Easy. Cook a pound of bacon in it. Take bacon out and leave grease. Set pan aside and let the grease congeal. Wipe around with a paper towel. Wipe out with paper towel and cook on.
Never use soap. Always scrape clean. Fine oil and salt to scrub if you need to.
I prefer steak and back strap off a cast iron. Salt pepper and butter.
Love my cast iron! Flax seed oil gives a good smooth finish. Some say that it peels but I haven't had that happen. Another tip from Kent Rollins - using a lint free cloth does much better than a paper towel.
I love cooking with cast iron, but my wife won't have anything to do with them. It took me 15 years just to get her to switch from that cheap "caphalon" crap to good stainless steel. So, my cast iron is relegated to being stacked together in a tight space in a lower cabinet. Hard to get to, and I have to often pull out most of it to get the piece I want.
Most folks don't understand how to care for or clean cast iron. It's actually pretty easy, once you get it seasoned properly.
Heck when you cook a cake of cornbread it hardly touches this pan before its formed a crust. Preheat the pan with the grease then add the cornbread mix... that hot bubbling grease smells great when you first add the cornbread!
Sounds like you have some places in your cast iron that were heated super hot like in a fire and it developed what we call fire scales. These places will never season right. I have a couple thousand pieces of cast iron (yes a couple thousand) and I know a lot about it. In a nutshell, after using your cast iron, and if you can just wipe it out, heat it back up until it starts to smoke a little, spray it with Pam, or its generic equivalent , turn the burner off, wait about a minute and wipe it good with paper towels. Let it cool on the burner and then store it in your oven. If you cooked something that sticks like chicken and it needs cleaning, boil a small amount of water in it, loosen it with a wooden or plastic spoon, wipe it under very hot water, then follow the same process on the burner I must described. Do this every time and you will have a flawless cooking surface.
I've read some of the other replies. I know camp fires have been used for years to clean cast iron, and if its a piece of cast iron from a yard sale, what the heck, go ahead and do it. But it its your Mommas or Grandma's or a family heirlooms please don't ruin it in a fire. Let someone who knows what they are doing restore it. I buy and sell cast iron, but hadn't sold any in a while. I have to get in the mood to sale. I sitting on a bunch of dutch ovens, skillets, stew pots. If you will send me a picture of your skillet especially the areas where it won't season I will try to see it I can tell you what the problem is. send me a private message and I will give you my email.
I have better luck with old (1920’s-50’s) slick ones. I found a few in Galax a while back that had been reconditioned and I honestly can’t mess them up. They’ve been great. I like them better than my newer lodge pans with the rough texture. I just keep them rubbed down with veg oil when they’re not used.
This little skillet belonged to my mother's mother's mother. My great grandmother. Think I got that right. It was in my parent's attic til this past weekend. Been 50 to 55 years since it's been used. Used hot water and a brush to get the debris off. A few rusty places. What do you recomend I do to remove the rusty areas? Great grandmother cooked cornbread with this skillet. You can tell from the stuff that is buildup that it was well used. Mom said she cooked cornbread pretty much every day. Picture 4 is before rinsing and brushing it.