These were my grandmother's pans and I have a ceramic stove. There is a buildup of stuff on the bottom of these pans. How do I get rid of it without ruining pans?
First, try wiping some oil on the pan bottom, then sprinkle salt on it. Scrub vigorously with a paper towel, adding more salt as needed. When done, rinse with water, wipe dry, rub on oil, place in a 300 degree oven for half and hour to season.
I have started to use a chain mail scrubber on my cast iron pans and it is a game changer! Way less elbow greese than my old salt scrub method and I think the pans' seasoning has actually improved with this method. It's really hard to ruin a cast iron pan, just be sure to dry the pans in the oven after use and cleaning to prevent rust.
What is a chain mail scrubber??
It is a small piece of chain mail. Here is a link to one on Amazon
you could also use steel wool (not brillo) instead of the chain mail if you don't want to buy it.
If they're like 'rescue' pans. That no amount of soaking, scrubing and such will get off. Start over. Take them to a autobody shop and ask about a 'chemical sandblast'. Or a normal sandblast.
It'll bring it down 'new' surface and you'll have to season them again.
If it's on the exterior...just go to town with whatever you have, sand papers, chore boys, brillo pads. etc.
plastic bread tabs are the bomb for getting baked on gunge from the bottom of all cook and bakeware. the sharp plastic edge just lifts it off.