Cleaning a cast iron kettle

Asked October 10, 2016, 4:57 PM EDT

I have tried to use the Easy Off method of cleaning a cast iron kettle followed by a 50/50 solution of vinegar and water. So far progress is quite slow. Is there a method that can remove the rust and residue faster, such as naval jelly, and can it then be a safe kettle to use? I need to clarify that this is a kettle manufactured in 1920, and it was covered with dust, rust and grime when I started. I found the suggestions for cleaning the mess on the Internet with several variations, but basically the recommended the same thing followed by a rather intensive re-conditioning with oil or grease and the oven.

Washington County Oregon

2 Responses

There happens to be a cast iron cookware manufacturer in the Portland area. Finex and Lodge Cast Iron Cookware, a common brand available in local sporting goods stores, recommend the use of steel wool to scrub away rust and debris. You may want to start with a medium grade and then move onto a fine grade as the debris is removed. Follow that up with careful washing and re-seasoning to prevent rust from forming again.

I have heard back from a Representative from Lodge Cast Iron Manufacturing in Tennessee who had some additional suggestions for cleaning cast iron that is very coated with rust or debris.
1. Place it in a self-cleaning oven and run through the cleaning cycle. (Check with the manufacturer of your stove first. )
2. Have the pan sand blasted. Most auto body and welding shops will have this equipment. Many will have done this sort of task before. He noted this was very effective.
3. Scour with soap filled steel wool (products like Brillo or SOS pads)
4. Scrub with sandpaper or wire brush.

Good luck!