Were you like me, so excited to buy your enamel cast iron pot that you were almost too afraid to use it, in case you might ruin it? But pots are for cooking! So, in this article, I’m going to go through my tried and true method for removing stains on enamel cast iron and a few alternative methods for specific types of stains.
How To Remove Stains From Enameled Cast Iron Cookware?
The best way to remove stains from enamel cast iron cookware is to boil a mixture of baking soda and water in your pot. Then, you can use a soft sponge to wipe off the remaining stains. Removing stubborn stains requires an abrasive cleaner, but many chemical options are far too harsh. Baking soda is a great natural alternative.
What You Will Need for This Tutorial
For this tutorial, you will need:
This is my favorite technique because it uses ingredients that you probably already have in your kitchen cupboards. The natural abrasive of baking soda combined with boiling water lifts the stains off quickly. I use this for interior burns, stains, or food residue, but I will detail a technique that works for the outside later.
If you need a visual for this technique, Steve from Made In Cookware has a great video about this topic that I highly recommend. You can use the same method for any brand of enameled cast iron – including Le Creuset, Lodge, and Staub.
How to Remove Stains from Enamel Cast Iron Pans Step-by-Step
Step 1- Clean with Soap and Water
Start by giving your pan a good scrub with hot water, soap, and a soft sponge. This way, you can tell which stains are stubborn and need the baking soda treatment. Dry the pan well before setting it on the stovetop.
Step 2- Add Water and Baking Soda
Fill the pan with enough water to cover any stained areas. If the stains are very high up, only fill the pot to a maximum of ¾ full, or you will risk the water splashing and burning you. These higher stains can be dealt with using a technique I’ll describe below.
I don’t usually measure it, but add at least two teaspoons of baking soda to the water and stir in.
Step 3- Boil and Scrape
Bring the water to the boil. Use a wooden spoon to scrape at the stained areas. After a few minutes, these should start to come loose.
Step 4- Drain and Scrub
Once most stains are lifted off, remove the pan from the heat and dump out the water. Please be very careful not to burn yourself. Allow the pan to cool slightly before using a little water and a sponge with an abrasive side to remove the remaining staining. If the boiling has worked, this should come off very easily.
Alternative Methods + Remove Stains from Exterior Enamel
This technique is quite effective for most stains, but there are a few alternative methods I like trying if there are really stubborn areas.
To remove stubborn stains and discoloration, I like using baking soda and vinegar paste. Mix together baking soda and vinegar in a 1:1 ratio. Spread this paste over the affected areas. Let it sit for 20 minutes before wiping it away with a soft sponge. Since this method doesn’t use boiling, you can use it on the outside of the pan, high up the sides, and on the lid to get rid of those pesky stains.
To remove stubborn food residue, I like using a technique I learned from Martha Stewart. Make a paste out of coarse kosher salt and a tiny bit of water. Spread that across the surface and rub at the affected areas with a sponge. The rough texture of the salt should scrub that food right off.
Preventing Stains on Enameled Cast Iron
The easiest way to avoid this whole stain removal process is to prevent staining altogether. Sometimes, staining is unavoidable, but there are a few precautions you can take to limit it.
Is it Okay to Soak Enameled Cast Iron Pans?
Yes! You should never soak uncoated cast iron pans, because the water will make them rust. But as long as there are no chips in the coating, a porcelain enameled cast iron pot (such as a Le Creuset) can handle soaking. Just don’t leave it in your sink, where people may throw utensils or other dishes into it, causing scratches.
Explore my Le Creuset care routine here.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Bar Keepers Friend Safe for Enameled Cast Iron?
Yes, Bar Keeper’s Friend is safe for enameled cast iron if you use it carefully. Test it on a small area of your cookware before applying it over the whole pot. Be careful to not leave it on for longer than directed, or it could damage the enamel. If vinegar and baking soda aren’t powerful to remove stains, then BKF is my go-to.
How Do You Remove Brown Stains from Le Creuset?
A mix of baking soda and vinegar or Bar Keeper’s Friend is very effective for removing brown stains on enamel cast iron like Le Creuset. Avoid using a scouring pad or anything very abrasive, as this will damage your pan. Instead, use a soft sponge. If you need something a bit more abrasive, try a salt scrub.
How Do You Avoid Scratches on Enameled Cast Iron?
The best way to avoid scratches on enamel cast iron is not to use metal utensils on it. I also suggest placing pan protectors between pans when they are stored, as the base of the pans can easily cause scratches to the ones underneath. Even better, store them individually on shelves or in their original boxes.
Staining on your beautiful Staub or Le Creuset products can be frustrating. But I hope, after reading this article, you’ve learned some ways to tackle them! All you need is some baking soda, some vinegar, and a little elbow grease, and your enamel cast iron should be sparkling!
If you have any more questions about stain removal, be sure to leave them below.
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