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Cast iron -- help!

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Hi, I came home last week to find my cast-iron pan in a soapy sink. Roommate had used it. Sure enough, parts of the surface started flaking off.

The folks at the kitchen store where I bought the pan recommended scrubbing the surface down with a steel brush to remove pieces of the surface that could flake off in the future, and re-season. I did. To season it, I used a very thin coat (wiped it with a paper towel) of canola and baked the pan for an hour at 400. The result doesn't look right.

What should I do next? Any tips on where I went wrong? Thanks.

 
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  1. I rescued a basket case like yours with CLR (calcium, lime, rust remover), then re-seasoned. Oven cleaner may work, too, as I'm sure others have had experience with it.
    After re-seasoning, there was still a very slight hint of rust mostly on the sides, but after two weeks of normal use, the pan was back to normal and developing its patina without further help.
    CI pans have amazing longevity!

    1. Just scrub it again and re-season until you get it the way you want, don't be afraid to scrub it with steel wool. I would make sure to hide the pan from the roommate or hit him or her over the head with it>LOL

      1. What you describe as the "surface" does not look like the surface of the iron pan to me, but merely the surface gunk which has accumulated over the years from inadequate cleaning. I would get it all off, then start over as with a new pan.

        1. Thanks for the help. Also, let me clarify something. That brown color on the pan didn't appear until after I baked the pan in the oven. The area it covers is the part of the pan that I had given the most thorough scrubbing.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Icabod

            Of course. That's the iron pan, and that's how it looks when the seasoning is stripped and the pan is dried. It would be best to get all of the interior looking like that, then season it, in my opinion.

          2. "The folks at the kitchen store where I bought the pan recommended scrubbing the surface down with a steel brush to remove pieces of the surface that could flake off in the future, and re-season. "

            In your case, it is best to remove all of the existing seasoned surface and restart. You can do it the way you mentioned by steel brush. You can also bake off the seasoning using the self cleaning cycle of an oven.

            1. If you have a self cleaning oven, place it in the oven and run a cleaning cycle. This should be sufficient in burning off all the existing seasoning, allowing you to start fresh.

              Then sand or chemically remove any rust. Wash and quickly dry the pan and heat to around 200 to open the pours. Add a very thin layer of flaxseed oil and wipe dry with a paper towel. Heat in the oven at 500 F for about 70-80 min. and let cool in the oven for another hour or two.

              Repeat the light seasoning and reheating a few times or spread it over several days but build the seasoning with multiple thin layers and not a few heavy ones.