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Scraping off food pieces may not be enough to restore your cast iron pan if it has become too rusted or has too many burned places.

Your cast iron pan may need to be cleaned and polished.

We’ll show you how to polish a cast iron pan so that it appears virtually new. Follow the eight steps outlined here.

How to Polish a Cast Iron Pan in 8 Easy Steps

To begin, it is essential to understand that there are only two kinds of cast-iron pan cookware that should be polished.

According to the SF Gate Home Guides book, they include burnished cast iron or polished cast iron.

There are eight stages to polishing a cast-iron skillet that we will go through in detail below.

Step 1: Collect the Required Materials

You’ve got a filthy skillet on your hands. You’ll now need some sanding pads, such as the Avanti and Diablo sanding pads.

These goods are available at home improvement retailers such as Home Depot. You should also get some steel wool, scouring pads, and a plastic scraper.

During the cleaning stage, you’ll also need to use soap and water, as well as lard for seasoning.

Step 2: Construct a Wooden Mount for the Cast-Iron Skillet

You’ll need some wood boards for this phase.

Make an eye bolt first, followed by a hook. Drill a portion for a long bolt where the cast-iron skillet will be placed.

The created table vise can hold the bracket. A 24 is utilized to support the opposite half of the wooden mount.

Step 3: Polish the Cast Iron Pan using 40 Grit Sandpaper.

This sandpaper will polish the top layer and remove the most rust from the cast iron pan.

You may need up to four of these 40 grit sanding pads.

You also don’t have to apply a lot of force with these sanding pads.

You must distribute these pads evenly across the skillet’s surface. Before you know it, your cast iron pan will be a pleasing silver instead of a dismal black.

Step 4: Sand the surface of the cast-iron skillets using 80 grit sandpaper.

After you’ve exhausted the 40 grit sanding pads, switch to 80 grit sandpaper to finish cleaning off the cast iron pan.

The drawback is that these pads wear out rapidly, so you’ll need to get a few more sanding pads.

Step 5: Pre-polish your skillet using 120 and 220 grit sanding pads.

This phase includes a last pre-polishing in which the cast iron pan is transformed into a gleaming silver that can reflect light.

The skillet has evolved into an almost polished kitchen gadget.

There is little purpose in continuing. Your skillet will be smooth and lustrous after using the 220 grit sanding pads.

You’ll be pleased with how nicely this project is developing if you’ve followed each step. Your cast iron skillet will look fantastic.

Wash and dry your cast iron pan.

You may now remove the skillet from the wooden mount and place it in your sink.

Fill a sink with soapy water and use steel wool to finish washing and cleaning your cast iron pan at this stage.

Scouring pads and a plastic scraper may be used to remove any remaining rust from the sanding procedure.

Now, rinse and dry your cast iron pan with a towel.

Place your pan in an oven at 200 degrees Fahrenheit to properly dry it. If necessary, use a cloth to remove any flash rust.

It is now time to season.

Season the Cast Iron Pan in Step 7

When your cast iron skillet has dried fully, sprinkle vegetable oil or melted shortening over it and rub it evenly over the surfaces, according to Southern Living.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and place the cast-iron pan upside down on the center rack.

Place foil on the bottom rack of your oven to prevent oil from seeping into the gaps.

Let the cast iron pan to bake for one hour. Then place it in the oven to cool.

Step 8: Every now and again, repeat the preceding steps.

If you want to preserve your cast iron pans in excellent operating condition, you must keep them looking fresh.

Polishing your cast iron skillets on a regular basis using the steps outlined above is a good idea for proper ongoing maintenance of your skillets.

How to Clean a Cast Iron Pan Correctly

There are various measures you may take to clean a cast-iron skillet effectively. These stages are as follows:

  • Hand-washing the skillet
  • Thoroughly drying the cooking equipment
  • Applying an oil coating to the skillet’s surfaces
  • With a paper towel, remove the oil residue from the cast iron pan.

While cleaning your skillet, you may use a tiny bit of soap or a few spoonfuls of salt as scouring agents to remove any stuck-on food.

You may also remove the rust and stuck-on food using a plastic scraper. If the pan is really filthy, use boiling water and allow it to simmer for a few minutes.

After the cast iron pan is no longer hot, use a plastic scraper to scrape away the char and burned portions. To clean a cast iron pan, you’ll need a good brush and steel wool.

After washing, rapidly and thoroughly dry the pan with a paper towel or a small cloth towel.

Additionally, any black residue on the towel is most likely the result of the seasoning stages involved in caring for cast iron cookware. This is a frequent problem that is not at all concerning.

Then, coat the surfaces of your pans with vegetable oil, seasoning spray, or melted butter. This needs simply a light, uniform coating throughout the skillet’s exterior surface.

The next step is to wipe away the oil residue using a paper towel. Make sure there is no oil left on the cast-iron skillet’s surface.

