How to Restore Rusty Cast Iron


If your cast iron pan has become a little
bit rusty, this is the video for you! If you take care of your cast iron you’ll
be able to pass it on to your grandkids. This cast iron is only about four months old. I picked it up in a place called Paradise. There was a horrible fire there called the
Camp Fire that destroyed 90% of the town and this was one of the few things that I picked
up from my grandma’s house after we went through the ashes. They didn’t really have the ability to go
through and clean this up and make it usable again. I knew that I could. I took it home with me and I’m going to clean
it up and I’m going to show you how it’s done. There is a lot of rust on this cast iron pan
and I know that I’m going to have to go straight for the wire brush. You should always go from the least aggressive
to the most aggressive. Some of the less aggressive methods will take
off some of the surface rust so you don’t have to take all of the seasoning off. It might just take a light cleaning or maybe
as much as a wirebrush or sanding disk. With this one we are going to get it back
shining black. The first step is to clean the pan with some
soap and water. My goal was to get some of the ash off. After that, I took some steel wool and scrubbed it off. Now this would usually be enough for most
pans that have been sitting under the counter and neglected for just a short time. In this case, we needed to get a bit more
aggressive. If I wasn’t going to use it for a while, I
made sure that I put it in the oven at 200F so it would dry and not get any worse. Even after all of that, we can see that there
is still quite a bit of rust damage to this pan and we are going to need to get more work
done. One of the things I saw online was that if
people took their pans and soaked them in vinegar, it would break up the rust and make
it easier to remove. I wanted to test that, so I did a solution
of half vinegar and half water. I wanted to find out which one was better. Now there is some bubbling action that was
good enough for late night infomercials, but if you want to find out if it worked you are
going to have to wait until later in the video. The next step is to take a wire brush to this. We’ve gotten a lot of the loose rust off. We want to see if we can get some more off
and get it back down to bare metal. Some of you made fun of me a little bit for
the way I held the cast iron pan when I did this the last time. I just want you to know, I listened. We are going to kick up a lot of dust and
you’ll want to use a respirator mask as well as some eye protection so you can keep your
eyes for later. Now I’m using a brass wire brush and that
made pretty quick work of getting the surface rust off. When I say quick work, I mean it took quite
a bit of time, but it was a lot easier than doing it by hand. If you want to follow along, I’ve got some
of these items in the description below, but you can also get them at the local hardware
store. The cast iron pan is starting to look really
good. We’ve gotten most of the surface rust off,
but the surface is still uneven. At this point, I’m going to take it a little
bit farther with this strip disk. I’m going to take the top layer of metal off
to get it smooth enough to cook on it again. I’ve done this before in one of my previous
videos where I showed you how to make it completely smooth and I got three reactions from that. Number 1:There is no reason why you should
ever do that to your cast iron pan. They are not stick straight from the factory. Number 2:That is the best idea ever. I always grind down my pans so they are nice
and smooth. Number 3:The people who said I didn’t take
it far enough and said I should have gone with 2000 grit sandpaper for a mirror finish. So if that is proof of anything, it shows
that you can’t make everybody happy on the Internet. If you don’t like that I’m doing this with
my pan. That’s OK. Don’t do it to yours. The strip disk is primarily designed to remove
paint as well as light surface rust. We are using it to remove the top layer of
metal, which will help it even out the surface and undo some of the damage done by the rust. We did the same thing on the inside and took
just the top layer off so the food won’t stick. We also did the same thing to the other pan
that was soaked in vinegar. As you can see, it’s coming off a little bit
easier. So the vinegar worked awesome. If you are ever going to have to do this,
I recommend soaking it in vinegar for a few hours. The rust came off a lot easier on that one
than the one that did not soak. With only a little bit of work, it’s looking
a lot better than it was before. So now what I’m going to do is rinse this
off in the sink and throw it in the oven at 200F to dry. Then I’m going to take a shower and get all
this nasty stuff off. The next step is to season it up with some
flax seed oil. So that way it doesn’t rust again. I just finished the seasoning process and I want to show you exactly what I did so you can recreate it. The first step to seasoning your cast iron
is to preheat it just hot enough so you can’t touch it. This makes it easy for the second step, which
is to coat it with a very thin layer of oil. Something like flaxseed or olive oil and canola
would work too. Flaxseed tends to last a bit longer and give
a better finish. Once you’ve covered the entire pan with oil,
get a dry paper towel or a lint free cloth, which most people prefer. Then wipe down the pan and remove as much
oil as possible. The reason you do that is because you don’t
want to get a bunch of sticky stuff. A lot of times if you have too much oil, you’ll
have sticky bits on the pan and the seasoning won’t be quite right. In this case, it’s nice and smooth because
I did it in really thin layers. Then, you put it on the BBQ at 400 – 450F
or in your oven if you want to make the people in your house mad. Then burn it for about an hour. Let it cool in the oven or on the grill. Then repeat that process 2-3 times and you
should have a pretty good seasoning when you are done. These pans were destined for the trash heap,
but with a little bit of effort, we got them in workable condition. We figured it would be rude to send it back
without making sure it worked. So Mrs. Grill Top Experience helped me make
a loaf of sourdough inside the cast iron. She left me in charge of making sure that
it baked right and it came out looking awesome. Actually, it was a little undercooked, but
you wouldn’t know by looking at it. Let’s pretend it was perfect. One question people might have as you are
going through this process is whether or not it is worth it. I found this exact same set on Amazon for
less than $40. It would have been easier to buy it and ship
it to them. They would have a brand new set, but there
is something special about taking something that was the only thing left from the fire
at your house. Then getting it back to original condition
and being able to continue to use it. That is going to make this pan a family heirloom
for years to come.

