How to Strip a Cast-Iron Skillet
If your cast-iron cookware's seasoning becomes very dull or damaged or if the pan badly rusts, strip and reseason the surface using these tips.
When a cast-iron skillet becomes very dull, damaged, or badly rusted, the standard cleaning and seasoning procedures aren’t enough to bring it back to smooth, slippery non-stick-ness. But don’t give up hope just yet: Stripping and reseasoning can breathe new life into skillets that are in bad condition. While overhauling your pan’s seasoning is a bit of an undertaking, we’re here to guide you step-by-step through the process, from stripping the cast iron skillet with oven cleaner to reseasoning it so it’s good as new.
Before you begin, a word of caution: Easy-Off Oven Cleaner is a caustic alkali, so be sure to work outdoors, wear rubber gloves, and avoid spraying near your face or skin. The skillet will rust instantly once you’ve discarded the vinegar-water solution and rinsed and dried the skillet in step 5, so be sure to immediately apply oil to the surface.
Part 1: Stripping Your Cast Iron Skillet
Part 2: Reseasoning Your Cast Iron Skillet
- Discard solution in skillet. Rinse skillet well, then dry well with paper towels. NOTE: The skillet will rust instantly at this point, so be sure to immediately move onto the next step.
- Using paper towels, immediately rub 1 tablespoon (for 12-inch skillet) or 2 teaspoons (for 10-inch skillet) oil over surface. Using clean paper towels, thoroughly wipe off excess oil (surface should look dry, not glistening).
- Heat oven to 500 degrees. Place skillet in oven for 1 hour. Using potholders, remove skillet from oven and let cool completely.
- Repeat the prior two steps six times, or until the skillet has a dark, smooth finish.