Cast iron restoration takes a lot of time and effort. However, it is really worth it. You can strip a cast iron cookware easily by using the self-cleaning option on your oven. But not all ovens will have self-cleaning option. If you are a cast iron collector, then you should buy an oven with this option. It will make restoration a lot easier.
Now, if you do not have a self-cleaning oven and is not in the mood to invest in one, use the outdoor grill instead. You have to keep the temperature high to burn off the coating on it. There is yet another option – use an oven cleaning spray. It's untidy, and risky, but many people use this option to remove old seasoning off it. You will have to place the cookware in the oven for more than an hour. Before you start cleaning, allow it to cool down to room temperature.
Then use a scrubber to scrub it. You can use any scrubbing pad with a slightly rough surface. A metal wire scrubber that you use to clean large vessels will do the job.
You will have to keep on scrubbing for at least 15 minutes, if it is really rusty and dirty. Keep on scrubbing until it is clean. For the final wash, you can use cold water and soap.
It is often said that you should not use soap for cleaning it. That applies for cast iron cookware that you use on a daily basis. It is OK to use soap while restoring it.
To make it smooth, use a wire brush attached to an electric drill. Run the drill over the cooking surface until it becomes smooth and shiny. Now, you can start to re-season the pan. Even after using the wire brush you must wash the cookware.
Pour oil in the cast iron pan and heat it at a high temperature to re-season it. Then take out the oil with a cloth. Now, place it in the oven for a few minutes, heat it, and then wipe of the remaining oil residue. Then place the cookware in the oven for 2 hours in 400 F °.
Restoring cast iron is a time consuming job, but it is not a very difficult task. People are often eager to get rid of old cast iron cookware. But if you have a little patience you can restore them as good as new and save a lot of money.