Cleaning Cast Iron

I made a huge mistake and put the cast iron stove top burner covers in my oven during its cleaning cycle. They came out with what looks like white spots all over the racks.

The cast iron itself is not shiny - it has a matte surface and rough feel so I’m sure that it’s not coated with anything, just plain cast iron.

Does anyone know how to clean this up? I’m wondering about vegetable oil but have been too scared of screwing it up further.

Any help would be really appreciated as I have a party here next weekend. Wanna come? haha

Cast iron is virtually indestructible. Scrub the spots off, coat lightly with veg oil, put back. They may smoke a bit as the oil will burn. Just open the windows so you don’t set off your smoke alarm.

Yep. I prefer bacon grease myself, and over the stove burner at high, until it smokes a little.

But it’s not ruined, it may just need a few more treatments.

if they went through the oven cleaning cycle might that be just ash that could be scrubbed with a slightly abrasive dish scrubbing object.

you could also season the whole piece with oil and heat with low heat in the oven to aid it getting in, flame with only heat part of the under pan area.

Thanks folks!

I thought you were complain about putting your cast irons into the dishwasher or some numbnuts guest leaving them to soak in your sink.

I think it might actually be kind of a good thing to reseason – kind of a fresh start. Don’t know, but it sounds kind of reasonable I guess.

Putting cast iron in the cleaning cycle basically strips all of the coating off. It is an excellent way to clean old cast iron that you find in the garage/yard sale/trift store if it is unusable because of the coating being contaminated. But now you need to completely reseason the pan. A light coat of shortning or bacon grease all over and baked in. After that, use a light coat of oil (PAM works great for this) as you’re cooking until you build up the seasoning again.

Yeah, these aren’t pans you cook in, right? Just stove top covers? There’s really nothing you can do to harm them. Throw them in a fire, bury them, spray paint, whatever. Archeologists will be digging them up in a thousand years. If you want them to look pretty, scrub them with a wire brush and coat them in some oil. Since you don’t need to cook with them, you don’t need to season them.

You need a light seasoning to prevent rust

even if you aren’t cooking directly on them you still don’t want food stickage.

The poster upthread who said they’re indestructable is right. We’ve never seasoned a pan, and we have several of different sizes and muffin pans etc. Some date back (to our count) 40 years or so—when they were handed down to us.
After supper, we set them in the sink to soak. Then we scrub the shit out of them with a green scrubbie (the old ones can be rather ornate with crevices that would require a toothbrush and/or toothpick to really get clean.) We let them dry and then put them back down in the cabinets. IF they weren’t really dry and get “rust” spots, we just wash them again, dry them and then use. When using cast iron you let it heat up first and then add oil. That’s the only seasoning we’ve ever done. I never heard of cast iron burner cover “pretties” (our folks got the green ivy ones on a white enamel background by trading in Green Stamps) but…okay. :slight_smile: I wouldn’t oil those up either, tho, myself. Messy. If you’re only moving them off/on the stove, how could they get dirty anyway? (Real cast iron gets a thick flaky crust that you don’t mess with. If you do it’ll show “silver.” Looks lethal but just ignore it. After a year or two it gets “right” again.) We learned that when some neighbors borrowed ours to make blackened fish in. Of course it “stuck.” (Everything in a cast iron skillet sticks unless you move it around in the pan adding the right amount of oil and hold your mouth right.) They scrubbed it down to “silver” before they returned it, but after a while with continued usage it came back right.

P.S. You’re not even supposed to leave grill racks in while cleaning a self-cleaning oven. Why would you (leave?) put in something like that? (Just asking.)

I have this website bookmarked. I bought a Lodge skillet at Target (the kind they advise against), and had trouble with it until I followed the instructions and advice on this page. There are also videos and instructions that speak specifically about deliberately removing seasoning and starting over by using the cleaning cycle.

I don’t bookmark much, but this page is so useful I keep it around. It wasn’t until after following this page that my pan became slippery and nonstick. Wonderful!

I’ve been cooking on cast iron for years. I have a nicely seasoned 6" Griswold my mom gave me, and a fajita pan I picked up at a yard sale (with the wooden platter) for $2 that is slicker than snot on a doorknob. But nearly all of my cooking is on a Lodge skillet that I bought before they started pre-seasoning them.

Now, the Lodge pan is pretty non-stick. But for years I’d use a brush to get the crusty bits off. (Of course I never used detergent/soap.) It’s not as slick as the Griswold or the fajita pan. So after reading that link I’ve stopped using the brush. As it happens, I have a Coleman Turner that I picked up as a set (with a spoon and a fork) at Rite-Aid (or Thrifty Drug). It’s cheaper than the turner in the quoted link, and does have the flat edge; so it should fill in the roughness over time.

I mostly cook bacon in the pan, often followed by potatoes and/or eggs. Steaks are another favourite. Last night I cooked some burgers in it (which I’ve done before, but not so often now that the SO is living with me – she often doesn’t like ‘heavy’ food), and I’m thinking that maybe the beef grease and crusty bits make a better seasoning than piggy. Any thoughts?

Since this thread was started, I think the pan has gotten slicker already.

Cast iron is all I have ever used. The carbon from grease creates a non stick surface that allows me to cook pancakes, eggs etc with just a light coating of oil from a paper towel. Every once in a while I toss all of them into a bonfire in the backyard and burn the crap out of them. Then I rub them back down with oil and reseason. For some reason beef and hamburgers are about the only thing I seem to have problems with sticking on cast iron. I cook all beef products on a lower flame now and it seems to have eliminated the problem. If for some reason a pan gets messed up then I will scrub with soap and water but only if I need to.

I tend to cook beef on medium to high heat for the sear. I’ve found that beef is ‘self-releasing’. When it’s ready to turn, it’s not sticking.

Me too. Just anecdotal, and maybe my pans are way way seasoned – been using them since I was 23 or so and never stripped down and reseasoned. Always for a steak just full blast, highest heat, for a long preheat until you can start to see little splotches of bare iron, then pop a steak in there or a burger. No sticking.

For some reason beans tend to stick a little if trying to make little patties of fried beans (not refried beans – just fried beans). Oh well. It just scrubs off with a little plastic scrubby thing (whatever they’re called).