Just a few days ago, I had a sweet and beautiful young lady ask me how I take care of my cast iron skillets.
My largest skillet was a rescue! It was covered in rust! But it was a diamond in the rough, it turned out to be my favorite.
My first job was to clean the rust away:
Use 2 – 4 tablespoons of salt and an equal amount of oil in the skillet. Using paper towelling, scrub the rusted areas. Add more salt and/or oil as needed until the rust has been removed.
This worked for most of the spots but there were a few where I had to use fine steel wool to lightly rub (you may need to use sandpaper if your cast iron is pitted.)
The next step is to wash with soap and water. Dry thoroughly, then place on a stove burner and heat the pan. (Do not leave long, you just want the skillet to get hot enough to dry any damp spots.)
Season your skillet or pan:
Coconut Oil or Lard will give your cast iron the best protection. You may use other oils but you will maintain a better seasoned pan.
Rub the cast iron with just enough oil or lard to coat the pan.
Place in a 250ºF oven for an hour.
Coat again, place in the oven for another hour.
Turn the oven off. Often, I leave the skillet in the oven until cold or overnight.
After using your cast iron:
Do not use soap and water on your cast iron after the initial cleaning.
Clean using the salt and oil method mentioned above.
Rinse with hot water. Dry thoroughly, then place on a stove burner and heat the pan. (Do not leave long, you just want the skillet to get hot enough to dry any damp spots.)
Occasionally, you may want or need to re-season. Oil the pan and place in the oven at 250ºF for an hour.