This video is a walkthrough on how to recover a rusty or stripped carbon steel pan. Below the video are step-by-step written instructions of the process.
Rust and stripped seasoning on a carbon steel pan can be a common issue, but it is fixable. Here are the steps to fix a rusty or stripped pan:
From left to right: copper scrubbing pad for lighter removal | stainless steel scrubber for medium removal | heavy duty grill scrubbing pad for heavy removal.
Select the sponge for the amount of residue you are trying to remove from the pan.
You'll be breaking all the cardinal rules of carbon steel within these first steps. Grab an abrasive sponge and dish soap and head on over to your sink.
Select your oil for reseasoning. High-smoke point oils for seasoning such as grapeseed, flaxseed and vegetable oil are best. Have a pile of paper towels on hand, one to apply oil to and one fresh one.
Give your pan a good wash removing all rust and residue until your pan's natural silver shows through.
After you scrub all the rust and residue off your affected areas, rinse your pan clean until there is nothing but some residual moisture left on the pan.
On your stovetop, place the pan on low-medium heat and evaporate any remaining moisture. Be sure not to add oil to water.
Bring your heat source up to medium-high heat. Apply oil to your dry pan and swipe to cover the entire surface with a thin layer using a paper towel. Keep this paper towel on hand. The oil leftover on the paper towel will be plenty for reapplying oil to the pan for the remainder of the reseasoning. For the first few applications of oil, use your fresh paper towel to remove any excess oil left on the pan.
Let the oil cook on the surface until smoking and then reapply using the oiled paper towel. DO NOT ADD ANY MORE OIL TO THE PAN.
Every couple of minutes as the pan smokes, take your oiled paper towel and give the pan a few swipes to reapply a thin layer of oil. The pan should gain go from golden brown to a darker brown surface color to a smooth, dark brown/black surface color. This can take anywhere from 10-20 minutes so be patient!
At the end of your reseasoning process your pan should have a shiny dark brown/black finish. Let the pan cool naturally once you have achieved a level of seasoning you're happy with. Voila! You have brought your pan back to life.