How to Clean a Potjie Pot from Rust

Cast iron Potjie pots are beloved for their durability and ability to impart a unique flavor to dishes. However, over time, these pots can develop rust, affecting both their appearance and cooking performance.

Our guide below will help you find effective methods on how to clean a Potjie pot from rust, ensuring it stays in prime condition for many more cooking adventures.

Potjie pots have been a staple in kitchens for generations, cherished for their versatility and ability to create mouthwatering meals.

To keep your Potjie pot in top-notch condition, understanding how to combat rust is crucial.

Understanding Rust on Potjie Pots

The first step in dealing with rust is understanding why it occurs. Cast iron, while robust, is susceptible to rust when exposed to moisture and air.

Apart from being unsightly, rust can compromise the integrity of your pot and, in extreme cases, impact the flavour of your food. It’s imperative to address rust promptly to maintain both the pot’s aesthetics and functionality.

Materials Needed for Cleaning

Before embarking on the cleaning journey, gather the necessary materials. You’ll need white vinegar, baking soda, lemons, salt, scrubbing tools (such as steel wool or a scrubbing pad), protective gear, and, of course, elbow grease. Each item plays a crucial role in the rust-removal process.

Preparation Steps

Choose a well-ventilated area for cleaning your Potjie pot. Start by removing any leftover food residue from previous culinary escapades.

A clean surface allows the cleaning agents to work more effectively.

Safety Precautions

Safety should always be a priority. Equip yourself with protective gear, including gloves and eyewear.

Additionally, avoid using harsh chemicals that may be harmful when in direct contact with food.

How to Clean a Potjie Pot from Rust

Initial Cleaning with Vinegar

Vinegar, with its acidic properties, is an excellent rust dissolver. Pour a generous amount into the pot, ensuring the affected areas are fully submerged.

Let it sit for a few hours or overnight, allowing the vinegar to break down the rust. For stubborn rust, a gentle scrubbing with a non-abrasive tool may be necessary.

Scrubbing Techniques

Choosing the right scrubbing tools is crucial to avoid damaging the pot’s surface. Opt for materials like nylon brushes or wooden scrapers to gently remove rust without scratching the cast iron. Patience is key – a gradual, methodical approach yields the best results.

Baking Soda Paste Method

Alternatively, create a paste using baking soda and water. Apply this paste to the rusted areas and let it sit for a few hours.

The gentle abrasiveness of baking soda, coupled with its rust-neutralizing properties, aids in the removal process.

Lemon and Salt Method

Harness the natural acidity of lemons by creating a mixture with salt. Apply this concoction to rusted spots and let it sit for a while before scrubbing.

This method not only removes rust but also leaves a refreshing citrus scent.

Using Steel Wool or Scrubbing Pad

For more stubborn rust, steel wool or a scrubbing pad can be employed. However, exercise caution to avoid excessive abrasion, which may damage the pot. Consider gentler alternatives if preserving the pot’s seasoned surface is a priority.

Rinsing and Drying

After the rust is removed, thoroughly rinse the pot to eliminate any residue from the cleaning agents.

Dry it promptly and completely to prevent new rust from forming. Leaving the pot wet invites the very issue you’re trying to combat.

Seasoning the Potjie Pot

Once you mastered how to clean a Potjie pot from rust, you should also know the best way to prevent rust.

Once the pot is rust-free, it’s essential to re-season it. Seasoning involves applying a thin layer of oil and baking the pot to create a protective coating.

This not only prevents future rust but enhances the pot’s non-stick properties and imparts a rich flavor to your dishes.

How to Store Potjie Pot

Proper storage is vital to maintaining a rust-free Potjie pot. Cover the pot when not in use to shield it from dust and moisture.

Store it in a cool, dry place to prevent any potential rusting between uses.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

In the quest to banish rust, some mistakes can exacerbate the issue.

Avoid using abrasive chemicals, neglecting proper drying, or storing the pot without a cover. Learning from these common pitfalls ensures a rust-free future for your Potjie pot.

How to Clean a Rusted Black Pot

Cleaning a rusted black pot requires a bit of effort, but it’s definitely possible to restore it to its former glory. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you remove rust from a black pot:

Materials You’ll Need:

  1. Steel Wool or Scrubber: To scrub off the rust.
  2. White Vinegar: An effective rust remover.
  3. Baking Soda: Helps to create a paste for stubborn rust.
  4. Lemon Juice: An alternative to vinegar.
  5. Vegetable Oil or Shortening: To season the pot after cleaning.


  1. Inspect the Damage: Assess the extent of rust on the black pot. If it’s a light layer, the cleaning process might be simpler.
  2. Scrub with Steel Wool: Use steel wool or a scrubber to gently scrub away the rust. If the rust is stubborn, you may need to put a bit more pressure, but be careful not to damage the pot’s surface.
  3. Vinegar Soak: For more severe rust, create a solution of equal parts white vinegar and water. Let the pot soak in this solution for a few hours or overnight. The acidity of the vinegar will help dissolve the rust.
  4. Baking Soda Paste: If there are still rust spots, make a paste using baking soda and water. Apply it to the affected areas and let it sit for an hour before scrubbing.
  5. Lemon Juice Alternative: If you prefer, you can use lemon juice instead of vinegar. The citric acid in lemon juice also works as a rust remover.
  6. Rinse and Dry Thoroughly: Once you’ve scrubbed away the rust, rinse the pot thoroughly with water. Make sure it’s completely dry to prevent future rusting.
  7. Season the Pot: After cleaning, it’s essential to season the pot to protect it from rusting again. Apply a thin layer of vegetable oil or shortening to the pot’s surface and heat it on low for an hour.

Regular maintenance, such as drying the pot completely after use and applying a thin layer of oil, can help prevent rust in the future. Remember, patience is key, especially if the rust is extensive.


Cleaning a Potjie pot from rust is a labor of love that pays off in the long run.

By understanding the causes of rust, using effective cleaning methods, and adopting proper maintenance practices, you can keep your Potjie pot in pristine condition for years to come.