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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi, I'm Rikki and I'm new here, and a new prepper. I'm looking forward to meeting and learning from you all. I hope I put this in the right place.

I have a square iron skillet I've had for over 20 years. It was perfectly seasoned and the bottom was smooth and no-stick -- until my roommate got ahold of it. She burned something in the bottom and now there is a spot right in the middle that looks like all the seasoning has just been stripped away and almost looks like the iron is etched. I tried re-seasoning it, but it was still sticking. Then yesterday, she turned the wrong burner on right under the pan which was full of oil. Now it's worse than ever.

I've scrubbed the inside out with salt until my arms ached. I don't think I can fix it. I've never had to completely rehab a pan, but looks like I will have to do this one. Not necessarily a bad thing, since it had a lot of buildup around the top and outside.

How do I strip it down and start from scratch with re-seasoning it?
ETA: I live in the city, don't have a way to build a fire to burn the gunk off and don't have a self-cleaning oven.
 

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Just a thought but try taking it to a mechanic or auto body shop and see if they will sand blast it for you and start from scratch maybe?
 

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Welcome from Minnesota.
Try spraying the pan with oven cleaner and leaving it in a couple of sealed plastic bags for three days. Careful when opening it up as the fumes may build. Then season as though it was a new pan. Once ready to use - drop it on roommates foot.
 

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It's been a while since I've cooked with cast iron cookware, I still have it, just not currently using it. As I recall if you were to continue to use it as you normally would over time bare spots will season back over. It sounds like it maybe more than re-seasoning a bare spot at this point. If I wanted to take it down to bare metal, I'd get a sponge sanding block to clean up any pitting and a bit of coarse steel wool to take off the carbon.
 

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Welcome from Upper Michigan,I must concur with wes762,media blasting would be best,I would try an auto restoration shop, soda blasting (baking soda).then re-season and,smack roommate up side of head and lock up pan away form same.
 

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Just a thought but try taking it to a mechanic or auto body shop and see if they will sand blast it for you and start from scratch maybe?
if you sandblast cast iron cookware it removes thin layers that will eventually crack or warp. Probably crack. You're SUPPOSED to do it with a lye bath and strip it, then re season. HOW I have heard a lot of things, still don't know any of them but elbow grease. I hear you can strip with electrolysis too.
 

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I learned how to do this from my grandmother.

The only time you use soap on a cast iron skillet is when you want to strip the seasoning off. Wear rubber gloves and use a Brillo pad and hot water to strip the old oil seasoning off, and smooth out the cooking surface.

Then go to an organic health food store and buy flaxseed oil. It is a "dry oil" that is perfect for seasoning and is food grade for humans.

Coat the pan generously, and put it in an oven, or even better, an outdoor propane grill, and heat it up to 400 or 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

Flaxseed oil will season the pan via polymerization, just like the old school way of using Crisco lard would do....

Crisco still will work, but it is getting rarer than hen's teeth. Unless you live down South....
 

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If you have one of those $10 sand blasters from Harbor Freight, . . . use baking soda with it, . . . I know a guy who cleans his silencers with that, . . . it DOES NOT mar the metal at all, . . . but it will cut the garbage off it like pronto magico.

I would think it would be just the ticket for the pan. Plus, . . . you could do only the flat place for cooking, . . . not mess with the sides, . . . if you are careful.

May God bless,
Dwight
 

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Use the oven cleaner method as described above. Follow this with washing and drying using the stove top. Now if the spot is rust or really bad get a wire brush you can put in a hand drill or grinder. Once the pan is clean you can fry bacon or simply coat with lard and put in the oven to bake it on. Once done allow to air cool. Avoid cleaning with soap or you will need to re-season.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks, everyone. I am using the Easy-Off method, because living in this neighborhood, that's the easiest. I wish I could go camping, because then I could just put it in the campfire to strip it down to bare metal again. No time soon, though, so I'm going to use the oven cleaner.

LOL at "drop it on the roommate's foot." She has ruined a lot of my pots and pans. I now hide them in my room. Rehabbed a Revereware copper bottom pot she ruined today by hammering down the bubbles on the bottom and cleaning it really well.
 
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