Fire Damage: What is it?
Sometimes I hear people recommend placing a cast iron piece in a blazing fire to “clean” it. I also hear people recommend cleaning a cast iron piece by running it through the self-cleaning cycle of an oven.
I don’t recommend either method. Both methods can damage your valuable cast iron piece, resulting in warpage, cracking, or both. While the high heat will surely burn off crud on your pan, it
Here is a video I made of an otherwise beautiful Griswold no. 8 cast iron skillet that was damaged by fire. How can I tell? The significant warpage – this pan even spins – and the tell-tale red coloration on the pan. Take a look:
How hot is too hot?
I don’t know – as I’ve said many times before, I am not a scientist. I do know, however, that a cast iron pan can warp or crack when exposed to very high heat; especially when the heat is suddenly applied. The thermal shock to the pan can cause it to crack. 1
According to information gleaned from the wild and wooly web, cast iron will melt at 2200 degrees Fahrenheit; 1204 degrees Celsius. Another source puts the temperature range at 2060 – 2200 Fahrenheit and 1127 – 1204 Celsius.
Well, now we know how much heat it will take to melt the iron; but how much heat to simply warp the iron? It’s a different question, and I don’t have the answer. If you do, write to me and explain it so that I can supplement this post!
Some folks swear by using the self-cleaning oven and/or fire to clean the crust off of their cast iron pans. Would you want risk
I hope not. Please don’t.
Additional photos of fire damage:
- For more information on damage to cast iron pans, check out this page.