i love cooking in and maintaining my housemates' cast irons. so when i moved to my new apartment, i bought a new lodge pan and a bunch of old nasty rusty mysterious-goo-covered ones off of craigslist that someone had been using as country kitsch wall decoration. i want to clean and season them properly, but the methods i've found online contradict each other wildly -- some say to clean the crud off with soap, others forbid any soap even for the initial cleaning. some recommend steel wool, others frown on it. vinegar soaks? baking the rust and goo off? what to do? some seasoning methods require a lot of oil at very high heat, others a tiny bit at 200 degrees. the times vary too.
so, do all of these particulars of temperature, heating time, and cleaning method actually affect the pan, or would basically any combination of scrubbing, oil, and heat do the trick? what do you all swear by?
thanks, you guys!