How To Clean Rusty Iron Skillets

This hack sounds like it will work really well. I have used salt with lemon to clean copper bottom pots and pans, and the starch in the potato when used with salt should do the trick. I don’t have any cast iron skillets, or I would try it myself and let you know how well it worked or if it didn’t work. If I ever get another set of cast iron skillets, I will definitely try this hack out.


The photos in this post, I found on Google when I googled rusty cast iron skillets and seasoned cast iron skillets. I did not take them myself.


How To Clean and Season Old, Rusty Cast Iron Skillets


What You Need

The end chunk of a potato (enough to be able to hold firmly)
Course salt
A rusty cast iron skillet
A little vegetable oil (canola or olive will do)

Gloves (optional, but recommended)


1. Set your cast iron skillet in the sink and sprinkle a teaspoon or two of Kosher salt in the bottom.

2. Slice off the top of a raw potato. Make sure to leave enough of the potato so you can grab it easily. Use the cut end of your potato to scour the skillet, grinding the salt into any rusty or crusty spots. As you work, rinse off the skillet (and rust!) and add more salt if it requires more scrubbing.

3. Once all of the rust has vanished (Yay!), dry your skillet with a clean towel.

4. If you don’t need to re-season your skillet, just add a few drops of oil to its surface. You can be a tad heavy handed with the oil, as it will mostly just absorb. Rub the oil into your skillet’s surface, that way it’s ready to go for you next cooking adventure.

Caring for your skillet
Never, ever, ever wash your skillet with soap again. Don’t even let a drop near it. The soap will wear off your fresh coating of oil and it will likely make your next meal taste a tad sudsy. After you finish cooking with your skillet, immediately rinse it out to remove any burned on bits. If you need more scrubbing, let it cool, and then use salt and a coarse scrubbing pad to get rid of any burned bits. Don’t let your skillet soak for long periods of time, and never put it in the dishwasher.