Does Raw Cast Iron Rust?

Last Updated on May 24th, 2023

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Cast iron corrosion is primarily caused by the lack of care on the owner’s part, especially when concerning the drying stage, which must be quick.

In addition, allowing the cast iron to be exposed to a damp atmosphere for an extended period of time will result in corrosion and rust.

Short and simple, yes, raw cast iron is prone to rust when moisture is present. There are, however, certain time-tested techniques that both preserve the flavoring within the cast iron (pots particularly) and prevent rusting.

This article will speak about the rusting process and how it affects our beloved cast iron cookery.

Cast iron pans hanging - Does Raw Cast Iron Rust?

Why Does it Happen?

As with most decomposition processes, the rock gets broken down into smaller pieces or melted in a volcanic cauldron and then redistributed about the planet, either as silt or as volcanic material such as ash or magma.

Iron, along with iron alloys, will rust because of the chemical reaction referred to as oxidation, which occurs when the iron is exposed to oxygen or moisture for extended periods.

The end result is an iron oxide bi-product, a reddish powder-like substance, which looks like the soils of the southwest United States in places like Arizona, Colorado, and Utah.


How Long Does it Take to Rust?

The rusting process begins immediately after the cast iron is exposed to water but can be stopped just as quickly with a simple drying. Officially, the quickest way to rust a cast iron piece of cookery would be to leave it in water for an hour.

In a damp environment, an undisturbed cast iron skillet will rust within a few days, depending on the owner’s kitchen practices.

If you leave water on the pan, pot, or skillet after washing, the cast iron rusting process will take several hours. Again variables change this depending on the chef’s practices.


How Can You Minimize Rust?

The first and foremost thought should be to keep the cast iron clean and dry when not in use. Consider having a hanging spot for the cast iron pieces of cookery.

There will be certain oiling and seasoning techniques that the experts use to extend the anti-rust protection and preserve the flavors that were used prior with the cast iron cookware.

Here are three surefire ways to aid your attempts to keep cast iron rust-free:


  • Never leave water on the cast iron, especially when putting the cookery away.
  • Never use a dishwasher to clean
  • Oil down your pans, pots, and skillets after every use


What is the number one cause of rust on raw cast iron?

The number one cause will be moisture, primarily from water. Earth is covered in it; our weather and climate are regulated by the amount of water in the air, and plant life depends on growth.

To avoid this naturally occurring process of breaking down iron into iron oxide will take simple maintenance techniques such as oiling the cast iron after every usage and storing the items in dry, moist moisture-frees.

Water, the number one cause of rust, is easily removed from cast iron and is not an issue.


Common Mistakes You Should Avoid

The most common mistake made by the everyday chef will forget to towel dry a piece of cast iron cookery, let alone oil it down to preserve the flavor but also rust prevention.

Another simple action void would be to use the dishwasher, which can contaminate the metal and become permanent, making the cookware unusable.

Another common mistake is using soap and water on an older, well-used piece of cast iron cookery. This will, in effect, eliminate any preserved flavor or ‘seasoning’ done to the cookware.

Simple mistakes like these only take a few minutes of reading and refreshing. Cast iron kitchenware is known for its seasoning processes.


Final Thoughts on Does Raw Cast Iron Rust

Cast Iron naturally, like all irons, will go through the oxidation process when exposed to water, oxygen, and other moisture-filled atmospheres for a prolonged period of time.

The flavor is the reason for putting up with all of this rusting and tedious care of cast iron cookery. Discovering the process of seasoning and oiling the cookware will change the way you see cast iron kitchenware.

To prevent rusting, just be sure to always towel dry the cookware and store them in a dry place away from any moisture sources, if possible.