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Oct 4, 2013 11:05 AM

Cast iron newbie: Is this rust?

Can anyone tell me if this is rust? Or maybe just scratched from the oven grates or maybe utensils? The spots are metallic looking bronze-ish color. Hard to see on the black pan unless I look really close. This is a new pan...been seasoned only a few times. I tried cooking pork chops, they stuck. Scraped food off with plastic scraper while deglazing. Then rinsed with hot water and scrubbed with dish brush. Towel dried and further dried in 300 degree oven. Ended up with these spots. Thanks in advanced! I'm new to CI. :)

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  1. Looks to me like those are just areas that aren't well-seasoned yet, but not outright rust. When seasoning a naked cast iron piece, heat it in the oven or on the stove before adding fat or oil, spread it around, turn off the heat, and leave it alone until it's room temp. Then wipe off excess with a paper towel. You should do this after each use until the pan still has a sheen after being rinsed out and dried.
    It's always a good idea to dry naked cast iron in a warm oven or on a hot burner. That said, don't panic if you notice rust.
    Scour it off with a paste of dampened salt, and re-season. Consuming a little rust won't harm you, either. People snap up rusty cast iron at yard sales, apply some elbow grease, and have good-as-new cookware.

    1. I don't know, but I know that a cast iron skillet will last more than a hundred years whether you take good care of it or not. It isn't going to rust away in your lifetime. Don't worry about tiny specks of rust.

      1. I really can't tell by pics, but NOTHING to worry about even if it is rust. Scrub out pan with cheap-o salt and a scrubber, rinse really well with plenty of HOT water.Reheat pan on stove top and re-lube... I always use bacon grease, like my Grandmother did. I think a key to success with CI is just USE IT as often as possible. I NEW pan will take a while to become well seasoned. And ya don't have to "baby" cast iron... it's tough stuff that is almost impossible to kill.

        1. These look very minor. They may be a bit of rust, but they may be just chipped areas for your seasoning layers. Actually, the first one looks a bit like minor rust.

          On the other hand, I really won't worry too much a this point. Minor rust spots are not a major problem for cast iron cookware especially away from the cooking surface. Minor rust spots will come and go. They will go over time because they are very thin, and you will rub them off over time,

          The only place to worry about rust is the cooking surface, where a rust spot can prevent the seasoning layer to develop normally.

          1. I don't think those are rust spots. My CI pans have a couple of "patches" of brown and grey where some stuff stuck and I had to scrub at it, or where it scraped against something, its not rust on mine, and the stuff in your photos looks quite similar.

            You don't need to dry it in the oven, it wastes energy. I used to do that too! Just rinse with hot water and scrub with a brush, then dry it with a towl, and maybe throw it on the stovetop burner if you really want to on low-medium for about 2-3 minutes, and it'll be fine (although towel drying is sufficient).