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Old 10-29-2016, 01:34 PM   #1
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Can't clean cast iron pan

Years ago I bought a Lodge cast iron pan, used it once, and burnt something really badly, leaving a burnt residue behind. I tried cleaning it at the time, but couldn't penetrate the surface of the burn mark.

Fast forward to today, I decided to finally dig it out from storage and have another go at it. I scrubbed with a brillo pad for hours minutes, and just managed to get some of the residue off, but it seems that no amount of scrubbing will get it all off (see photos).

Is there another trick to getting this clean so I can finally re-season it and start using it again? Would baking it in the oven help? Or would that just make things worse?

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Old 10-29-2016, 01:41 PM   #2
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Put the pan over high heat or in the oven and let the thing burn off.
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Old 10-29-2016, 02:06 PM   #3
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I am re-seasoning my 6" eggs only Lodge skillet. My Dad ran it through the dishwasher...grrrrrrrrr...I am keeping it in my room now.
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Old 10-29-2016, 02:08 PM   #4
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Ammonia

I know ammonia takes off burned, caked on on grease in an oven. Might work on cast iron. But WalMart sells Lodge pans pretty cheap, if you have one near you.
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Old 10-29-2016, 02:10 PM   #5
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Or possibly one of those spray-on oven cleaning products.
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Old 10-29-2016, 02:20 PM   #6
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If the surface is smooth but the stains remain, leave it alone. Add a layer of seasoning then just keep cooking in it. It'll be fine.

If you can't stand it the way it is, put the pan in your oven and run the self cleaning cycle. That will strip the pan down to bare metal taking off the burned on stuff and all the seasoning. Then you can season it all over again.
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Old 10-29-2016, 03:12 PM   #7
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I think you are supposed to use salt and steel wool. We have a good size skillet that accidentally got left outside in the grill for a while and rusted pretty badly. I Googled ways to clean it and I'm pretty sure that was the general consensus.
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Old 10-29-2016, 05:01 PM   #8
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Those marks wouldn't cause me the least bit of concern..maybe that's just me.
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Old 10-29-2016, 05:13 PM   #9
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Agree, Kay. Mine look like that.
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Old 10-29-2016, 09:07 PM   #10
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I agree with Kayelle and Dawgluver. don't let it bother you.

If you can feel it.. well, there might be some residue there. From the pics I would say there is nothing there. Just a slight colour residue change in the iron. Season it up and away you go. You may always be able to "see" it but not feel it nor will it affect your food.
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Old 10-29-2016, 09:11 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
If the surface is smooth but the stains remain, leave it alone. Add a layer of seasoning then just keep cooking in it. It'll be fine.

If you can't stand it the way it is, put the pan in your oven and run the self cleaning cycle. That will strip the pan down to bare metal taking off the burned on stuff and all the seasoning. Then you can season it all over again.
This is good advice!
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Old 10-30-2016, 05:59 AM   #12
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Your pan looks fine to me. Cook some bacon in it
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Old 10-30-2016, 04:04 PM   #13
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Cook some bacon

This is pretty good advice for just about anything....
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Old 10-30-2016, 04:16 PM   #14
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Upon closer look at all my CI pans most have that discoloration. Never been an issue for Roadfix!
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Old 10-31-2016, 04:29 PM   #15
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I am re-seasoning my 6" eggs only Lodge skillet. My Dad ran it through the dishwasher...grrrrrrrrr...I am keeping it in my room now.
I remember some mother-in-law was so proud that she scoured and cleaned her son-in-law's "dirty" wok with years of seasoning to look new again.
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Old 10-31-2016, 05:39 PM   #16
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This is good advice!
Yes, do as Andy advised. Your pan looks good to me.
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Old 11-05-2016, 01:36 PM   #17
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If the surface is smooth but the stains remain, leave it alone. Add a layer of seasoning then just keep cooking in it. It'll be fine.

If you can't stand it the way it is, put the pan in your oven and run the self cleaning cycle. That will strip the pan down to bare metal taking off the burned on stuff and all the seasoning. Then you can season it all over again.
I want to strip one of my pans and reseason it. I am planning on doing a self clean cycle to get my oven ready for holiday cooking. I usually do a 3 hour cycle is that ok for my pan? Should it be shorter or longer time?
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Old 11-05-2016, 01:42 PM   #18
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I want to strip one of my pans and reseason it. I am planning on doing a self clean cycle to get my oven ready for holiday cooking. I usually do a 3 hour cycle is that ok for my pan? Should it be shorter or longer time?
Your CI pan should be fine. It can handle temperatures well in excess of oven cleaning temperatures.

I've also cleaned off the seasoning from a carbon steel wok in my gas grill.
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Old 11-05-2016, 01:48 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
If the surface is smooth but the stains remain, leave it alone. Add a layer of seasoning then just keep cooking in it. It'll be fine.

If you can't stand it the way it is, put the pan in your oven and run the self cleaning cycle. That will strip the pan down to bare metal taking off the burned on stuff and all the seasoning. Then you can season it all over again.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
Your CI pan should be fine. It can handle temperatures well in excess of oven cleaning temperatures.

I've also cleaned off the seasoning from a carbon steel wok in my gas grill.
Thank for such a quick reply.
I have never had to start from scratch before. After the self clean do I need to scrub it with steel scrubber and soap then dry over fire. Then grease with blue can crisco and bake in 350 oven for one hour upside down. How many times do I need to grease and bake?
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Old 11-05-2016, 02:01 PM   #20
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After the oven cycle, leave the pan in the oven to cool. It will be dusty with ash from the burned off coating. Just wipe it off with a dry cloth.

Pre-heat your oven to 350ºF. Coat the pan with the thinnest possible coating of fat. If you're going to use Crisco, you may be better off melting it first so you can spread it sparingly and wipe off the excess. Too much fat will pool and give you sticky spots. I usually use peanut oil. Corn oil is also an option.

Place the pan upside down on a shelf with a sheet of foil on a shelf under the pan to catch drips. Bake the pan for an hour and turn off the oven. Leave the pan in the oven to cool completely. You should have a nice black coating for polymerized fat on the pan. It should not be sticky.

When I do this, I do three coats before cooking with the pan.
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