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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 12-29-2017, 02:46 PM
P.Legrand P.Legrand is offline
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Default Question About Cleaning Burnt Food Residue.

Hello all,

It is a pleasure to find and participate in this forum and great database of information. I am 22 years old and just started learning and reading about cast iron over the past few months.

This started when I found an old gate marked dutch oven in a shed at my grandparents house. It was very rusty but I used vinegar and steel wool to clean it and strip the seasoning. To make a long story short, it cleaned up well and I seasoned and used it for the past few months. I love the dutch oven but I realized it had a fairly rough surface compared to some of the skillets I saw on the internet.

I decided to acquire an old Griswold skillet. So yesterday I went out and bought a smaller Griswold no. 6 "699 A" 9-inch from a man who told me he cleaned it with electrolysis and then scrubbed it and re-seasoned. From what I could see he did an excellent job.

TO THE POINT SKIPPING THE DETAILS
Last night I made some flour tortillas in the skillet and it worked excellent. However, I burned the first one pretty badly. When I went to clean the pan, I used a plastic scraper and plastic brush to remove the burnt food.

In the end it was impossible to remove all of the food residue and so I just left the last bit and my question is Should I be trying to clean this last bit off every time I use my cast iron? I don't want to strip the seasoning and I care more about cooking than aesthetics. I simply want to know if there is a way to remove that without stripping the seasoning. I tried using kosher salt, heating the pan and washing with warm water to steam clean it a few times. It just won't come off with plastic brushs and soft sponges. I even tried a green scouring pad and that's when I stopped. I sort of regret not cooking bacon first So I came to ask the experts.

Thank you so much for your help and sorry for rambling on.

P.Legrand
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  #2  
Old 12-29-2017, 03:27 PM
Doug D. Doug D. is offline
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Default Re: Question About Cleaning Burnt Food Residue.

Usually, simmering a little water in the pan or even letting room temp water sit in the pan for several minutes will soften recently stuck residue enough to let it be scrubbed off. It looks more like a stain from the photo. Could just be some polymerized oil, which is not going to scrub off easily, essentially a spot of seasoning. It wasn't still hot when you used the plastic brush/scraper, was it?
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Old 12-29-2017, 04:47 PM
P.Legrand P.Legrand is offline
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Default Re: Question About Cleaning Burnt Food Residue.

Thanks for the help Doug. This stuff is really caked into the pan. It simply feels like a bunch of rough spots in the skillet's seasoning and the rest is smooth like before. At first I washed it after it cooled down but then I tried warming it up and washing with warm water. So yes I have used plastic brush and scraper when it is warm. I wanted to create a poll that said "Clean it" or "Leave it". The photo I uploaded of the residue wasn't very good. I just made a screen cap and tried to insert it but it won't work so I'll just post the link here: http://x-v.it/yqgll7

[SIZE=1]---------- Post added at 04:47 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:36 PM ----------[/SIZE]

Currently simmering a cup of water and will post the results.

Last edited by P.Legrand; 12-29-2017 at 04:35 PM.
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Old 12-29-2017, 04:49 PM
Doug D. Doug D. is offline
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Default Re: Question About Cleaning Burnt Food Residue.

From what I can see, you have a pan that, like most that have been stripped, has had a minimal round of manual seasoning applied. It's more a rustproofing than anything at that point, and the non-stick surface that will eventually develop is still in its infancy. The advice when starting to cook on this barely-seasoned surface is to use a bit more oil or butter to prevent sticking. I'd say what you have there doesn't warrant a re-stripping if it's going to be a user. It will blend in with time and use.
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Old 12-29-2017, 04:50 PM
P.Legrand P.Legrand is offline
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Default Re: Question About Cleaning Burnt Food Residue.

Ok thanks I edited because I posted my last reply before seeing yours. Thanks a lot for the information. I will try and use a bit more oil and possibly cook some oily things over the next few weeks to build up that seasoning. It really is going to be a user for me.
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  #6  
Old 12-30-2017, 08:37 PM
Roland B. Roland B. is offline
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Default Re: Question About Cleaning Burnt Food Residue.

Hmm, If it really bugs you, try the salt again, with a slightly damp sponge and elbow grease. You want the salt crystals clinging together somewhat, but not drowning in a puddle, even a little one. Whatever seasoning that might (I emphasize 'might') come off, you'll put back in a short time with use. As it is, don't be afraid to use a steel spatula WITH rounded corners when you're cooking. I do it all the time with my skillets.
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Old 12-31-2017, 01:03 PM
P.Legrand P.Legrand is offline
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Default Re: Question About Cleaning Burnt Food Residue.

Thanks Roland but I cooked a few hashbrowns with canola oil and it's gotten a lot worse... Am I doing something wrong? I will post a screen cap link to a new picture in 1 minute.

[SIZE=1]---------- Post added at 12:55 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:54 PM ----------[/SIZE]

Quote:
Originally Posted by P.Legrand View Post
Thanks Roland but I cooked a few hashbrowns with canola oil and it's gotten a lot worse... Am I doing something wrong? I will post a screen cap link to a new picture in 1 minute.
http://x-v.it/yz0ydb

[SIZE=1]---------- Post added at 12:56 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:55 PM ----------[/SIZE]

This stuff will not come off with kosher salt and soft sponge no matter how much I scrub. The only way would be to use steel wool and or something more abrasive. Is this just polymerized oil building up as seasoning?

[SIZE=1]---------- Post added at 01:03 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:56 PM ----------[/SIZE]

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roland B. View Post
Hmm, If it really bugs you, try the salt again, with a slightly damp sponge and elbow grease. You want the salt crystals clinging together somewhat, but not drowning in a puddle, even a little one. Whatever seasoning that might (I emphasize 'might') come off, you'll put back in a short time with use. As it is, don't be afraid to use a steel spatula WITH rounded corners when you're cooking. I do it all the time with my skillets.
Perhaps the previous owner didn't thoroughly season the pan using the oven?
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Old 12-31-2017, 01:28 PM
Roland B. Roland B. is offline
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Default Re: Question About Cleaning Burnt Food Residue.

Good morning, Legrand! That appears to be a stripped-down pan with uneven buildup of seasoning. All's well...unless you're me. That cooking surface would make me strip her down in a heartbeat, and patiently recreate my own seasoned surface. A great weekend project. Since you've tried everything else, and you're certain it was the tortillas that burnt into the bottom, try some oven cleaner. Please refer to this section - http://www.castironcollector.com/restore.php

It has many links on the bottom that will help you through the process
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  #9  
Old 12-31-2017, 06:10 PM
Christian James Christian James is offline
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Default Re: Question About Cleaning Burnt Food Residue.

Toss that plastic scraper and get yourself a stainless steel spatula. The spatula won't hurt anything. It's seasoning, not teflon.
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  #10  
Old 12-31-2017, 06:36 PM
P.Legrand P.Legrand is offline
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Default Re: Question About Cleaning Burnt Food Residue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Christian James View Post
Toss that plastic scraper and get yourself a stainless steel spatula. The spatula won't hurt anything. It's seasoning, not teflon.
Thanks I use a steel spatula for cooking but do you mean for scraping off the burnt oil? I'm thinking of just scraping it all off with steel wool and starting from scratch. I just cooked a mean hashbrown in it though

[SIZE=1]---------- Post added at 06:36 PM ---------- Previous post was at 06:34 PM ----------[/SIZE]

It just looked so beautiful when I first got it. My dutch oven doesn't get the burn't oil effect like this so I think the guy I bought it from didn't do a thorough seasoning and bake routine after the electrolysis he did.
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