Help! Non-enameled iron teapot rusting and flaking
Could someone please kindly help to advise me? I’ve been googling for help, but can only find advice for enameled teapots.
I bought a beautiful cast iron non-enameled teapot in China. I understand enameled ones are too fragile for the stovetop. The inside is a dull gray and there’s no coating. There is a little basket for loose tea. I was told by the seller that I could boil water in it on the stovetop, so I have been.
I’ve been using it about a month and accidentally left tea in it overnight. It’s now flaking dark gray chips on the inside and there are a couple spots of rust. Is it ruined? What can I do to restore it? I really love the teapot and want to save it!
I’m familiar with the care of my cast iron pan for cooking food, but I don’t think I’m supposed to apply oil to the interior of a teapot.
I have a picture of the damage but not sure how to post it. Any help or advice anyone can provide about how to remove the flakes, rust, and how to care for this beautiful pot would be greatly, truly appreciated!
Use it to brew tea, and wipe it out after use. The oils from the tea will build up.
For regular cast iron cookware you would just remove the rust spots with some steel wool and then re-season. But in this case you would re-season with tea oil like Cwyn says.
One thing I’ve wondered about though, is the warning to not use enameled tea pots on the stove. I have enameled cast iron cookware that is meant to be used on the stove (and it works beautifully). So why not the enameled tea pots – thinner enamel layer? Does anyone know?
Your problem is you have a teapot, not a kettle. Kettles don’t come with baskets and don’t have a dark gray layer inside. You bought an enameled teapot and it is shedding enamel!
The beauty of cast iron kettles is they react with the water and add a certain type of iron ion that is supposed to make your tea taste better. Real handmade Japanese tetsubin kettles aren’t cheap. so they started making enameled teapots so people could pretend they had a real tetsubin, but make Japanese teas easily with an infuser basket. I have an older Japanese teapot like this that I bought really cheap, and it’s pretty too. Mine is missing the basket, though.
I use the teapot to take hot water to the coffee table so I can brew while watching TV. I rinse it out with boiling water, twice, then fill it with boiling water. Great for a gongfu session since it is only 300-400 ml. Mine has rust and flaking enamel, so I dry it out really well after use (immediately). The rust will add iron to your tea, but rub off all the active rust and flaking enamel, and keep the pot dry when not in use! :)
I’d still make tea in it after giving it a good scrub inside with a paper towel or a toothbrush or something. I wipe mine down with a paper towel after every use. Get whatever will come off to come off. Using it on the stove will make more and more of the enamel come off.
Rust spots can be treated with Bar Keeper’s Friend-a gentle powder/cleanser type product for enamel (and barware). It sounds like your enamel coating is not very thick/tempered (as @Jayin HK said)
Thank you kindly, and sincerely, everyone, for all your help and advice!
I’m less afraid of the flaking now. I am surprised it could be enamel because of the way it looks, just like the rest of the pot it’s dull gray and looks like metal flakes… but maybe it is not tempered, as a few of you said.
I suppose the seller was wrong about using it on the stovetop? But if the flaking is not a problem, I’ll continue to use on the stove.
Whiteantlers, I love BarKeeper’s Friend! It’s great for so many uses!