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I have a lot of different pieces of cookware in my kitchen that I absolutely love, but one of my favorite items is my enameled cast iron dutch oven. It such a great utensil that is a lot more convenient to use and maintain than a traditional cast iron pan and yet gives the benefits and versatility of one.
I love using my enameled cast iron dutch oven to braise meats and make recipes that start with a nice sear on the stove and end in the oven! But an enameled cast iron dutch oven can be trickier to clean than some easier surfaces like nonstick pans or stainless steel. After many years of trying out different methods, I have compiled a list of ways on how to clean an enameled cast iron dutch oven in the most effective way.
First off, you need to remember to clean your enameled cast iron pot right after you use it. If you let it sit dirty for a long time, it will get much harder to clean. Secondly, don’t even use a metal scourer to scrape the bottom of the pan!
In fact, don’t even use metal spoons while cooking in it since metal can scrape the enamel layer away. Once the enamel layer is gone, your dutch oven will get progressively harder to clean and retain a lot more stains than before.
Soapy Water Soak
To remove the burnt bits stuck to the bottom of the pan, you can try this step first. Add a bit of soapy water to your pan and let it soak for around an hour or two, depending upon how bad the stains are.
If you want to go the extra mile, put the pan on the stove and let the soap and water mixture heat up a bit. Let it cool down enough to not burn you and then, using silicon spatula or a nylon scouring pad, remove the large burnt bits off the surface.
The Baking Soda Method
If there are still stains after your scouring, discard the soapy water mixture and add a generous amount of baking soda to the pan’s inner bottom. Use your nylon scouring pad to scrub at the stains using the baking soda.
If you are still not left with a completely good-as-new surface, add a bit of water to the pan and put it on the stove. Bring it to a boil and then discard the baking soda and water mixture. Scrub again and your pan should be squeaky clean with the enameled layer still intact.
The Magic Eraser
If your nylon scouring pad does not do the trick, try a magic eraser to clean your enameled cast iron dutch oven. Simply soak your pot in soapy water and scour with a nylon pad. Then discard the soapy water and use a magic eraser on the stains that are left. Your enameled cast iron dutch oven should now be free of it’s stains and look as clean and glossy as it was before use.
The Brand Name Washing Liquid
If your regular dish soap is not cutting it out for you, try one of the simplest yet effective methods of cleaning possible: Get a brand-name washing liquid. Basically, the renowned brands that produce enameled cast iron dutch ovens also produce specialized cleaning liquids designed to target the stains on their products.
One such example is Le Creuset. They have a wide range of cleaning products available that work on their products, but there’s no reason why they wouldn’t work on enameled cast iron surfaces that are not by Le Creuset.
Yes, you read that right. Sometimes, you can forget your enameled cast iron dutch oven on the stove and cause the inside bottom to be completely burnt. In such situations, clean-up can be a daunting task.
For such circumstances, fill your pot up with water and biological laundry detergent. The ratio of water to detergent should be 3 to 1. Boil this concoction, let it cool down and throw it away. Now wash the pot with your usual dishwashing liquid and rinse.
After such serious scrubbing sessions, your dutch oven can look a little dull. To ensure that it gets it’s coveted glossy surface back, apply a light coat of white vinegar after you rinse and dry it.
A lot of people recommend soaking in a bleach solution to clean an enameled cast iron dutch oven but please don’t do that! The bleach will, once again, eat at the enameled layer and cause your prized cookware to only deteriorate over time.
Is there a way to clean an enameled cast iron dutch oven that I’m missing? Share it with me in the comments below and I’ll give it a try! Also, if this was helpful to you and if any of these methods worked for you please do let me know. Happy scrubbing!