Let’s face it we have all been guilty of sticking or burning food onto the enamel of a Dutch oven or cast iron skillet. If you haven’t I would bet that after many years of use, there could be staining on your Dutch oven. Well, I’m going to give you a simple and quick lesson on how to clean an enamel Dutch oven.
Firstly put enough water in the oven or cast iron pan to make a paste with baking soda. Lightly scrub the inside of the oven with a soft nylon scourer until stains are removed, rinse, and add water, and dishwashing liquid to remove excess paste. Rinse and dry thoroughly. Tougher stains soak in water and baking soda for a couple of hours.
Great care should be taken when cleaning an enamel Dutch oven with baking soda. The are many variables the enamel is aged, well-used, chipped, and well-stained.
Heavy-handed tactics using abrasive cleaners to try to remove stubborn stains using steel wool or a magic eraser are bound the dull the enamel and over time your food will start sticking. You are probably saying to yourself how do I clean my Dutch oven then?
I will give you the best way to freshen up your enameled cookware like your favorite pot the Le Creuset Dutch oven or tough stains off a cast-iron skillet. The good news is that you do not require an abrasive sponge. Just a little water either warm water, hot water, dish soap, a sponge, or a paper towel will clean the inside of your Dutch oven if there is little staining.
I also have a couple of extra tips, for example, removing burnt-on food from enamel cast iron. Tips for cleaning your enamel Dutch oven after everyday use and a maintenance process that can be carried out every so often.
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If you just want to get the job done why not just go over to Amazon and check out the enamel cast iron cleaners available there? The Le Creuset cleaner is designed to clean enamel cast iron.
What is Enameled Cast Iron?
Some glass particulate “Frit” is applied to traditional cast iron cookware. The Frit turns to a smooth porcelain surface when it is baked onto the cast iron at about 1200 to 1400 degrees Fahrenheit.
No cast iron remains uncovered when the process is completed. The black surfaces you see on the enameled cookware such as the pot rims and the rims around the lid are actually matte porcelain.
As we all know the porcelain finish is very hard but it will unfortunately not withstand any rough treatment like being dropped or scratched.
Avoiding using stainless steel metal scourers, utensils, and citrus cleaning agents will prolong the life of your enamel Dutch oven.
This huge cast-iron accessories list I have compiled helps you choose the correct products to save the surface of your Dutch oven.
How to Clean an Enamel Dutch Oven Without Losing the Shine
Removing baked-on or burnt food from the cooking surface of an enameled cast-iron Dutch oven may seem daunting, but don’t be discouraged. Just choose one of the options below and just be patient you will have clean enamel cookware with a little perseverance and elbow grease.
Fill the oven with enough cold water to cover the stains and food residue. Add 1/4 cup dishwashing liquid (with enzymes, not citrus-based like lemon juice) mix thoroughly, and leave overnight. Next morning use a plastic scraper, wooden spoon, or nylon pot scourer to remove stuck-on food from the bottom of your pot.
You can then repeat again to remove stains or choose one of the options below to finish off.
What You’ll Need
- Dishwashing liquid (with enzymes)
- Plastic Scraper, Wooden Spoon or Nylon Scourer
Bring to a boil 2 cups of water you can then add 4 tablespoons of baking soda. Keep boiling water for a few minutes, use a plastic, or wooden pan scraper, and gently loosen the food from the bottom of the Dutch oven edges towards the middle.
What You’ll Need
- Baking Soda Paste
- Plastic Scraper or Wooden Spoon
Just be patient and continue with this process. If you still have not removed all the food start the process again from scratch.
You may want to go straight for this option after you have attempted option 1 and stains and food residue are still present.
Just make a thick paste of baking soda and dishwashing liquid (with enzymes, not citrus-based). Gently rub the baking soda paste where the stains or food residue are. Let it sit overnight and wash it off the next day.
What You’ll Need
- Baking Soda
- Dishwashing Liquid – with enzymes
Try about 1/2 an inch of hydrogen peroxide inside the bottom of the pot. 1 – 2 teaspoons of baking soda to the mix.
A reaction needs to occur to make this work. Do this by heating it slowly it will soon simmer. Just simmer for 10 – 15 minutes empty the oven then scrub with your preferred soft sponge or nylon scrubber.
What You’ll Need
- Hydrogen Peroxide
- Baking Soda
- Nylon Pot Scrubber
When you are happy with the removal of the food you can then go on and determine which process you need to finish the job. All are listed below.
1. How to clean an enamel Dutch oven – everyday cleaning. or:
2. How to clean an enamel Dutch oven the maintenance process, then the everyday cleaning process.
How to Clean Outside of Enameled Cast Iron
Proper care must be taken when cleaning the outside of an enameled Dutch oven. This is because you do not want to speed up the process of the shiny finish fading or becoming scratched.
