Cooks have been using cast iron skillets for many years, and the cookware stands up to time. Scratches, dents and dings are common to cast iron cookware, especially pots and pans that people purchase second-hand or inherit. Fortunately, you can learn how to remove scratches from a cast iron skillet and make it look almost as good as new.
Wash the cast iron skillet thoroughly. Use warm water and a small amount of gentle dish soap to scrub the inside and outside of the skillet. After the skillet is clean, dry thoroughly with a clean kitchen towel.
Examine the clean, scratched cast iron skillet. How deep are the scratches? Are they surface scratches or much deeper? In addition, what length are the scratches in the skillet? Determining the degree of damage will help you figure out how much effort it will take to repair the damage and remove the scratches -- deep gouges or scratches may require that you repeat this process of removing scratches several times.
Apply about two tablespoons of cooking oil or shortening to the cast iron skillet, making sure to completely coat the inside and outside and to get inside the scratches. Rub in the oil or shortening with your hands or a paper towel. Do not overcoat the skillet -- while it should look glossy, you shouldn't see any drips or pools of oil.
Place aluminum foil on the bottom of the oven underneath the heat coils. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Put the cast iron skillet on the baking rack in the center of the oven, face down.
Bake the cast iron skillet in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes.
Turn off the oven and allow the skillet to cool inside. Once it has cooled to room temperature, remove the skillet from the oven.
Inspect the cast iron skillet to see if the scratches have filled in completely. The skillet should be smooth with and a uniform, glossy black. If you see patches where the skillet is a dull black or if scratches remain, repeat the above process.
After using the cast-iron skillet, wash briefly with a small amount of soapy water, then rinse and dry thoroughly. Coat lightly with oil to seal, but do not allow any excess surface oil to remain, as the oil will become rancid after a few days. Repeat the above seasoning process whenever the pan starts to lose its nonstick qualities or if it becomes scratched.