How to Get Rust Off Cast Iron Skillet With Vinegar

Cast Iron Skillet is one of the best cookware there is. This is one of those pieces we just can’t seem to live without. They are durable ,strong and versatile in cooking. You might put it in the oven and stove top and feel like a foodie. But if your cast iron skillet gets rusty, you’ll probably want to throw it away. It’s not worth the trouble to get it clean, right? Wrong.

There are a ton of confusions when it comes to cleaning cast iron skillets. If you want to get your cast iron skillet looking like new, you can do it. Vinegar is about the cheapest, most accessible cleaner there is. No matter how badly rusted your skillet is, you can use vinegar to restore it. Trying To Remove Rust With Certain Methods – Unfortunately, many methods that claim they can remove rust are simply myths.

You’ve probably heard of people telling you to put salt on rust or sprinkle sugar on it. Neither of these techniques will remove the rust; they might even make it worse, because of how corrosive they are.

The Many Uses Of Cast Iron Cooking

Cast iron cookware is also incredibly versatile, meaning it can be used in several other ways than just preparing food. After all, you probably didn’t buy your cast iron skillet specifically for your Sunday dinner, but to cook your Thanksgiving turkey. There are tons of uses for cast iron aside from cooking food. Here are just a few you might need some time:

– Skillets are great for pancakes, eggs , cooking meat, and many other foods so you can save time by preparing one meal in advance.

– Cast Iron Skillets also make nice dessert pots because they handle heat well and don’t so easily burn food. You can also make all sorts of desserts as good as those you get at the restaurant.

– Keep an iron skillet handy for camping, fishing, and hiking. You can cook food over a fire or grill with your cast iron pan. There is rarely a need to buy a special skillet for camping due to the fact that most campers have a cast iron pan.

– For cleanup, cleaning a cast iron skillet is no more difficult than cleaning any other type of nonstick ware.

What Causes Cast Iron Skillets To Rust?

The most common reason cast iron skillets rust is because they are overexposed to water. If you haven’t dried your skillet after washing it with soap, which is vital so it doesn’t rust, then there’s a good chance your skillet is rusty. If the moisture gets trapped under the seasoning on the pan, it can cause rust to form.

Does Vinegar Remove Rust From Cast Iron?

Vinegar, on the other hand, is a mild acid that is safe enough to eat. It will dissolve most of the rust from your skillet and leave it looking good as new. If you’re nervous about using vinegar, feel free to use baking soda or another mild acid to prepare the cast iron for vinegar. Probably the most important thing about getting cast iron rust off with vinegar, you need to clean it immediately after coming in contact with water. Usually, water reacts badly with cast iron skillets and causes rust. If you let the rust sit on your pan for too long, it will be beyond the point of no return.

Steps Of Removing Rust From Cast Iron with Vinegar

  1. Measure Out Equal Parts Of Water  and White Vinegar

It’s crucial to have equal parts water and white vinegar when removing rust from cast iron with vinegar. Remember, you are trying to create a mild acid that will easily dissolve the rust away.

  1. Soak Your Rusty Cast Iron Skillet

The first thing you’ll want to do is thoroughly soak your rusty cast iron. This will help loosen the rust and prepare it for removal. As soon as you put the skillet in the bath, the water and vinegar should react and start bubbling and fizzing. You should see bubbles on your rusty cast iron.

How Long Should You  Soak Your Cast Iron Skillet In The Vinegar Mixture?

How long you soak the pan is entirely up to your discretion and how bad the rust damage is. However, it is incredibly important that you check on your pan every hour. If you see any rust coming up, start soaking it again to get it all off. After a while you’ll notice that the rust is becoming a little bit harder to see. That’s because your vinegar mixture is breaking down pieces of the rust off the pan. Keep soaking your cast iron skillet for a good 15 minutes after you finish up with everything else. It should be soaked to at least halfway up.

  1. Remove your cast iron from the vinegar mix and scrub away any leftover rust

When you are satisfied with the amount of rust removed, remove your skillet from the acid bath and scrub away any remaining rust. Don’t be afraid to get down in there with a brush or sponge. Once you are satisfied, rinse the cast iron thoroughly with fresh water.

  1. Rinse off your cast iron skillet

Once you have removed all of the rust, it’s time to rinse off your cast iron. Use warm water to rinse it off well, making sure no traces of vinegar are still on it. If you see any, wash them off immediately.

  1. Put the cast iron back in the vinegar mix and leave it to sit

You can put your cast iron back in the acid bath and leave it overnight, but 30 minutes should do. The longer you leave it (up to 24 hours), the easier it will be to remove rust from your cast iron skillet with vinegar. Now that your skillet is clean, it will have a nice sheen again and will be ready to use. It’s a good idea to rinse it off after each use and periodically put it back in the vinegar mix.

  1. Put the pan in the oven

After you’ve soaked for 30 minutes or more, take the skillet out of the vinegar bath and put it in your preheated oven. Turn the heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and leave it in there for about 40 minutes. After that, take it out and rinse off any leftover rust with water.

  1. Season your cast iron

After you’ve cleaned the skillet, re-season it. This process will bring back the black color that cast iron has. A little bit of extra seasoning will help to protect your skillet from rust again. Once you’re done seasoning it, place it on the stovetop and heat to 400 degrees Fahrenheit before putting any non-stick cookware in it for about 30 more minutes.



Most of us can’t live without cast iron because it is durable, versatile and extremely easy to clean. If you’re like me, you cringe at the thought of eating food cooked in non-stick pans because of all the chemicals they contain. The best thing about cast iron is that it doesn’t contain chemicals or additives, meaning all you need to clean it is some elbow grease and mild acid like vinegar to bring your skillet back to life.