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I was recently given a carbon steel paella pan with a very light coating of rust (its prior owner hadn't known how to care for carbon steel, and gave it to me and bought a stainless one). There are quite a number of ways to remove rust, and I'm wondering which one will work the best?

  • I have a jar of Naval Jelly, which I use to remove rust from garden tools. However, carbon steel knife forums warn that Naval Jelly can be too strong and etch the carbon steel.
  • A vinegar bath is another method (as well as other acid baths such as citric acid). However, the paella pan is 15" in diameter, and I don't have a large enough basin to soak it in, nor am I eager to buy 3 gallons of vinegar.
  • Some people simply scrub off the rust with steel wool. I'm concerned that this will scratch up the paella pan, which is otherwise fairly pristine.
  • Brasso is milder than Naval Jelly, so I was thinking of just using a tube of that. It's not, however, primarily a rust remover.
  • It's possible that scrubbing with Barkeeper's Friend would take the rust off as well. But it's also possible it won't.

Recommendations?

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I would start with Barkeeper's Friend. That has worked for me in the past. Use it with a synthetic scrub pad. As you know, once you get it in shape to use it, after cleaning, a light coating of oil wiped on with a paper towel will keep the rust from reappearing during storage.

  • Tested and proven to be the correct approach. I now have a rust-free and seasoned paella pan. Thanks, moscafj! – FuzzyChef Aug 18 at 5:47
  • @FuzzyChef Excellent! How do I get some of that paella? – moscafj Aug 18 at 10:54
  • Come to Portland, OR! – FuzzyChef Aug 19 at 1:01

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