How to Restore Vintage Cast Iron Pans

Serious Eats has become a pretty great resource for cast iron cooking, thanks to some of the articles Kenji has written on the topic, from recipes to care and maintenance guides as well as some serious myth busting.

One of the wonders of cast iron is that it’s tough as nails, and can last for generations. For those looking to take their cast iron cooking to the next level, a nice piece of vintage cookware is a pretty sweet first step. It’s not that the vintage stuff is worlds better than the modern pans available today—the smoother finish characteristic of very old cast iron provides only marginally better non-stick properties.

Source: How to Restore Vintage Cast Iron Pans

If you do the water/lye approach, deal with the solution afterwards while considering the following:

  1. It’s basically drain cleaner, so it can be dumped down the drain
  2. Neutralize it (slowly) with citric acid (it’s an exothermic reaction)
  3. Check ordnances, because it may not be legal to dump that much into the sewer system
  4. Septic system?  Not sure how to handle this