How to clean cast iron fry pan

  1. How would be the easiest way to clean a cast iron fry pan that has been heated with water in it that had calcium in the water as now it has calcuim deposited 1/8" thick?

    John
     
  2. jcsd
  3. It's probably not calcium (a fairly reactive metal) but a salt. Try leaving it with diluted vinegar in it overnight.
    It a reasonably weak acid which would not react much with the iron.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2013
  4. The old fashioned way is to toss it in a campfire, then re-season it when it's cooled. Whether or not it's coated in calcium or salts, fire should solve this problem.
     
  5. Start with the vinegar soak. Then use a wire brush to get down to bare metal. The best being a cup-brush in a hand-held power grinder, or lots of elbow grease with a regular brush and/or metal scouring pad. Then wash as clean as you can get, soap is OK at this point.

    Once you've cleaned and dried it, coat it with a thin layer, less than 1/8", of high temp oil like canola or peanut and put it in your oven on fairly high -- just below where the oil begins to smoke if you can -- and let it sit for an hour. Then cool and wipe out the excess. You may need to repeat the oil treatment after each use until you get a nice non-stick finish.

    I re-season pans on the stove top by heating oil until it starts to smoke and then cooling. For some reason I also put regular table salt in the oil, but I think this may be an "old-wives" thing -- maybe more for a cleaning abrasive scrubbing process.
     
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