How to Care for a Cast-Iron Bell

Danny Donahue

Big, brass bells call you to church on Sunday. Shiny ship's bells tell you the name of a vessel. But cast-iron bells traditionally call you to dinner. Cast iron is a less expensive alternative that takes less care than other bells. Cast-iron bells were more common in years past.

Cast-iron bells require special care to keep them ringing clear.

Decorating your house with a western theme allows you to use many of the popular, old-style ranch items, like cast-iron bells. A thorough cleaning and a fresh coat of oil periodically keeps your cast-iron bell ready to call your family to dinner.


Never heat a wet piece of cast iron.

Never wet a piece of hot cast iron.

Never touch a piece of hot cast iron.

  1. Wash the cast-iron bell inside and out with warm water. Scrub every surface with a soap pad to remove rust. Rinse the bell with warm water.

  2. Dry the with soft rags. Wipe every surface to remove as much of the moisture from the metal as possible. Focus your efforts on the inside of the bell, especially around the clapper.

  3. Place the bell inside your oven. Set the oven at its lowest heat setting and leave the door cracked open. Leave the bell inside of the oven for one hour.

  4. Turn off the oven and open the door as wide as it will open. Let the oven and the bell cool completely before continuing. Remove the bell from the oven and close the door after it reaches room temperature.

  5. Pour lightweight machine oil onto a rag. Rub the oil into every surface of the bell. Coat the bell completely and wipe away the excess with a dry rag.