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Mar 26, 2014 10:12 PM

Help Cast iron pros, Cleaned pans of rust and now is full of rust.

well, I got a 6 piece set of unmarked made in USA smooth cast iron pans from a garage sell for $10 they had rust on them.

So I fired up the ol fireplace, stuck them underneath the wood rack for the burning embers to fall into to burn off the gunk and rust, then rinsed them off, dried, then let them soak in a bath of vinegar and checked every 10 minutes, to pull out and scrub with a SOS pad to remove the rust then risned off with water, stuck in the preheated oven at 400 degrees. And by the time I pulled them out they literally, had 100% more rust than before I cleaned them off.

Should I next time, take them from the vinegar bath straight to the oven? I noticed when I didn't rinse them off with tap water they didn't re rust. They only left "Black/grey" gunk on a paper towel when I dried them off. So I then used coarse salt, and oil to try to get the rust off, which worked, but to no avail every wipe with a clean towel came out BLACK!

Was debating on just using 220 grit sandpaper to sand off the surface rust that comes after washing and rinsing? They are grey/silver like they just came from the factory but water literally caused them to turn to rust in a blink of an eye.

Or Should I just wipe off as much of the surface rust as possible before tossing on a thin coat of oil and season them? not sure if Rust is a good thing to eat.

Kind of just made me feel bad about wasting a lot of firewood, and time to have them turn out so rusty after cleaning that even when the rust was wiped off, a paper towel still turned BLACK from rubbing the pans.

first set on non "Lodge" pans that came pre "seasoned" I mean these did come pre-seasoned, but with RUUST :P From the site they seem to be unmarked Griswold, and wagners.

I googled that oxidation seems to make them rust fast when cleaned to the bare metal, but this freaks me out since I never had to deal with it before.

-thanks, figured I'd ask here since lots of people seem to be smart on cast iron pans.

If they keep beign a pain, gonna just take those to goodwill and just keep using my lodges that come pre ready to roll. But people on here made me want to try the "classic" cast iron pans.

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  1. lots of threads on the care of cast-iron to search among. but always remember this: ALL metal rusts, stainless steel will eventually rust, aluminum rusts so fast that if you're trying to weld with a MIG or TIG, you have to be constantly brushing to maintain the electrical contact, neither rusts far down but they do. Cor-ten steel rusts, again only down maybe 1/4 inch or so. but rust never sleeps.

    cast iron is more porous and susceptible to moisture than other types which is its appeal and its pitfall. the black gunk isn't necessarily bad, wipe out the excess and do oil them.

    2 Replies
    1. re: hill food

      I did search loads of sites, but with limited time figured someone would respond faster than searching. did everything loads of sites said.

      None out of all the googles searches I came across said "warning, your pans will be full of rust after cleaning off the rust they used to have."

      I can use a full roll of paper towels, and they still will be black every wipe.

      Afterall, that's the point of a forum if someone has answers for me and wants to respond go for it. If not, no problem.

      1. re: Sypndranks

        Sounds like you're getting frustrated. First of all, don't be intimidated; it's a chunk of pigiron. The vintage pieces are vastly superior because the surfaces that you use have been machined to a smooth surface. However, those surfaces are still porous and you want to heat treat the piece to a slick surface. Start by heating your oven to 500. Wash your piece in hot soapy water, rinse, dry, then pop it into the oven. After an hour or so, remove it and place it on the stove top. Right away put a little canola oil onto the cooking surface. Use a couple of folded paper towels and tongs to spread a thin layer of oil over the entire surface, inside and out. Put the piece back in the hot oven and turn the oven off. Two or three hours later your piece should be cool enough to inspect. It should be black and may have a stick residue. If it does use hot, soapy water and a metal scratch pad and get it clean. dry it and put it back in the hot oven and repeat the process. Two or three times and you have a slick, durable surface that only requires minimal upkeep. Good luck.

      1. re: Sypndranks

        sorry to be one of THOSE people, but

        I recall one time as a boyscout it was my turn to scour and I had never dealt with cast iron before and damn if I wasn't going to get it gleaming, the scoutmaster came over and gently let me know that part of the charm and flavor is the grit. he took the pan out of the soapy water, put it back on the fire and rubbed it with lard.

      2. Take an onion - I always happen to use white because they are cheap - and puree it with white vinegar in your blender to make a paste.

        Slather vinegar onion puree liberally all over the cast iron piece, place in gas grill, all burners cranked up to high for 15 minutes.... Do not lift lid, allow to cool.

        When you open lid you will have a crusty looking sad mess that will flake off to reveal a dull gray.

        Oil up (I use flaxseed oil) your pans without delay with the thinnest thinnest coating of oil and bake them in hottest oven.

        I wish I still had my before and after photos for the last little rust bucket orange dutch oven I did this with - the results were dramatic and very satisfying.

        1. I bet the bright newly formed rust is thin and easily removed.

          Once you are down to bare iron, the surface needs to be dried right away. A thin layer of oil gives further protection, even if you heating it.

          1 Reply
          1. re: paulj

            thanks, least you where helpful. so was Joseph.

          2. welcome to classic cast iron - it will take some learning to understand how your pans, and you have some good ones, react, I remember being sort of mystified and lost when I got my first rusty Griswold - You mean I am supposed to cook with this thing? Now I have a rack of the stuff over my stove and that old Griswold 8 is one of my most used kitchen items slick black and non stick but it took some getting there

            White vinegar is your friend for the rust - the flash rust you describe should come off easily -with a vinegar scrub dobie and some kosher salt. don't let the vinegar sit though - then wipe out with with oil - don't worry about the grey that comes off on the rag - that's just iron.