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I screwed up the seasoning on my cast-iron pan. I forgot to flip it upside-down, so instead of that hard, smooth surface, it became sticky and gummy.

Is it possible to repair by reheating it again, upside-down, at the proper temperature?

Or do I need to strip it and reseason from scratch?

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If you don't already use one, I highly recommend using a turner instead of a spatula. Using a rounded-edge spatula causes uneven pitting and wear on the skillet. These straight-edged turners smooth it out and will help preventing stick spots. For example: – paul Jul 3 '12 at 17:36
up vote 8 down vote accepted

You don't have to re-season from scratch, just get rid of the sticky residue and make sure that the next layer of seasoning is very fully cooked on. The easiest way to remove the sticky residue is to scrape off what you can with a spatula, scrub off the rest with kosher salt and baking soda, and clean that up. Then give it a couple more passes of seasoning to even out the layer, making sure to leave it in the oven extra-long for the next seasoning. The extra cook time helps avoid having a sticky spot reappear.

What causes this? This happens when the oil pools in one spot, and doesn't get heated long/hot enough to form the seasoning layer. If you resume seasoning without removing the sticky residue, it will form a bubble of uneven seasoning that flakes off, exposing the less seasoned stuff below. I learned that the hard way.

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Gah. The last time I tried salt, it completely decimated my seasoning. This is a new pan with a single layer. It already has bubbles from previous attempts. I have to start over ... thanks... – ashes999 Jul 1 '12 at 16:45
Sorry, @ashes999... if it's any consolation, you probably needed to season it again anyway, if you have lots of bubbles. Next time, what may help is using less oil and wiping it off until only a thin layer remains. It'll get a more even and less sticky layer. You'll still have to do several passes though – BobMcGee Jul 1 '12 at 20:47

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