Can you save a rusty cast-iron pan?

Dear Cleaning Lady:

My mom gave me her old cast iron frying pan which is really rusty. I’d like to save it if I can – should I throw it out or is there a way to make is usable again?


Sue C.

Dear Sue C.:

Don’t throw it away – you can clean the rust and bring the pan back to life with the following steps:

1. Place pan over low heat and put a few turns of oil in the pan.

2. Sprinkle a handful of kosher salt over the oil (leave the pan on burner for this entire exercise).

3. With a paper towel, scrub the salt into the bottom of the pan, lifting the rust from the pan bottom. Continue scrubbing until all the rust is gone.

4. Rinse pan thoroughly and place back on burner over low heat and dry thoroughly with a paper towel (while pan is on burner). Then drizzle some oil in the bottom of the pan and rub in with a clean paper towel – this will seal the pan.

Then you are done!

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