Jump to content
Bayou Gardener Family

Cleaning old cast iron pots


Recommended Posts

About 2 weeks ago I decided to clean up Mom's old cast iron pots and started researching the process. I decided on the soaking them in a Lye solution method which worked for the pans NOT in bad shape but it didn't remove the hard crusty bits. So today I'm doing what I said I wouldn't do, stinking up the house with the oven on self clean loaded with cast iron. Doing my part to help global warming!!

I have every door and window open with fans and bathroom exhaust vents going. It got so bad I had to step outside and use the leaf blower to help get the smoke out. I hope the neighbors don't call the fire department from the smoke rolling out of the windows and doors.

The good news is it seemed to be the worse part and the smoke has slowed down to hardy anything now. I sprayed 1/2 a can of air freshener in the A/C filter and that helped tremendously.

If I keep collecting old cast iron I see a used stove to keep outside in my future, I can't take this smelling up the house. Now I know why every Youtuber mentions something about his wife complaining when he cleans cast iron.

On a good note, I picked up an unmarked Birmingham Stove & Range, Century Series Skillet made sometime from the early 50's- 66 before they started putting "Made in USA" on them. 

I had to grab it since it's lighter than other skillets and was made with the smooth bottom. It's crusted up too and needs work but it should be worth it in the end.

Here's what I'm burning.
the new BSR skillet

100-5173.jpg
100-5174.jpg
100-5175.jpg

The pieces that were soaked, that lid is also BSR to fit the pan in the last pic.
100-5176.jpg

This was my Mom's pan and all it was used for was frying chicken since we were kids.
100-5177.jpg
100-5178.jpg

 

Here's the Dutch Oven I finished last week. From research this is a 1950's Lodge dutch oven with a self basting lid. The bottom is so smooth compared to the new Lodge "Pre-seasoned" stuff available now.

100-5139.jpg

More to come as they finish stinking up the house!!

100-5137.jpg

100-5133.jpg

100-5130.jpg

100-5151.jpg

 

Edited by Rajun Gardener
  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Rajun Gardener said:

I worked on the pots till about 11 last night and finished the 1st round of seasoning, they came out good and should get better with a few more rounds of seasoning.

100_5195.JPG

They sure came out great. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Beautiful job.  I went through this process earlier this year.  I had to leave mine in the lye tank longer than most sources said, but I finally got them all clean.

If you ever have to do this, it will give you all the motivation you need to keep them in good shape!

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

WOW hey look great, I have just picked up three more and an open top that is square about 2 1/2" deep when get them clean will post, someone said that the square on is a cornbread skillet, don't know, the lids are stuck to the tops, going to built a fire with wood and put them in that to break loose and clean up, had two of the old pressed skillets, that is the ones that was made from a thin piece of steel in a press, you have never eaten a fried egg with the lace un less you cook one in there, so gland to have gotten those for sure.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest bigboberta
12 hours ago, Joe Dirt said:

WOW hey look great, I have just picked up three more and an open top that is square about 2 1/2" deep when get them clean will post, someone said that the square on is a cornbread skillet, don't know, the lids are stuck to the tops, going to built a fire with wood and put them in that to break loose and clean up, had two of the old pressed skillets, that is the ones that was made from a thin piece of steel in a press, you have never eaten a fried egg with the lace un less you cook one in there, so gland to have gotten those for sure.

Careful putting them in a fire.I don't know if it was already cracked, but when I first moved here there as a # 10 dutch oven here.  I built a fire put it  and it broke in half.  I had never done this before, I usually do them in the oven on self clean which works fine.

Edited by bigboberta
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

I have had good success with a couple of old deep frying pans w/ lids and a newer Lodge large cast iron skillet that wasn't seasoned right.  I just put them upside down on my gas grill, turned all four burners on high and 'cooked' the pans for an hour, cleaned them up with an angle grinder with a wire brush, washed them good, dried them in a hot oven, and began re-seasoning them.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 5 months later...

LoLove me some cast iron! The wife, not so much but thats okay, I have enough for the both of us. 

Here's a few I restored that I was lucky to find at an auction. Sprayed them down with oven cleaner and left them out in the sun inside a black trash bag.

33589.jpeg

  • Like 6
Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks! But to be fair, this set was barely lightly surface rusted and I doubt they'd ever been used more than once or twice.

36 minutes ago, Rabbitproof said:

Butta Bean....Boy, you are a PRO at this!!  They look brand new!

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, but I have seen the older pics of the crummy ones you have done so well. I love cast iron pots and skillets. I have a goodly supply..covered stew pots, several sized skillets, stick corn bread muffin one,etc,etc. They are my favorite....love that you bring them back for use.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

My father passed away at the end our last year and I inherited one of his cast iron cauldrons. Its too big to fit in the oven, so I can't used that method to reclaim it. As you can see, other than rust, its in pretty good shape.  Has anyone reconditioned something like that. I've seen some videos on Youtube but was wondering if anyone has any actual experience with that? 

 

IMG_4566.jpg

Edited by T-Boy
Link to post
Share on other sites

The fire method should work for this but remember that you need only get it hot enough for the pot to be cleaned. 400 degrees is about all you need. Plan to heat it up slowly to that temp, keep it at 400 area then cool it down slowly so you don't warp or crack it. I'd turn it upside down over the heat and up off the ground so you can feed the fire. Get one of those digital infrared thermometers they can be quite handy.

A pot this size was ment for wash water heating or chicken scalding and maybe even for heating water for hog scalding water. It's to small for dipping a hog though. So that said seasoning for this would be oiled only to keep it from rusting. Seasoning for non stick is for griddles, frypans, muffin pans, cornbread pans and dutch ovens/roasters. 

Nice old cauldron you have there. See many made into planters around here. Problem is being up north they sit out winters and break in one or two years due to freezing. Such a shame. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I thought I posted this last night. It's in good shape and won't take much to get it back in shape, nice pot!

If it's just rust I would soak it in a 50/50 vinegar/water solution till it cleans up, soak it for a while then  scrub with steelwool till it washes off without a rust color. It might take a few hours soaking to a day and you'll know when all the rust is gone when you rinse it off.

Make sure once it's clean and rinsed good to dry it with heat and as soon as it's dry put a coat of oil on it. I think I would use a crawfish/fish fry burner set on low heat and also use a weed burner set on low to dry the top part and also to season it.

If it has crud on it and you want it cleaned, use a large garbage bag to wrap it up in after you spray it down with oven cleaner. Wear gloves and a mask, those fumes can be bad. Make sure you rinse it good if you use oven cleaner then use the same thing as above to dry and season it.

Seasoning goes fast on a crawfish burner, you'll know the seasoning is working when you see the oil smoking then stop. Be careful seasoning that big pot, you don't want to crank up the heat all at once. Let it get hot slowly to the smoking point then rotate the pot so it heats evenly.

 

I hope that makes sense

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks that does make sense. Gonna be a challenge to find something big enough to soak it in. Will probably try a plastic garbage can.  I will have to be on the lookout for vinegar on sale!!!!

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 5 weeks later...

I’ve had success with the E-tank and with using oven cleaner and rapping them in a black garbage bag. Leave out in the sun a few days and usually the crud will break loose. May to do it a time or two. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 months later...

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We use cookies to help us enhance your online experience. If that sounds good, click “I Accept” or review our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.