How To Clean Cast Iron With 2 Ingredients

Learning how to clean cast iron seemed like a daunting task for me before I knew all the hoodoo-voodoo tricks, but I have to be honest: it’s one of the easiest things in the world to clean.  Especially if you do it my way, which only uses TWO ingredients, both of them natural!

Gotta love that.

2 ingredient cast iron cleaner how to

We have two major pieces of cast iron in my house: a cast iron skillet we use every day, and a cast iron wood burning stove.  The skillet is no big deal because we use it often enough it doesn’t rust, and when we do need to clean it we just heat it up, add olive oil and wipe it off with a cloth.

The cast iron stove on the other hand, is a bit of an endeavor.  Poor, rusted out cast iron stove.  Luckily it doesn’t need to be cleaned very often and I usually have the cleaning ingredients on hand.  The roof above the chimney leaks so the stove ends up rusting pretty badly on top.  It’s no bueno, but easy to fix!


cast iron

Are you ready to learn how to do this?  Get ready, it’s awesome.


cleaning with cast iron

2 Ingredient Cast Iron Cleaner How To

  • fresh lemons
  • coarse salt
  • optional: olive oil to seal the surface once cleaned



That’s it! All you need for this how-to is a few fresh lemons (more or less depending on the size of the cast iron project you’re cleaning) and some coarse salt. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.

(you have no idea how long I’ve waited to use that in the proper context)


cast iron rust


Step 1:

Cut lemons in half and squeeze lemon juice onto rusted surface.


cleaning with lemons

Step 2:

Add generous dollop of salt onto wet surface.

 Step 3:

Use a sliced lemon half like a scrub brush.  Scrub on rust spots in a circle, using salt as the abrasive cleaner.  The messier the better.  The acidity of the lemon + the abrasiveness of the salt is the perfect combination to dissolve rust; it’s like magic!


DIY lemon scrub

Step 4:

Scrub rust spots until they’re completely dissolved.  Periodically check your work by wiping off a section to see if the rust is gone.  Repeat all over until the rust is completely gone.


cast iron fireplace

Step 5:

Wipe off the lemon + salt combo by using a slightly damp rag until it’s all removed. Pat yourself on the back, your work is almost done.


clean cast iron

 Step 6:

OPTIONAL: pour a small amount of olive oil onto clean surface and rub into surface until completely absorbed. Repeat until cast iron is nice and shiny.



BOOM.  You’re a rust slayer.  How do you like them apples?



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Hello there! I'm Allison Czarnecki, founder + editor of Petit Elefant, a blog all about style on a budget for every part of your life: style / home / travel / family. I do a lot of how-to beauty + style tutorials, travel posts, easy recipes, home remodel projects, and cool DIY crafts you totally want to try. I'm super happily married (to a hot Polish immigrant) and am the mother of two kids, a daughter and son, all of whom are featured here on the regular. We live in the country but we're a little bit rock + roll. Welcome!

1 Comment

  1. Mia Dixon :

    Yes, this is really work, thank you for sharing Allison!!!