My cast iron pan has started to give off tiny black flakes after 3 months of use. Are these dangerous in any way? Are we ingesting iron? There are patches on the skillet that are now a little lighter than their surrounding areas.

2 Answers 2


That is just the seasoning - the nonstick carbon that is formed after years of use - coming off. If big pieces are dropping in your food or you are freaked out by it, simply give your pan a good scrubbing with some steel wool and soap then re-season it.

To season the pan:

  • Take a paper towel and soak a bit of oil into it
  • Coat the inside of the pan with oil
  • Put in a 250F over for about an hour
  • Repeat each day until it has a nice shiny non-stick coating once again

Remember not to wash the pan with soapy water if you want the pan to stay non-stick. If there are bits of food in it from frying or such. Scrub it out with hot water and some coarse kosher salt, just nothing like steel wool, non-stick safe scrubbers are OK.


  • Wow I was wondering why my iron skillet is not non stick. I've never seasoned it, what a mistake!
    – avidenic
    Commented Oct 23, 2014 at 13:35
  • 1
    I like to get the cast iron up to 400 - 450 F to season. Get the oil above its smoke point. This is also good to do on an outside grill.
    – Mark
    Commented Nov 6, 2014 at 22:03
  • one thing I've wondered about this is if you need to do a heavy scrub to reduce it back down to a baseline or if you can "restore" the layers without need to do a full scrub
    – Skyler
    Commented Feb 18, 2022 at 5:46

Wash it as much as you want. The non stick isn't going to come out unless you let it rust. Wash it, heat it on high, put some oil in it, and put it away. Nuff said.

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