Cast Iron stripping with oven cleaner

Discussion in 'Cooking & Water Purification' started by Toyotaholic, Apr 20, 2017.

  1. Toyotaholic

    Toyotaholic Tracker

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    Hello, my grandmother gave me her cast iron skillets that were her mother's before. They were so gunked up around the sides and on the bottom I couldn't even tell what they were. Very well used and loved. But I figured It was time to strip them so I could put my own seasoning on them.

    I did some research, found that most spray on foam oven cleaner's have lye in them. Which is the main thing for stripping old seasoning off because it's oil. It turns it to a black goo on the pan that is suppose to rinse off. Well really it worked fairly well.

    I sprayed my pans and put them in a plastic garbage bag to hold the moisture and left them for a day. Most if the crud sloughed right off. But there was carbon build up that just didn't want to budge. I ended up getting copper wool scrubbie thing that worked wonders. I even tried a wire brissel brush. It worked well too. But oh what a task. Took me about 3 days. Probably because of being impatient and not letting the oven cleaner work long enough. But enough elbow grease and I got enough off to be happy about it. I wonder what my grandma will say when she sees all the years of seasoning gone..
     
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  2. IzaWildman

    IzaWildman Old Dog Supporter

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    She will probably come after you with a switch! Never tried it, but some say to remove old seasoning, just through them in a campfire and remove them when cool.
     
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  3. RavenLoon

    RavenLoon axology student Supporter

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    Cast iron is porous and will absorb some of the chemicals in oven cleaner. My favorite method to clean up an old cast iron pan is to build a big fire and put the pan in it, or put it in the firebox of a wood stove and burn the crud off.
     
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  4. Makarov

    Makarov Scout

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    I have never tried it but have been told that putting a pan in a self cleaning oven and cleaning the oven will also clean the pan.
     
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  5. JasonJ

    JasonJ Scout

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    Pictures? Before and after? How are you reseasoning?
     
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  6. Bannertail

    Bannertail Scout

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    Sometimes on road construction jobs we had to sandblast things.
    Well, someone brought his cast iron pans to work to sandblast them clean.
    Worked so well, it blasted a hole right thru one of the pans!!!:(
     
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  7. isme

    isme Guide

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    I cleaned up some cast iron pans that had been my grandparents. My uncle had "ruined them" left them uncleaned and untouched for years. I was given them and cleaned them with a wire brush chucked in my drill. I finished with sandpaper and then reseasond the skillets. I gave them to my daughter for Christmas this past year.
    There may be faster ways but if they are centamental, there worth taking the extra time. JMO YMMV
     
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  8. captbrian

    captbrian Bush League Urbanite

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    Pile 'em on a hot campfire for a good long while, they'll come out of it back at Factory Square 1, if ya burned 'em long enough. After using the oven cleaner, I'd do this for sure, burn off all that nasty chemical in the pores.
     
  9. PERRO

    PERRO Supporter Supporter

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  10. manitoulinbound

    manitoulinbound Apple Fritter Lover Supporter

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    I've used oven cleaner on 3 pans, does a great job as far as I can tell, then I season as you normally would.
     
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  11. Toyotaholic

    Toyotaholic Tracker

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    I regrettably did not take pictures before I started. The inside's of the pans were great looking, just all the nasty crud around the outside and on the bottom. There was so much, plus just carbon build up on them I couldn't tell if they were marked at all. Very gunked up. Here's what they look like now 20170419_234235.jpg look it's a Wagner! Wow couldn't see that at all before.
    20170419_234246.jpg
    Couldnt see the 6 before either.

    20170419_234127.jpg
    This is the other pan there was so much carbon build up on the bottom that it was level with the ring on the inside. I could see the top of the R sticking out. BUT uncovered an 8 as well. No other marking's on this pan actually curious if anyone knows a little about it? 20170419_234353.jpg no marking's on the handle either
     
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  12. TWill

    TWill Guide

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    Lots of the good old ones are not maker marked but that means there are still lots of stuff out there that haven't become collectible by brand name and may be easy on your wallet. Birmingham, Wagner and Griswold made good quality and can still be good buys but get a better price at flea markets and antique shops.

    If you use a fire to burn off the old burnt on food just keep in mind you don't have to have it up to forging temps. A gentle fire will do fine and leave it to cool slowly on the side after a thirty minute burn. Our grandma's would have approved of the method and probably did it. Just don't ask cast iron to go from smoking hot to a dunk in water or set on a cold surface, they will split.
     
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  13. SmilinJoe

    SmilinJoe Supporter Supporter

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    http://www.castironcollector.com/unmarked.php
    That site has great info on identifying unmarked CI. Looks like you may have a 1930's Lodge.

    From that site, why you don't want to throw a pan into a fire:

    "There's another form of damage which results, unfortunately, from good but misguided intentions. You'll often hear or read how simple cast iron cleaning can be if you just burn a pan in a fire. If the fire burns too hot, however, the molecular structure of the iron can be irreparably changed. Iron so-damaged will have an often scaly, patchy, dull red appearance, different from regular rust's orange/brown. Re-seasoning over such damage is usually not possible. "
    A fire-damaged pan:
    image.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2017
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  14. JasonJ

    JasonJ Scout

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    Those pans turned out beautiful! They look brand new! I have a similar wagner myself... love it.
     
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  15. Muleman77

    Muleman77 Hobbyist Hobbyist

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    The cleanup job looks great! I've always been leary of burning them in fires, my dad quit that after a couple got ruined.

    One time my trail crew was helping do the after season cleanup. We have about 15 or 16 nice dutch ovens. They cleaned them thoroughly, and wiped everything down with BLO from the tool room!!!

    Oven cleaner for that mess......
     
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