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Safety of cast iron cook ware.

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  • eac77 May 16, 2012 02:15 AM
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Hello everyone. I am new cast iron thing. After doing all of my research (cleaning, seasoning, what to look for on ebay, etc. ) I recently (at least 2 months ago) scored a Griswold #9 Cast iron skillet. Unfortunately I had an emergency situation that called me a way for an few weeks so I was not around when the pan arrived ( had an friend pick it up ). When I finally got a chance to look it over and rub my hand on the Griswold famously smooth interior and notice what seems like black oil on my fingers. The pan also smelled like paint or an oil ( wd40, motor oil, etc). So after some more research I discover that some people actual paint or use oil to preserved cast iron for decorative purposes. Which leads me to a couple of questions.

1) How do those of you who purchase your cast iron cookware from ebay insure that no poisonous materials ( motor oil, wd40, lead paint, etc ) was used to maintain the skillet?

2) Not that I am 100% sure that my pan is contaminated, what cleaning process can I used to make sure that if it was the case would clean away all the contaminates and make the cast iron safe for cooking?

If there is not a way to insure the safety of the cast iron cook ware. I was thinking about just getting an lodge (at least then I can be sure it safe to cook on) and MAYBE get the interior sanded down or something (any suggestion on how to do this). Thanks to all who took the time out to read and answer my question.

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  1. <So after some more research I discover that some people actual paint or use oil to preserved cast iron for decorative purposes. >

    Crap. Really?

    <what cleaning process can I used to make sure that if it was the case would clean away all the contaminates and make the cast iron safe for cooking?>

    I am not an expert in this area, but my opinion is to chemically remove as much of the surface as possible with volatile solvent for paint stripping, remove the solvent as much as possible, and then bake out the pan at a very high temperature to burn off as much other materials and paint stripper solvent as possible. If necessary, do the sanding as you have mentioned.

    <If there is not a way to insure the safety of the cast iron cook ware. I was thinking about just getting an lodge (at least then I can be sure it safe to cook on) and MAYBE get the interior sanded down or something (any suggestion on how to do this). >

    I won't sanded down as the first step.

    In all honesty, it may be just easier to get a Lodge.

    1. Hi, eac77:

      Strip it, clean it, and wash it well. Then season and enjoy.

      If you're still worried, I run a certified Contaminated Griswold Disposal Center. I'm here for you. ;)

      Aloha,
      Kaleo

      1. Can you write the seller and ask a question about the skillet? The skillets I have purchased came to me either totally stripped or totally unstripped. The unstripped one took weeks of scouring to get smooth. There is no way to know what was on the stripped ones before I got them.

        You can strip in the dishwasher, or on the self cleaning cycle of your oven. I won't do the latter because if I mess up my oven, its a major financial hit. But plenty of others do this. I don't know why chemical stripping would be better for this process. But I admit I have no knowledge of chemistry or metallurgy.

        If the skillet is coated with cooked on gunk, the dishwasher method won't work. But if there is merely a coating of oil on the surface, the dishwasher method works fine.

        But first I'd communicate with the seller about what he/she knows about the skillet. If you feel that the condition of the skillet was not properly disclosed, you do have options about your next course of action. It is to the benefit of the seller to communicate with you.

        1. OH dear--you should immediately send that pan to me for proper disposal.

          Self cleaning oven or even the barbecue grill will burn anything off, and you will be left with a bare cast iron pan to season yourself. I wouldn't use solvents on it, but if you do, run it thru the hot oven/bbq grill anyhow, to burn the solvent off.

          You will love your pan, and the quality of an old Griswold is sooooooo much better than a new Lodge.

          Enjoy. And fry a lot of bacon over the next few weeks to get that pan in shape.

          1. I would use washing soda, a strong alkali, as a first step to cleaning a dirty pan. But not knowing what it has been used for is a problem. Thete could be some contaminates which would render the pan permanently unsuitable for food use.

            1. Well, does it still smell of oil after you stripped, cleaned and washed it? Remember, I recycle "contaminated" Griswolds.