How to Remove Rust from Cast Iron Cookware

Cast iron cookware is great in the kitchen, but over time, it can rust and then you won't be able to use it anymore. Don't worry! You can remove the rust and make your cast iron cookware as good as new. Remember to always wear rubber gloves and protective goggles while cleaning your cast iron.

Here's how to remove rust from your cast iron cookware.


  1. Remove all the burned-on food and grease from your cookware. Spray the cookware with oven cleaner, making sure not to spray any wooden handles. Wrap it in plastic or place it in a plastic bag. Let the oven cleaner do its work inside the bag for a few days.
  2. Wash off the oven cleaner. Scrub the iron clean using dish soap mixed with water and a brass brush. Use more oven cleaner if some of the grease won't come off.
  3. Attach a brass or bronze wire wheel brush to your drill, and run it over the rusted areas [source: Chitwood]. If you don't have a drill, you can try soaking the cookware in a solution of half water and half white vinegar for about an hour. Remember, vinegar can eventually eat away at the iron. Spray the cookware with oven cleaner to neutralize the vinegar. Let it sit and dry out overnight.
  4. Scrub the cookware with dish soap and hot water again to clean off the chemicals [source: Panman].

You'll need to re-season the iron before using your cookware again. Here's how to re-season the iron:

  1. Coat the inside and outside of your cast iron cookware with vegetable oil.
  2. Cover the top rack of your oven with aluminum foil. Lay the cookware upside down on the aluminum foil.
  3. Bake the oil into the cookware at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (177 degrees Celsius) for one to two hours.
  4. Let the cookware cool, and then store it in a dry place [source: Kelly].