I have an older skillet that Was used for an ash tray for about 30-40 years and I can't get it to stop turning cleaning water light rusty color. Any ideas?

  • It sounds like you may need to strip it down before re-seasoning. See cooking.stackexchange.com/a/11598/67 – Joe Sep 24 '16 at 16:18
  • Yup, stop with the water and toss some fire at it, or it in one. Burn the junk off it. Ashtray - nasty...but it should still burn clean. Probably one to do in an outside fire, as that would be an awful stench in an oven. – Ecnerwal Sep 24 '16 at 21:26

I'd suggest, firstly, scrub past the rust on the surface using iron wool. Secondly, soak the skillet in pure distilled white vinegar for 6-12 hours. Don't soak it any longer as it could erode cast iron. Once you are done, season the skillet immediately to avoid further rusting on the surface. Hope it helps!

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Maybe heat it up first to drive out existing moisture

Do you have old seasoning to clean off
If so that is a separate process

I would take some steel wool and polish it down
You can search You Tube for steel wool rust
Remove surface rust with steel wool
It might be so deep you cannot get past it with steel wool
If you have to resort to sand paper it is probably a no go
From the answer from SaurabhCooks (+1) clean / scrub with vinegar
Vinegar is weak acid and is good at dissolving rust

Then season / cure
I just cleaned up a rusty cast-iron skillet and I would like to season it

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Use ammonia to dissolve the seasoning, if any. Scrub the cooking surface with steel or bronze wool. Wet or dry sandpaper can be used to remove any remaining residue. Re-season before using.

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  • Personally, I would not use ammonia on anything that has food in its future. I find that Bicarbonate of Soda is a great cleaner, especially when combined with some apple vinegar. I use it on a regular basis and find the solution inoffensive to say the least. Hope this helps – winnend Sep 26 '16 at 16:35
  • The question is about the rust and for that an acid over a base – paparazzo Sep 26 '16 at 17:42

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