This is the typical procedure for cleaning a cast iron pan. If you don’t have time to thoroughly polish your cast-iron skillet, you may just wash it instead.

Cast Iron Pan Commonly Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is it necessary to soak my cast iron pan?

Do not soak your cast iron skillet in ordinary or soapy water. This will simply cause your cast iron pans to corrode.

To remove food or char from your skillet, use a scrubbing brush or a plastic pan scraper. Rinse the pan in warm water but do not allow it to soak.

After the rinse, make sure your pan is fully dry. If your pan rusts, there are actions you may do to polish it and eliminate the rust.

Are cast iron skillets dishwasher safe?

Cast iron pans should be cleaned by hand. Cast iron cookware should not be washed in a dishwasher.

A dishwasher may actually eliminate the seasoning procedures you’ve performed and produce rust.

When cleaning a cast iron pan, avoid using a dishwasher.

Is it okay to use soap on my cast iron skillet?

While cleaning your cast iron cookware, you may use a tiny bit of soap.

Too much soap, on the other hand, may create difficulties since it will remove the seasoning from your skillet.

What Cooking Methods Can I Utilize With a Cast-Iron Skillet?

The following cooking methods may be used with this style of pan:

  • Baking
  • Sauteing
  • Searing
  • Pan-frying
  • Broiling
  • Roasting
  • Braising

What oils should I use to season my cast-iron skillet?

Canola oil, vegetable oil, or melted shortening are the finest oils to season your cast iron skillet with.

Almost all cooking oils and fats, however, should be safe to use in a cast-iron skillet.

Also read: Can You Season a Cast-Iron Pan with Olive Oil? + Best Oils to Season

Why is my cast iron cookware still sticky after seasoning?

If your cookware remains sticky after seasoning, there may be too much oil on the surface of your skillets.

You may eliminate the stickiness by roasting your pans upside down in an oven for one hour at 450 F or 500 F.

Let it to cool before testing for stickiness.

Final Thoughts

If you follow the eight procedures outlined above to polish your cast iron skillets, you will have skillets that look brand new in no time.

If you want your skillets to seem glossy and see your reflection, you’ll need to polish them with sandpaper, wash and dry them, and season them.

Before you know it, your pans will be spotless and ready to cook a tasty steak, bacon, or cornbread.

You may also be interested in:

  • Why Do Cast Iron Pans Crack and How Do You Repair Them?
  • Is your cast iron pan causing your food to turn black? Here’s what you should do!
  • How Can You Know How Old a Cast Iron Skillet Is?
  • 3 Simple Methods for Cleaning the Exterior of a Cast-Iron Skillet
  • Cast-iron Skillet Seasoned vs. Unseasoned
  • How to Restore Pans to Like New Condition?
  • Is Cooking in a Rusted Cast Iron Pan Safe?


What do you use to buff a cast iron skillet for the first time?

Apply a Thin Layer of Neutral Oil to the Pan

To begin, coat the pan with a neutral oil, such as canola or vegetable oil, using a paper towel (including the bottom and handle of the pan). Wipe away any surplus oil so that there is no obvious pooling oil – the oil should just cover the metal. The pan should be almost dry to the touch.

How do I make my cast iron smooth?

Use an electric hand sander to sand a piece of 80-grit sandpaper. Sand the interior of your cast piece to start. Be careful you get the bottom and at least halfway up the sides. Sand the cast until it is smooth.

How do you keep cast iron shiny?

To keep the seasoning, oil the pan after each use by returning it to the burner over medium-low heat after cleaning (see below) and rubbing it down with oil and paper towels until it’s smooth and shiny with no visible residue.

Can you polish cast iron to be smooth?

Older skillets were originally polished before being sold as part of the production process, but when cast iron sales increased in the 1950s, many producers abandoned the polishing phase. As a result, most contemporary cast iron skillets have a somewhat lumpy surface that can only be smoothed down via repeated usage and seasoning.

What oil should I rub on my cast iron?

Any cooking oils and fats may be used to season cast iron, but Lodge recommends vegetable oil, melted shortening, or canola oil, like our Seasoning Spray, due to availability, cost, efficacy, and having a high smoke point.

Why doesn’t my cast iron look shiny?

Certain cast-iron skillets, such as those manufactured by Lodge, come pre-seasoned. They have a smooth, non-greasy, and gently lacquered surface. Those that aren’t pre-seasonsed have a matte gray finish until they’re seasoning, at which time they shine and become closer to black in color.

How do you make cast iron look new?

Cast Iron Restoration
Invert the pan in the sink and sprinkle with baking soda.
Several squirts of dishwashing liquid…
Remove rust and dirt using a scrub brush.
With additional baking soda and a scrub pad, clean the pan.
Thoroughly rinse and dry your hair.
Additional information…•May 1, 2020