Extreme Cast Iron Clean and Restore: Guest Post by Mark L. Hammond

Extreme (?) cast iron restore.
My father asked me to restore a Griswold griddle & a Lodge pan for him. They had been stored in an exterior building (shed) for many years. This was the most extreme ci restore that I have done.

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This is the “before” pic – I wasn’t sure these pans would make it.

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First, I knocked the loose rust & crud off with a bbq brush

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Next, I placed them in an oven & ran the self-cleaning cycle. The odor was awful…I had to leave the house while they “baked”

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Then I scrubbed them with a coarse, metal scrubber & soap & water. This is the result. Most instructions for c.i. restoration stop here, and go to the seasoning steps. I took the cleaning further.

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I soaked the pans overnight in mild acid wash of about 60% water & 40% white vinegar.

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I’m so glad I did – the pans produced a very unhealthy, rotted meat odor during this soak. I was also able to remove deep, concealed rust & crud. I don’t want any of that cooking into any food.

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Afterwards, I scoured the pans again, this time with soaped, steel wool pads.

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The pans were now stripped to bare cast iron & all impurities removed (note the Lodge pan began to rust immediately, just from atmospheric moisture).

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Close ups of the finish on the Lodge vs. the Griswold. I love Lodge, but there really is no comparison to the craftsmanship of the older Griswold.


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First layer of seasoning. I used flaxseed oil. The pic makes it look a little darker than it actually was.

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Final – after 3 layers of seasoning. Not absolutely perfect, but serviceable. A few years of use will complete the seasoning & even out the finish.

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I want to thank Mark for this comprehensive tutorial on cleaning.  I have included a link below for the actual steps in the seasoning process that I use, applying the oil and baking it in. I did not use flax seed oil that Mark used because I didn’t have it, but it is the superior oil for re-seasoning.


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One Response to Extreme Cast Iron Clean and Restore: Guest Post by Mark L. Hammond

  1. Margaret Adair-Wilson says:

    I love these cast iron skillet. My SON has one. My mother brought ME one for 5$’s, many years ago. It was like she gave me gold.


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