How To Clean Cast Iron Skillet Rust - Ultimate Guide - The Cookware Spot

How To Clean Cast Iron Skillet Rust – Ultimate Guide

Are you struggling to remove rust from your cast iron skillet? Don’t worry; I’ve got you covered. Cast iron skillets are great for cooking but require special care to maintain their quality. Rust can quickly form on these skillets, but with the proper cleaning techniques, you can restore them to their former glory.

In this article, I will guide you through cleaning cast iron skillet rust step by step. So, let’s dive in and get your skillet looking brand new again!

Gather Cleaning Materials

Gater Cleaning Materials

Before we begin, let’s gather the necessary cleaning materials. You’ll need:

  • Warm water
  • Mild dish soap
  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar
  • Sponge or scrub brush
  • Steel wool or scrub pad
  • Lint-free cloth or paper towels
  • Vegetable oil or cast iron seasoning oil

Remove Rust from the Skillet

Remove Rust from te Skillet

Now that you have all your cleaning materials ready, it’s time to remove the rust:

  1. Fill your sink or a large container with warm water and add a few drops of mild dish soap.
  2. Place the rusted skillet in the soapy water and let it soak for 15-30 minutes.
  3. Use a sponge or scrub brush to scrub away the rust gently. Avoid using steel wool or abrasive materials at this stage.
  4. Rinse the skillet thoroughly with warm water to remove any soap residue.
  5. Dry the skillet completely using a lint-free cloth or paper towel.

Use Baking Soda for Heavier Rust

Use Baking Soda for Heavier Rust

If you have stubborn rust that hasn’t been completely removed, you can use baking soda to tackle it:

  1. Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda onto the rusted areas of the skillet.
  2. Using a damp sponge or scrub brush, scrub the baking soda into the rusted spots in a circular motion.
  3. Let the baking soda sit on the skillet for about 10 minutes.
  4. Rinse the skillet with warm water to remove the baking soda and any loosened rust particles.
  5. Dry the skillet thoroughly before moving on to the next step.

Dry and Season the Skillet

Now that your skillet is rust-free, it’s essential to dry and season it properly to prevent future rust:

  1. Place the skillet on a stovetop burner over low heat to evaporate any remaining moisture.
  2. Once the skillet is dry, turn off the heat and let it cool down completely.
  3. Apply a thin layer of vegetable oil or cast iron seasoning oil to the entire surface of the skillet, including the handle.
  4. Use a lint-free cloth or paper towel to wipe off any excess oil.
  5. Place the skillet in a preheated oven at 350°F (175°C) for an hour. This process helps the oil bond with the skillet’s surface, creating a non-stick coating and preventing rust.
  6. After an hour, turn off the oven and let the skillet cool down in the oven.
  7. Your cast iron skillet is now clean, rust-free, and seasoned!


Following these simple steps, you can easily clean cast iron skillet rust and keep your skillet in excellent condition. Remember to gather the necessary cleaning materials, remove the rust using soap and water, and tackle stubborn rust with baking soda. Finally, dry and season the skillet properly to prevent future rust. With regular maintenance, your cast iron skillet will continue serving you for years.


1. Can I clean a rusted cast iron skillet with vinegar?

Yes, vinegar can remove rust from a cast iron skillet. You can soak the skillet in equal parts vinegar and water for a few hours, then scrub away the rust with a sponge or scrub brush.

2. Can I use steel wool to remove rust from my cast iron skillet?

While steel wool can be effective in removing rust, it can also damage the seasoning of your skillet. It is better to start with a softer scrub brush or sponge and only use steel wool if the rust is stubborn and won’t come off with gentler methods.

3. How often should I season my cast iron skillet?

It is recommended to season your cast iron skillet after every use. This helps maintain its non-stick coating and prevents rust. However, if the skillet develops rust, removing it before applying a new seasoning is essential.

4. Can I use soap to clean my cast iron skillet?

Yes, you can use mild dish soap to clean your cast iron skillet. Just rinse it thoroughly and dry it immediately after washing to prevent moisture from causing rust.

5. Is it normal for my cast iron skillet to develop rust?

Cast iron skillets can develop rust if not correctly maintained. However, with regular cleaning, seasoning, and proper storage, you can prevent rust from forming and keep your skillet in excellent condition.

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