How to Clean an Enamel Dutch Oven Without Losing the Shine

How To Clean An Enamel Dutch Oven

This article was last updated on September 18th, 2020

Let’s face it we have all been guilty of sticking or burning food on to the enamel of our Dutch ovens. 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 to make a paste with baking soda. Lightly scrub the inside of the oven with a soft nylon scourer until stains are removed, rinse, 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 is the enamel aged, well used, chipped, and well stained. 

Heavy-handed tactics 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?

Read on and I will give you these simple steps to freshen up your Enamel Cast Iron Dutch Oven. Explain what in fact enameled cast iron cookware is.

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 every so often.

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. Click here to view the Le Creuset enamel cast iron cleaner.

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 on to 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 metal scourers, utensils, and citrus cleaning agents will prolong the life of your enamel Dutch oven.

This huge accessories list I have complied with help you choose the correct products to save your Dutch ovens surface.

How to Clean an Enamel Dutch Oven Without Losing the Shine

How to Clean an Enamel Dutch Oven image
My Enamel Dutch Oven Receiving a Scrub – Soapy Water Only!

Removing baked-on or burnt food 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.

Option 1

Fill the oven with enough water to cover the stains and food residue. Add 1/4 cup dishwashing liquid (with enzymes, not citrus-based) mix thoroughly, and leave overnight. Next morning use a plastic scraper, wooden spoon, or nylon pot scourer to remove stuck-on food.

You can then repeat again to remove stains or choose one of the options below to finish off.

What You’ll Need

  1. Water
  2. Dishwashing liquid (with enzymes)
  3. Plastic Scraper, Wooden Spoon or Nylon Scourer

Option 2

Bring to the boil 2 cups of water you can then add 4 tablespoons of baking soda. Keep boiling for a few minutes, use a plastic, or wooden pan scraper and gently to loosen the food from the edges towards the middle.

What You’ll Need

  1. Water
  2. Baking Soda
  3. 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.

Option 3

You may want to go straight for this option after you have attempted option 1 and stains and food residue is still present.

Just make a paste of baking soda and dishwashing liquid (with enzymes, not citrus based) and gently rub it where the stains or food residue are. Let it sit overnight and wash it off the next day.

What You’ll Need

  1. Baking Soda
  2. Dishwashing Liquid – with enzymes

Option 4

Try about 1/2 an inch of hydrogen peroxide inside the bottom of the Dutch oven. 1 – 2 teaspoons of baking soda to the mix. 

A reaction needs to occur to make this work. Do this by heating slowly it will soon simmer. Just simmer for 10 – 15 minutes empty the oven then scrub with your preferred nylon scrubber.

What You’ll Need

  1. Hydrogen Peroxide
  2. Baking Soda
  3. 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 everyday cleaning process.

How to Clean an Enamel Dutch Oven before and after images
All traces of Vegan Curry Soup Gone – with soapy water only!

How to Clean Outside of Enameled Cast Iron

Great 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

  1. Warm soapy water
  2. Soft Cloth

Gently rub and scrub the outside of the Dutch oven when it has cooled with the soft cloth and soapy water. Rinse and just repeat the process until everything has been removed from the outside of the oven.


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?

How to Clean Enamel Cast Iron Pot

It is very beneficial to clean and care for your enameled cast iron pots after every use. We all know that enamel cast iron Dutch ovens can be placed in the dishwasher.

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 cool before you start cleaning. Handwashing with warm soapy water is recommended.

Using a dishwashing cleaner void of citrus juices are the best. The citrus will over time dull the exterior glossiness of your enamel cast iron dutch oven.

Stuck on food residue can be removed using nylon pads or scrapers. No metal utensils or metal cleaning pads as they will scratch your porcelain.

Top Tip

My favorite way of avoiding the 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. Click here to go to Amazon to check out the one I use the most.

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 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. 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. Click here to see the Lodge ceramic 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 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 Article – I have a fantastic article all about storing cast iron click here for some great ideas that are bound to elongate the life of your Dutch oven.

Frequently Asked Questions

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.

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 here.

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 here.

To Finish – How To Clean An Enamel Dutch Oven

Over the years your enameled 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.

With regular cleaning, care, and 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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