You Can Use This Food To Clean A Rusty Cast Iron Skillet

It happens. You take your beloved cast iron skillet out to make a steak or a sweet Dutch baby. You clean it with soap and warm water and leave it to dry. But, it turns out you didn't get it as dry as you thought. Cue the rust spots on your kitchen workhorse. While you may have a moment of panic about what to do next, the answer may be right in your fridge. Or pantry. Wherever you keep the potatoes. That's right, we said potatoes.

While you may think these are a delicious side dish to whatever you were actually cooking in your cast iron pan, the truth is, this starchy vegetable can do a lot more than just be french fries. Or a loaded baked potato. Or chips. Okay, they can already do a lot of things. But, potatoes can also make for the perfect way to clean the rust from your cast iron.

So, how does this work?

It turns out, the Kitchn says, potatoes contain oxalic acid. This acid helps to break down rust, which is such a culprit when it comes to cast iron cooking. And, the best part is, it's pretty easy to do. The Kitchn says to cut the potato in half — either way will do, but it's best if it fits in the palm of your hand — and then dip the starchy end in a little bit of dish soap or baking soda. From there, rub the potato over the skillet, concentrating on the rusty areas. If your skillet isn't too rusty, you may only have to do this once and rinse it to get a clean result. However, if you have let that skillet sit and rust, it will take a few rounds with the potato before it comes clean.

Hot tip: If the potato end starts to get too slick, The Kitchn recommends slicing off your end and starting again. 

However, this isn't the only technique to use. PureWow suggests adding a bit of salt to the mix. The outlet explains that instead of covering your potato with dish soap or baking soda, instead, put coarse salt into the pan and scrub away with your potato spud. The result will be beautiful, clean, rust-free cast iron cookware.