Cast-iron cookware is some of the best, and most basic, stuff on earth: it's resilient, versatile, and you can cook on any surface from a stove top to a campfire. Here's how to clean old, grimy cookware so you can re-season it and enjoy your pan for years to come.
Heavy-duty oven cleaning solution
Steel wool pads
Wear the gloves at ALL TIMES. Cover the pan with a thick coating of oven cleaner. Place the pan in a garbage bag and set it aside (if the weather is temperate, outside or in your garage works best). Now, you wait. For at least 48 hours (72 if the pan is very old or very dirty). Use the steel wool pads (wearing your gloves!) to scrape off the dirt, rust, and old seasoning. The pan should return to its original, cast-iron gray color. For the last step, soak the pan in a 2 parts vinegar, 1 part water solution for an hour. Wash the pan with soap and hot water and dry it completely.
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