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The Ultimate Guide to Cleaning and Restoring Your Vintage Cast Iron Skillet

Updated: Nov 17, 2023

You just got a vintage cast iron skillet from grandma or at a flea market and it's got years of bacon grease all over it. How to clean it?


Well over the years we have come upon a easy way with out much elbow grease. Do not sandblast it!


Don't forget to visit our vintage shop!


Cleaning Cast Iron Cooking Pieces


griswald skillet


Items you will need --


lowes 5 gallon bucket


A 5 gallon bucket - can be bought at any DIY place












crystal lye drain opener

Drain cleaner that is lye based















scrub brush

Scrub brush















safety googles

Safety googles or face shield













rubber gloves

A good pair of rubber gloves












Lye is very good at dissolving grease and is use in many drain cleaners so why not use it removing grandma's bacon grease...


Instructions: [Protection gear on]


1. fill up bucket with water 2 gallons should cover a frying pan


2. Slowly pour in a 1/4 to 1/2 a cup of lye based drain cleaner


3. Use the pan to stir the lye up in the water


4. Place the pan in the water and leave it there for 3 or 4 days


Check the process by removing the pan and use the scrub brush to see if the grease will come off, if it doesn't place it back the bucket for a few more days.


When the lye has done its job, you should be able to easily remove the bacon grease from the item. Wash the item thoroughly with clean water.


Now that you have it fresh it's time to season the item by coating it both sides with cooking oil such as vegetable or olive.


Next we are gonna put it back in the oven at 375 deg for about and hour, placing the skillet or pot upside down. Place aluminium foil on the rack below it to catch any drippings.


Let the item cool down naturally and repeat the process two more times. You item will now have a nice dark shinny sheen to it and be ready to fry some chicken.


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