It’s happened to us all. The day got long and we didn’t take care of that carbon steel beauty the way it deserved to be treated. We forgot to dry it. We used soap when we didn’t need to. And then, we awoke to rust spots and panic.
First and foremost, don't panic! Your pan is not ruined! It’s no fun but minor rusting on the exterior or interior surface of your raw carbon steel can happen. Rust is usually caused by air drying or incomplete hand drying as water on the surface of the steel can encourage oxidation that causes rust. Minor rust deposits are easily treated. And after you’ve rid your pan of that dreaded rust, re-season it to ensure it returns to its former glory.
Here’s a quick and easy guide to dealing with rust, no matter the severity.
Method One for Minor Rust: The Salt Scrub.
Simply pour a little coarse salt and oil on the rust spot and scrub in a circular motion until the rust has been removed. Wash, dry and re-season.
Method Two for Minor to Significant Rust: The Scour.
Choose an abrasive scrubber that seems suitable for the amount and severity of rust. This can range from an abrasive scouring pad to steel wool or even sandpaper. Scrub in a circular motion until the rust has been removed. Wash, dry and re-season.
Method Three for Heavy Interior Rust: The Vinegar Method.
Bring equal parts water and vinegar to a boil over medium heat. Pour out the mixture. Scrub the pan with soap and hot water. Dry and re-season.
Now get back on the stove and get that pan back to work!