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    You are in: Home / Community Forums / Kitchen Information Reference Forum / Cleaning cast iron in a self-cleaning oven
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    Cleaning cast iron in a self-cleaning oven

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    xtine
    Wed Jan 05, 2011 9:21 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    I recently bought some old cast iron skillets at a yard sale. They were poorly seasoned by one of their previous owners; there are rusted areas and there are areas with gooped/caked on seasoning on the same skillet.
    I want to strip them down to the bare cast iron and re-season them, and I had heard an easy way to strip them down is to put them in a self-cleaning oven.

    I was wondering if anyone here had done this before, and if anyone has any advice. The owner's manual for my oven says to remove the racks from the oven before self-cleaning, so that leads me to believe that I would just put the cast iron directly on the floor of the oven. I am afraid it may get too hot and mess up the floor of my oven somehow (or somehow manage to break the whole oven).


    This is the method I am planning to use to season the skillets; I have not tried it before (just used crisco for my other ones), but I think it looks promising:

    http://sherylcanter.com/wordpress/2010/01/a-science-based-technique-for-seasoning-cast-iron/


    Any advice would be much appreciated.
    Shirl (J) 831
    Mon Jan 10, 2011 11:51 am
    Forum Host
    I personally would not recommend it. The door locks and I did have a friend try it once and it caught fire. Not sure how or what happened but me personally would not clean it in a sc. oven
    xtine
    Mon Jan 10, 2011 2:02 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    That is what I am afraid of, that it would catch on fire or that the iron would get so hot that it would warp the bottom of the oven. I probably won't do it, but I would still like to hear from others who have tried, if anyone has.
    Shirl (J) 831
    Mon Jan 10, 2011 3:35 pm
    Forum Host
    I would find someone with an open fire pit and place it in there icon_smile.gif
    Dee514
    Sat Jan 15, 2011 3:28 am
    Forum Host
    Hi xtine,
    Short of taking it to a local body shop/metal shop and getting it sand blasted would be to stick it in an extremely hot wood fire overnight. Most indoor home fireplaces/wood stoves cannot take that kind of extreme heat safely for any amount of time, therefore an outdoor, inground fire pit is recommended. If the fire pit is not an option, the best method (with the least amount of scrubbing) is to use spray oven cleaner.
    See directions here: Salvage and Season Cast Iron Cookware
    I hope this helps. icon_smile.gif

    (As for using the self cleaning oven method, I'd be afraid of starting a fire - not worth burning the house down over a cast iron pan.)
    xtine
    Sat Jan 15, 2011 1:30 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    Thank you for the replies everyone. The fire pit idea sounds good, but I live in Brooklyn and there aren't a lot of those around here, so it looks like I will have to go with the oven cleaner method. I thought this method would be very involved, but it doesn't look too bad. Thanks for the link!
    Riverside Len
    Wed Jan 19, 2011 12:06 am
    Food.com Groupie
    I've cleaned the cast iron grates of my bbq grill in the self cleaning oven. I put them directly on the oven floor and made sure they weren't touching the electic heating element (not an issue if your oven is gas). If you do this try to scrape off as much crud as you can, gentle use of a wood chisel might work. Be aware though, the oven isn't going to remove any rust. After you get the cast iron clean you will use some other procedure to remove the rust.
    xtine
    Mon Jan 24, 2011 10:33 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    Riverside Len wrote:
    I've cleaned the cast iron grates of my bbq grill in the self cleaning oven. I put them directly on the oven floor and made sure they weren't touching the electic heating element (not an issue if your oven is gas). If you do this try to scrape off as much crud as you can, gentle use of a wood chisel might work. Be aware though, the oven isn't going to remove any rust. After you get the cast iron clean you will use some other procedure to remove the rust.


    Thanks, it's good to know that you can use the oven. I haven't decided yet but it's good to have options.
    PaulO in MA
    Tue Jan 25, 2011 9:09 am
    Food.com Groupie
    I do not recommend cleaning cast iron cookware by placing it in a fire. People have reported the cookware may crack or warp.

    Sand- or other media-blasting will also make the piece worthless to collectors.

    I have a lot of cast iron cookware, and used to scrape it by have or a wire wheel on an electric drill.

    I finally settled on the easiest way to clean cast iron, and it is the method recommended by The Pan Man.

    http://panman.com/

    Oven cleaner.

    It has to be the heavy-duty oven cleaner which is lye. Regular oven cleaners (i.e., glycol ethers) will work, too, but it takes much longer. A lot longer.

    Get a shallow cardboard box and line it with a plastic garbage bag. Spray the piece with oven cleaner in the bag, and close the bag over the piece.

    Forget about the piece for a while. Then rinse it, and repeat the process until it is stripped.

    Very, very easy. The easiest method I've found so far.

    I recently cleaned nine pieces that were very heavily covered in carbon. Couldn't even tell that one piece was a very old hand-hammered piece, and another poiece is an old Vollrath.

    I need to contact someone I know at the Griswold and Wagner Society, to see if she can help me date the hand-hammered piece.

    Here are pictures:

    http://www.thesmokering.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=45511

    Great prices on all nine pieces off craigslist. icon_smile.gif
    xtine
    Sun Jan 30, 2011 2:44 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    Thanks so much for all the wonderful tips everyone! I'm in the middle of a crazy time at work right now, but once it calms down I will try the oven cleaner method.
    Thanks again!
    Molly53
    Mon Jan 31, 2011 9:07 am
    Forum Host
    What's special about Griswold?
    PaulO in MA
    Mon Jan 31, 2011 9:21 am
    Food.com Groupie
    Old cast iron cookware that is smooth, fine castings.

    There are other old brands that are very good, too.

    There are web sites devoted to Erie/Griswold/Wagner and other old cookware, and they have an annual meeting.
    Realtor by day, Chef by night
    Sun Jun 12, 2011 5:19 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    I haven't done this but my BFF cleans all her cast iron and speckleware in the self cleaning oven. Anything she cooks in that gets cruddy, she sticks in there and has been doing it for years.
    deepfryerdan
    Tue Jul 05, 2011 10:09 am
    Experienced "Head Chef" Poster
    I've never used the self-cleaning cycle on my oven. My cast iron gets a good wipe-down or scrubbing if it's real bad. I reseason every few weeks though.
    DaimonKing
    Tue Mar 20, 2012 5:59 am
    Regular "Line Cook" Poster
    Actually I am looking for a technique to clean some very dirty cast iron pans. I tried the self cleaning oven technique one time already. I read your information on cast iron cookware, and I am curious if you have ever tried using mineral oil to season your cast iron.
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