The Best Way To Remove Stains From Enamel Cast Iron: Step-by-Step Guide

Amy Hand
Amy Hand

Amy Hand

Amy worked as the head pastry chef and the head chef at multiple restaurants in South Africa. She now shares her professional insights about cooking and kitchen tools here at The Skillful Cook.

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How to Remove Stains from Enameled Cast Iron Cookware

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.

What You Will Need for This Tutorial

For this tutorial, you will need:

  • Baking soda
  • Dish soap
  • Wooden spoon
  • Hot water
  • Soft sponge with abrasive side

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.

How to Remove Stains from Enamel Cast Iron Pans - Clean with Soap and Water

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.

How to Remove Stains from Enamel Cast Iron Pans - Add Water and Baking Soda

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.

How to Remove Stains from Enamel Cast Iron Pans - Drain and Scrub

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.

  • Don’t let food residue dry in the pan
  • Pay careful attention when cooking to prevent burning
  • Don’t overheat oil in the pan
  • Fill the pot with hot, soapy water right after cooking so it can soak while you eat.

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.

Is it Okay to Soak Enameled Cast Iron Pans

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.

Conclusion

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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Amy Hand
About The Author
After finding the chef life a little too high-paced, Amy decided to take her cooking skills and use them to teach others through food writing. She uses her knowledge as a pastry chef and experience as a head chef to write articles that are engaging and helpful while being as entertaining as possible.

Comments

  1. Avatar

    When I married my husband he brought with him a Creuset Dutch oven, very stained inside. I would love to get it clean but have never known what to use. Now I have read this article I will use Baking Soda and Vinegar, and a lot of hope.

    Reply

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