What You’ll Need
- Warm soapy water
- Soft Cloth
Gently rub and scrub the outside of the Dutch oven when it has cooled with a soft cloth and soapy water. Rinse and just repeat the process until everything has been removed from the outside of the oven.
Tip – Avoid letting your Dutch oven boil over or spilling food and liquid down the sides.
How Do I Clean the Interior of My Le Creuset Enamel?
Cleaning Le Creuset enamel is the same as cleaning any enamel cookware. Most are just wary because this luxury cookware has such a large price tag that they are afraid of ruining it.
My article about cleaning and caring for Le Creuset cookware deep dives into taking care of your gorgeous cookware.
Bar Keeper’s Friend on Enamel Cast Iron
If all else fails I would use the cleaning product bar keeper’s friend bar as a last resort. As it is a fact that harsh chemicals will affect the performance of cast iron. The caveat is that raw cast iron will stand up to bar keepers’ friend powder because you can strip and re-season bare cast iron to its former glory.
How to Clean Enamel Cast Iron Pot
Unfortunately, the dishwasher is just not going to care for the enamel the way you can. I believe that the dishwasher will also dull the outside of your cast iron cookware as the cleaners are harsh.
If you carry out the following after each use you hopefully won’t have to carry out the heavy-duty cleaning so often.
Firstly make sure your cookware is cool before you start cleaning. Handwashing with warm soapy water is recommended.
Using a dishwashing cleaner void of citrus juices is the best. The citrus will over time dull the exterior glossiness of your enamel cast iron dutch oven.
Stuck food residue can be removed using nylon pads or scrapers. No metal utensils or metal cleaning pads as they will scratch your porcelain enamel coating.
Top Tip – My favorite way of avoiding burnt-on food is to use parchment paper liners. Especially when cooking any dish which involves fruit like applesauce or desserts they really do stop the food from sticking to the inside of the Dutch oven. Check out the one I use the most at Amazon Lodge cast iron cleaner.
How Do You Clean Discolored Enamel Cookware?
Firstly, carry out the steps for everyday cleaning.
You may have only slight stains or a little discoloration that can build up over time or for many uses. In these cases you can use a ceramic cleaner, always following the instructions on the bottle.
Use these cleaners on a damp cloth then use a gentle rubbing motion over the bottom of your pot. Then wash out with warm non-citrus dishwashing soap and a nylon scourer. Dry thoroughly and store.
The ceramic cleaner I use is by the Lodge Company and all my enameled cast iron cookware gets a treat sometimes. Lodge ceramic cleaner is the cleaner I like the most.
If your stains are a little worse than described above you can use a mix of 3 tablespoons of household bleach per quart of water.
On the interior of the cookware only, soak for 2-3 hours. Do not immerse the entire oven into this mixture as you will damage the exterior of the oven.
If you want to attempt to make the inside of your cast iron enamel a little shinier you can wipe the inside of your oven over with a little white vinegar with a soft cloth.
Storing Enamel Cast Iron Cookware
Your cookware must always be very dry before storage. If you thought the handy rubber pot holders were supplied to move your cookware around the room you will be glad to know they have another use.
They should also be placed between the rim of the pot and the lid, this assists in protecting your enamel pot and its lid from scratches and chipping.
You should also avoid stacking any other cookware on your enamel cast iron. This also protects cookware from damage.
Related read I have a fantastic article all about storing cast iron great ideas that are bound to elongate the life of your Dutch oven.
Frequently Asked Questions
Quick answers to some common questions about how to clean Dutch ovens.
Can you soak enameled cast iron?
Soaking a good quality piece of enameled cast iron cookware is fine. Water and soapy water overnight, then a good scrub with a nylon or similar scourer the next day. Repeat if necessary or employ some of the more stringent cleaning measures outlined above. Learn more about soaking cast iron cookware.
How to clean Le Creuset Dutch ovens
Using the gentle cleaning methods above will clean your Le Creuset or you can check out the Le Creuset cleaning and care guidelines.
How to clean a Staub Dutch oven
The same goes for Staub as Le Creuset – you can check out Staub’s cleaning and care guides.
Video How Clean Cast Iron Enamel Cookware
To Finish – How To Clean An Enamel Dutch Oven
Over the years the enamel coating of your Dutch oven will become a little worse for wear, not unlike any other workhorse. You could also think of your cookware as gaining a personality when a new burn mark appears. The first thing to do is find effective ways to clean your Le Creuset pot, Staub cocotte, or much-loved Dutch oven.
With regular cleaning, proper care, storage, and a little maintenance in between. Your enameled cast iron cookware should last many many years. It should even be handed down to the next generation as an heirloom piece of cookware.
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