Can You Use Stove Polish on Cast Iron Cookware?

Cast iron cookware has a reputation (albeit overblown) for being finnicky and being prone to rusting. While that is true to some extent, proper maintenance is easy enough to do regularly. However, some people may be tempted to resort to shortcuts, and one of the most objectionable ways is by applying stove polish on their cast iron cookware.

In this article, we delve into the intricacies of stove polish, its intended applications, and importantly, why it may not be suitable for seasoning or maintaining cast iron cookware.

What is Stove Polish?

Stove polish is a product that is used to create a black patina on cast iron stoves that also serves as a protective coating that prevents rust and corrosion. Composed primarily of graphite and carbon, with a base that can be either water, oil, or wax-based, stove polish adheres to metal surfaces to create a durable, heat-resistant finish.

The specific formulation of stove polish can vary between manufacturers, but some may contain other additives to improve its performance, such as solvents to adjust the viscosity for easier application. This is the point of contention in this whole affair.

Can You Use Stove Polish to Season Cast Iron Cookware?

I would not recommend using stove polish to season cast iron cookware. First of all, many stove polishes contain additives that could be toxic if ingested. Since cast iron cookware comes in direct contact with the food you eat, using a substance not rated for food safety can pose health risks.

Also, while stove polish is heat resistant, it does not have the same properties as cooking oils that polymerize and create a non-stick surface on cast iron cookware.

With all of that, it is best if you stick with the traditional use case of stove polish, like polishing wood burning stoves and gas hob rings.

How to Remove Stove Polish From Your Cast Iron Cookware

In the used market, you may encounter pieces of cast iron cookware that have been coated with stove polish. This was either done by misinformed people who want to protect their piece the easy way, or worse, unscrupulous sellers who want to make their wares more photogenic. Be that as it may, you’ll have to remove the stove polish first to make the cast iron useable in the kitchen. However, that may not be as straightforward as it seems.

First off, I’d say that you should not use paint thinner to remove stove polish from your cast iron cookware as this poses health risks of its own. Washing with soap and wiping with a rag will lift off some of the stove polish from the surface, but not all of it. Worse: graphite, the main ingredient of stove polish, is quite inert, which means it does not react with acids like vinegar and lye. Hence, your best choices will require a lot of physical effort.

For me, your best bet is to sandblast your cast iron piece to remove stove polish down to the pores. However, that may not be a cost effective proposition for anyone. A more approachable option is polishing you cast iron pan with a drill and an 80-grit sanding disc until you get down to the bare, gray iron. However, you should be careful not to over-polish the pan lest you make it too thin to be useable.


While stove polish serves a valuable role in maintaining and protecting various metal surfaces, it is not suitable for use on cast iron cookware due to safety and health concerns. The removal of stove polish from cast iron requires patience and care, hence you should think twice before applying this substance to your beloved pots and pans.

Remember: there are no shortcuts to getting a sleek and thick layer of seasoning. Stick to proven, safe methods for cast iron seasoning and maintenance. By doing so, you’ll ensure that your cast iron cookware remains a reliable, non-stick, and safe cooking surface that adds unmatched value to your culinary adventures.

If you want to learn more about cast iron cookware, apart from how to store cast iron cookware, go ahead and explore Cult of Cast Iron for more guides and blog articles! Cult of Cast Iron is your ultimate source of information and inspiration for anything and everything cast iron cookware.

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