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Cast Iron Cleaning and Seasoning Help With and Tips & Techniques For Cast Iron Cookware Restoration

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  #1  
Old 10-21-2018, 08:35 PM
AVaccaro AVaccaro is offline
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Default Cleaning Cast Iron Skillets Purchased Online

Hello. Iím a new collector and Iíve already made a number of purchases on eBay. I did a hot water sponge scrub on the skillets I purchased but now I wonder if thatís enough it I want to use for cooking. I rather not use oven cleaner. What do you recommend to do when initially cleaning skillets you bought online?

Also I recently purchased an Martin Monday morning skillet but there is a lot of burnt on carbon on the outside of the pan. Itís covering it the wonderful trademark. Whatís best to remove that heavy carbon?
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  #2  
Old 10-21-2018, 09:17 PM
GTurner GTurner is offline
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Default Re: Cleaning Cast Iron Skillets Purchased Online

If you don't want to use a lye based product (oven cleaner, lye tank) consider using an e-tank. There is a lot of info on the site to read about it.
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Old 10-21-2018, 09:26 PM
Doug D. Doug D. is offline
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Default Re: Cleaning Cast Iron Skillets Purchased Online

If you are purchasing unrestored pans from unknown parties for personal use, you have to consider that you have no knowledge of their history. Stripping them to bare iron and starting over is the only prudent course of action. Lye or lye-based oven cleaner are used regularly by the majority of collectors, and there should be no reason for concern, assuming you understand and follow instructions for their use. Both will remove heavy build-up as long as it has not been reduced to just carbon, i.e. no grease left in it.

Lye and electrolysis are both the go-to choices for collectors because they act on build-up or rust without risk of physically affecting good iron.
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  #4  
Old 10-21-2018, 09:46 PM
AVaccaro AVaccaro is offline
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Default Re: Cleaning Cast Iron Skillets Purchased Online

Would putting in oven while on self clean mode be a good alternative to the oven cleaner?
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  #5  
Old 10-21-2018, 10:21 PM
GTurner GTurner is offline
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Default Re: Cleaning Cast Iron Skillets Purchased Online

You risk damaging the cast iron. It can possibly damage the shelves in your oven. The smoke and smell is also very bad.
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  #6  
Old 10-22-2018, 01:30 PM
KevinE KevinE is offline
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Default Re: Cleaning Cast Iron Skillets Purchased Online

While frowned upon here, I've cleaned many pieces of CI in the oven on the self cleaning cycle with no damage to the CI or the oven. The only downside to using the SCO repeatedly is damage to the oven electronics/elements although as previously noted you will have to deal with the smell----but you have to do that if you ever use your self cleaning mode for just the oven. I've also cleaned them with oven cleaner, lye bath, and electrolysis.
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  #7  
Old 10-22-2018, 09:53 PM
SeanD SeanD is offline
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Default Re: Cleaning Cast Iron Skillets Purchased Online

I usually just wash with soap and water one time, then use it. If its really bad tho, oven cleaner on a skillet and put into a garbage bg works wonders. Then just wash, and season.
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Old 10-22-2018, 10:11 PM
Ty L. Ty L. is offline
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Default Re: Cleaning Cast Iron Skillets Purchased Online

When my lye tank is too cold to use (It's outside in a cabinet on my deck), and if it's a #8 or smaller skillet, a 5-gallon bucket with a lid makes the easy-off method a breeze. Put a garbage bag in the bucket as if you were lining a trash can. Spray the pan just over the bucket, put it in the bucket, close the bag after getting as much air out as you can and twist-tie the bag shut. Put a lid on the can and you have a tamper-proof, odor free pan cleaner. As a bonus, you can keep it in there almost indefinitely. The easy-off won't break down the bag, and the pH is high enough that the pan won't rust any more than it already is. I've left pans in there over a month without any ill effects. Sometimes I'll reopen the bag and spray down another pan if it's small enough to fit and still close the lid. For extra gunky pans, it's a good idea to open the bag up after a week or two and spray a little more easy-off on the pan.
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  #9  
Old 10-23-2018, 02:52 PM
Russell S. Russell S. is offline
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Default Re: Cleaning Cast Iron Skillets Purchased Online

If you donít want to use oven cleaner then consider using ďfood grade lyeĒ Lye is used by the food industry and in soap making. Pure lye is not a hazardous chemical for your health when used properly. It can be hazardous if you get it in your eyes or on your skin. I keep a bucket of fresh water beside my lye tank to dilute wash off just in case I get some on my arms (havenít needed it yet) I use thick rubber gloves and wear glasses when messing with it. I pull out a pan and walk over to my water hose and rinse off the pan and my gloves. Then they are safe to handle.
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