24 Replies to “How to Restore Rusty Cast Iron”

  1. Awesome looking loaf of bread, great pan restoration… But is you grandmother Ok? Is she rebuilding? Is this where you cooked the thin steaks on the outside fireplace? aaaaaand, I know that stuff is just stuff; family is most important and you'll always have memories – but that Karmann Ghia.

  2. Well sure, you could buy a new set. But that one has a story about surviving a fire and staying in the family after being rescued from the ashes. You can't buy that in a new pan for any amount of money.

  3. lmao!! i would do it in the oven and make everyone mad. hahaha!! Nice restoration!! i would have restored it as well!! Thanks bro!

  4. The cat is out of the bag.
    You bake bread. So do I.
    I'll repeat the challenge I issued to you on the ABC channel.
    Give us guidance on baking bread and rotisserie chicken using the slow 'n sear.
    I've had creditable results with braided free standing Challah on a quarter sheet pan.
    I'm interested in how to do bread in cast iron, however – in a Weber kettle with the slow' n sear.

  5. Oh my gosh on the fire. Good idea on the mask, I always have to wear one. And the pinning down the cast is great too. I love the, that's okay, don't do it to yours. Good on you. As for cast iron. I love it and use it often. Love my pieces. Happy weekend, Ryan. Hope it's a yummy one. PS: I agree, there is something about bringing that pan back to life. Very, very cool.

  6. Excellent job. I need to find me a cast iron project. Have not worked on one since this summer 🙂 its something peaceful in the process.

    Sorry to hear about the fire.

  7. I’m sorry to hear your grandma was victim to the Campfire. I cannot begin to fathom the heartache of losing it all. I’m sure she appreciates her grandson for doing this kind gesture of refurbishing her cast irons. Thank you.

  8. Great restoration bro. I think the hard work was worth it. Yep no matter what you do you can't make everyone happy. Everyone has an opinion. I just ignore the nonsense. 😁

  9. I live in central California and the smoke from that fire was in the air for weeks. Sorry that happened to your grandmothers house, but that’s cool that you were able to restore something they thought had been lost. Great video!

  10. Sorry to hear about the fire, but a great video and like you said, it will now be in the family for generations to come. I spied a UDS – I assume you built it yourself? I built mine for a grand total of $18!

  11. Seeing that burned-up Ghia amid the wreckage of your Grandma's home made me tear up. I know that fire destroyed so many families' homes and property, which must be so heartbreaking, but I guess I didn't even connect emotionally with it (even though I live not too far away, and choked on that smoke every day last summer) until I saw the Ghia parked in what one could only assume used to be a driveway or garage. It's only a car, and there are things that were more important that got lost in the fire, but man… Sorry for your loss.

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