How to Polish Cast Iron

Written by michelle hogan
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How to Polish Cast Iron
Polishing ornate cast iron requires work. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Cast iron is a rugged, durable material used for pots, pans, wood stoves and many other appliances and furnishings. While a cast-iron pan may work best seasoned and unpolished, decorative finishes on a wood stove can be brought to a shine with cleaning and polishing. Before deciding if your cast-iron piece needs to be polished, determine how you will use it. If it's a piece best suited for decor like fireplace andirons, polishing may be in order.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Sandpaper
  • Metal polish or WD-40
  • 0000-grade steel wool
  • Clean rags

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  1. 1

    Clean your cast-iron piece first with a scrub brush dipped in warm, soapy water. If your cast iron is very greasy, consider using a degreaser instead.

  2. 2

    Dry the piece thoroughly and examine it for any rust spots.

  3. 3

    Remove rust with a piece of 50-grit sandpaper, if the rust is thick, or 80-grit if there are small spots. Continue sanding using 120-grit and 150-grit sandpaper, if needed. If you prefer, you can use a fine wire brush for rust removal.

  4. 4

    Wipe the dust from sanding off the surface with a damp rag.

  5. 5

    Apply a metal polish that's safe for cast iron or WD-40 to a piece of 0000-grade steel wool. Rub firmly on all areas you want polished.

  6. 6

    Use another piece of steel wool, untreated with polish, to continue polishing the piece until it looks as shiny as you want it.

  7. 7

    Apply a small amount of your polish to a clean rag and rub all newly polished areas of the cast iron. This will give the cast iron a protective finish.

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