lard, and use your recommended temperature range and seasoning time. Your pots look great and the setting is a photographers delight. Again thanks for the heads up.

                                      1. re: rosetown

                                        If you cool the cookware slowly, then they won't be in risk for warping. Warping occurs when temperature drops too fast and the metal does not properly anneal. If you heat your cast iron Dutch Oven in an oven up to 500F and then turn the heat off, then it will cool down very slowly. Under such situation, I don't think you can warp it.

                                        1. re: rosetown

                                          By the way, I've never, ever heard of ANYONE "warping" their cast iron in the oven. No one on the Wagner and Griswold Society forums has ever mentioned this happening, either. I have reconditioned and seasoned over 30 pieces of Griswold cast iron, in just the past 9 months, at temps around 500, and never had any problems whatsoever.

                                          1. re: Beckyleach

                                            Same here. I've yet to see an old cast iron pan 'warp'. The newer ones may be a different story...I've never used one of those because I don't like the pebbled surface they tend to have... But every _old_ pan I've reconditioned had no problems with 500F or even higher.