The method to cleaning cast iron 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.
But fear not: During a visit to the Lodge factory in Tennessee, we learned the proper way to restore rusty cast iron from the experts themselves. A few simple steps at home can restore rusted cast iron cookware to cook-ready condition!
How To Restore a Rusty Cast Iron Skillet:
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Regardless of the extent of rust, there are options beyond throwing out rusted cast iron. For severe rust that covers most of the cookware surface, take the piece to a machine shop to have it sandblasted and restored to raw cast iron, then season immediately. You can start with step four here, or use the following tutorial: