I had some caked, hard burned substance (garlic, really, from steak) on my cast-iron pan. I tried cleaning it with a brush, and it didn't come off.

So unfortunately, I put a bit of muscle into it, and now the bottom of my cat-iron pan has bits that are positively shiny and silvery. I'm pretty sure the seasoning came off here and there.

Is there a way to fix it, other than completely re-stripping the seasoning and re-seasoning it from scratch?

  • possible duplicate of Stripping seasoning from cast iron
    – TFD
    Mar 5, 2012 at 4:36
  • Too lazy to find the duplicate, but basically, first thing to try is to heat the pan to 500–600°F or so, under an exhaust or outdoors, wet a paper towel slightly with soy oil, and wipe it over the bare part. It should smoke instantly. Once its finished smoking, wipe a few more times.
    – derobert
    Mar 5, 2012 at 6:43
  • 3
    I don't think this is a duplicate; the OP is explicitely asking for solutions other than stripping and reseasoning.
    – rumtscho
    Mar 5, 2012 at 12:01
  • Yes, precisely. I know I can restrip and reseason from scratch, but that's a lot of energy usage, so if there's a way to just patch my seasoning, I would prefer that.
    – ashes999
    Mar 5, 2012 at 14:14
  • @rumtscho did you read answer in suggested duplicate? It addresses NOT doing it from scratch
    – TFD
    Mar 6, 2012 at 10:06

1 Answer 1


So, just answering the new part of the question:

You can simply season "over the top" of the existing seasoning. To do this, you'd go through the normal seasoning process, wiping the pan with oil, heating in a 500F oven, wiping again, heating again. This will fill in the "holes" in your seasoning and you'll be able to use the pan again.

However, you will also end up with somewhat rough, uneven seasoning on the bottom. This will make things more likely to stick than if you completely reseasoned the pan. You can improve this by scrubbing the bottom of the pan with a mixture of course salt and oil. This will "sand down" the seasoning without completely removing it.

You should also ask yourself if maybe the original seasoning of the pan wasn't faulty, given that some of it already scrubbed off.

  • That's what I ended up doing. I did indeed get a lumpy/uneven season. I'll try sanding it down. The old seasoning was from the manufacturer, so, go figure :)
    – ashes999
    Mar 6, 2012 at 14:28

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