How to clean a cast iron stove of rust

Updated February 21, 2017

Many people have cast iron stoves, mainly wood stoves, in their homes. If you own one, you will notice that cast iron has a tendency to rust if you do not treat it properly. Don't despair if your cast iron stove gets some rust on it. You can remove it. This is a job that is best down outside, though it can be done inside, especially if the rust is not too bad.

Spread the dust sheets around the wood stove if the rust is not widespread and you cannot move the stove outside to work on it.

Scrub the rust on the stove using the wire brush to remove as much as you can.

Sand the cast iron stove lightly using an electric hand sander and 220-grit sandpaper. Sand only the portions that have rust on them.

Wipe off the stove with a damp rag to remove any sawdust and traces of rust.

Oil your cast iron stove. Dampen a rag slightly with household machine or vegetable oil. Rub the entire surface of the cast iron stove, even the portions that did not have any rust. Leave only the thinnest layer of oil on the stove so it does not get sticky.

Use a clean rag to rub blacking all over the stove to give it a new and shiny look. Use a high-temperature paint instead of the blacking if your stove had a lot of rust and needed a lot of sanding.

Allow the paint or blacking to dry completely and to cure for at least a week before using.


Prevent rust from appearing on your cast iron stove by oiling it from time to time. It is best to oil it in the spring when you are done using it. This allows the oil to soak in over the summer. If the rust on your cast iron wood stove is bad, you may need to use a sandblaster to remove it. If this is the case, you have to do this work outside or in a well-ventilated garage. You should also wear a pair of goggles to protect your eyes.


When you first start a fire in your cast iron stove after applying blacking or paint, it may smoke a little and set off your fire alarms. It will also be a little smelly. Because of this, you may want to start a fire before it gets really cold and when you can open the windows to allow the stink out of your house.

Things You'll Need

  • Dust sheets
  • Wire brush
  • Sander
  • 220-grit sandpaper
  • Rags
  • Household machine or vegetable oil
  • Blacking or high-temperature spray paint
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