The best way to keep cast iron from rusting, is to ensure it’s thoroughly dry after washing, and making sure you follow the best practices such as, hand washing, storing it correctly, seasoning, and no soaking.
Keep reading below for the best practices will keep your cast iron from rusting.
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Cast iron rust prevention
Rust prevention is not difficult. I’ve had my cast iron pan for 5 years, and I haven’t got the slightest bit of rust. What’s better is, I’ve never really put effort into preventing rust, it simply does not require effort to follow the best practices.
Clean cast iron properly
Cleaning cast iron properly is essential to preventing rust. If you leave food in there that contains moisture as most foods do, you’ll eventually develop rust.
You don’t have to clean your cast iron straight after cooking. Let it cool down for a few hours, and then clean it. But don’t leave it sitting there overnight.
To clean your cast iron properly, squirt some dish soap into it, add some water, and scrub with a sponge. If there are any stubborn pieces of food stuck to your cast iron, then let it sit in a solution of dish soap and water for 5 minutes.
Dish soap and soaking for 5 minutes will do no harm to your cast iron, regardless of what others say. I’ve been doing this for 5 years without any rust. And it certainly won’t strip your seasoning off.
Finally, dry your cast iron thoroughly. If you do not dry your cast iron after washing, it will rust. It’s the equivalent of soaking it as you are leaving water on it. To dry it, you can either heat it back up on the stove.
Season cast iron
Seasoning your cast iron should already be done. But in the event you haven’t seasoned your cast iron, or if it’s brand new, then you will need to season it.
The seasoning creates a barrier between the cast iron and moisture in the air, this prevents rust during storage.
To season your cast iron, wipe a thin layer of oil all over it, including the base, walls and handle. Then place it upside down in the oven at a temperature above the cooking oils smoking point.
Please see our in-depth guide on how to season cast iron if you require the ins and outs of the process.
Don’t soak your cast iron for long periods.
Never soak your cast iron for long periods of time. Soaking your cast iron for long periods of time will rust your cast iron so fast, you won’t have a chance.
Ever seen reviews on amazon where people post pictures and their cast iron has rust all over it after a week? Yep… they soaked it.
If you are going to soak it to get stubborn stuck on food cleaned off, then soak it for 5 minutes.
Store in a dry place
Storing in a dry place is essential, especially if you haven’t seasoned your cast iron. But even with seasoning, the moisture in the air can find the right spots to start rusting your cast iron.
That’s why it’s important to store it in a dry place. I recommend a cupboard in the kitchen, as kitchens tend to have good ventilation to prevent moisture building up.
Never use the dishwasher
Dishwashers will damage cast iron cookware. If you’ve ever bought cast iron cookware and read the warnings, you will always see “Do not put in the dishwasher” on it.
Simply put, using the dishwasher not only uses harsh chemicals that break the seasoning down, but it also soaks it for a long period of time.
After a few dishwashers, you will most likely have significant rust. So don’t try it.
If you have a good layer of seasoning, you will be able to hand wash it with ease, since the seasoning gives the cast iron a non-stick property.
Cast iron pan rusted after first wash?
If your cast iron pan has rusted after the first wash, I then you did one of the following, you soaked it for too long, you used the dishwasher or you didn’t dry it thoroughly. If you avoid those three practices when washing your cast iron, it will not rust.
How fast does cast iron rust?
Cast iron can rust at various speeds. If you soak it in water, it’s going to rust within an hour, if it’s left in a damp environment, it may take a few days, and if you leave water on it after washing, it will take several hours.
The severity and time it takes for your cast iron to rust all depends on the practices you follow.
But simply put, if you follow the practices above, your cast iron will not rust.