Cast iron cleaning is something of tradition passed down to generations along with the cookware itself. Some cooks and cast iron diehards dare not let theirs near water, much less soap of any sort, and letting one rust may indeed fall into the book of unpardonable sins for some southerners.
So, you love your cast iron skillets- but over time with a lot of use and sometimes after you accidentally place them in the dishwasher, you run into the problem of a rusty skillet. SO what do you do now?
You could send your pans to a pro skillet re-seasoner, but that can be pricey (almost as pricey as new ones). So here is a method for restoring your skillets with minimum fuss. This method is cheap and effective.
You only need 4 things (and your skillet!) to get started:
First you need some raw potatoes, quite a bit of kosher salt, an old towel you won’t mind getting a little greasy or dirty, and a little bit of unflavored Crisco.
Got everything? Okay, the process is this: Put some salt in your skillet and scrub it in with the potato (cut the end off to give you a flat surface). Get salt into all of the rust spots. Rinse. Repeat if necessary. Dry the skillet. You may need do the salt/potato and rinse cycle again if you’re not yet satisfied.
Next, you’ll want to rub the Crisco into your skillet. That’s it, you’re done.
In the future, avoid washing your skillet with soap and water- clean it with soap and a towel after every use. Do not use the dishwasher.
Regardless of the extent of rust, there are options beyond discarding rusted cast iron. Most commonly, neglect or moisture results in what’s termed “profile rusting,” which can be seen and felt on the cookware.