CLEANING IRON—QUICK FIXES
BUILT UP CRUD & GREASE
For one piece:
You well need a plastic bag & easy off oven cleaner. Don't get the unscented
Easy off as it won't work well. Get the original Easy Off Oven
Cleaner. Put your
crud-covered iron in the plastic bag. Spray liberally with easy off, tie close
and let it "work" for 2 hours (or two days—it won't hurt iron).
Scrub with S.O.S. and rinse with soapy water. Dry & oil.
- Many crud-covered pieces:
You will need 20 plus gallon plastic garbage container, can of Rooto lye (sold near toilet cleaning supplies), rubber or latex gloves to protect
your hands and water. Use ˝ can lye to ˝ tub water (hot works faster, but
cold works eventually). It is caustic, so be careful. Put a piece of wire
through hang hole and totally submerse piece into solution with wire bent over
edge of container for retrieving. Leave it in Solution as long as needed to
loosen crud. Scrub with S.O.S. and rinse with soapy water. Dry & oil.
Cover the solution and reuse with as many pieces as you can totally submerse
at once, each on separate wires for retrieval. If the solution appears to be
weak after a month, simply add more lye.
Cover the rusty item in vinegar/water solution of roughly one-pint of cider
vinegar to three-gallons of water in a plastic tub. The item needs to be
totally submersed for evenness of finish. Don't leave the item in long as
vinegar is an acid and will hurt the finish if left too long. Check it in ten
minute intervals and remove each time to rinse, wash in soapy water, scrub
with S.O.S. and oil when satisfied with results. You may have to wire brush for
PROBLEM: IT'S PLATED WITH PORCELAIN
SOLUTION: TRICKY--YOU DON'T WANT TO DULL IT
- You can brighten stained porcelain by submersing in a Clorox/baking
soda/water combination: Combine 1 cup bleach, 3 tablespoons baking soda, and
1 gallon (or less) of hot water. Check every 10 minutes as porcelain or
enamel can dull if left in solution too long. When it is as restored as much
as is possible (some staining won't be fixed), rinse, wash, and dry. Oil
PROBLEM: IT'S PLATED WITH CHROME OR NICKEL
SOLUTION: JUST TREAT IT LIKE CAST IRON
PROBLEM: SHOULD I CLEAN THIS CAST
IRON I JUST BOUGHT?
- Many people ask about this.
This vintage iron has been around for years, passing through many hands and
processes. For sanitary reasons alone, I'd do this. Scrub the
item with S.O.S. or steel wool. Submerge it into a hot sudsy bath and
wash thoroughly. Rinse and dry completely. Once dry, coat
with your favorite cooking oil, all over. Wipe off any excess as too
much oil is NOT better. Put it on a cookie sheet or
aluminum foil in a cold oven. For example, a skillet should go
face down so only the edge of the rim touches the sheet or foil.
Turn the oven to 325 and bake it for an hour. Turn off the oven. Don't
open the oven door. Let it cool down and then remove
it. It should have a nice hard sheen. Put it away until
ready to use it.
Handy "tools" for cleaning iron: Dremel drill w/variety of
brushes, bench brush, long rubber gloves, eye protection, hair dryer for
tough to dry items like waffle grids where blow drying will hasten the
process, spray oil or a tooth brush for applying oil in tight to reach
areas, wire brushes for working on stubborn grease, lots of paper
towels, and many soft absorbent rags.
For in depth cleaning techniques,
try http://gcica.org/ as they have many
detailed processes from lye baths to electrolysis, complete with
pictures to guide you along the way. On their home page, you'll
find the cleaning techniques under the heading COOKWARE.
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