How to Clean Enameled Cast Iron: A Complete Guide

Cast iron cookware have long been noted for their longevity. However, this only comes when you take proper care of your cast iron cookware to ensure their long-lasting quality and optimal performance. And the same goes for those coated with enamel.

In my experience, it is far easier to clean and maintain a piece of enameled cast iron cookware compared to its bare cast iron counterpart.   If you’re searching for effective tips on how to clean enameled cast iron and achieve a spotless finish, look no further! 

This comprehensive guide has got you covered. Say goodbye to stains and confidently embrace the elegance of enameled cast iron cookware.

How to Clean Enameled Cast Iron Cookware

To clean your enameled cast iron cookware effectively, you’ll need a few essential items:

  • Non-abrasive plastic or silicone scraper: This tool removes any food particles stuck to the surface without scratching the enamel.
  • Non-abrasive sponge or dishcloth: Opt for a gentle sponge or dishcloth to clean the cookware without causing damage.
  • Microfiber drying cloth: A soft microfiber cloth is perfect for drying the cookware and preventing water spots.
  • Dishwashing liquid: Since there is no seasoning to worry about, using a mild dishwashing liquid will be perfectly fine.
  • Paper towels: Keep some paper towels handy for wiping and drying the piece of cookware. 

There are also some optional items that you should keep on hand for certain circumstances

  • Baking soda: This versatile household ingredient helps remove stubborn stains and odors.
  • Hydrogen peroxide: This little trick works wonders as a remover for those stubborn stains.
  • Chlorine bleach: If necessary, use chlorine bleach sparingly for deep cleaning. Use it in a properly ventilated space, and follow the instructions closely.
  • Vegetable oil*: There may be some circumstances where you’ll need to apply oil to your piece of enameled cast iron. More on this later.  

With the right materials and cleaning techniques, maintaining the excellent condition of your enameled cast iron pots and pans will be a breeze. Follow this simple routine after each use for effortless upkeep.

1. Allow cookware to cool down before washing

Before you dive into cleaning, make sure to let your enameled cast iron pan cool down completely. Dousing your enameled cast iron with cold water while it is still piping hot may induce thermal shock and make the coating crack. Give it some time to cool off to reduce the chance of damage and cracks.

2. Wash with a sponge and soap

Begin by grabbing a silicone or plastic scraper and give your enameled cast iron cookware a good scrape to remove any stubborn food bits. After that, wash gently using a non-abrasive sponge or dishcloth and warm, soapy water. If you feel extra ambitious, get a nylon scrub brush for extra cleaning power. 

Tip: For extremely stubborn bits, you should put warm soapy water on the pan and heat it on the stove for a few minutes to loosen stuck debris. You don’t need to wait until the water is boiling; when you gauge that the water is warm enough, you can go through with your scraper to finish the job.

3. Before storing the cookware, make sure it’s dry

Make sure your cookware is thoroughly dry after washing it. Nobody wants lingering moisture to cause damage or rust. Hence, you should find a cool and dry spot for your cookware’s storage.

Optional: Apply oil on areas with exposed metal

The rims of some specimens of enameled cast iron cookware, particularly those at a lower price point (like my 2-in-1 Dutch Oven from Desavros pictured below), may not be coated with enamel, which makes them prone to rusting from the top. Thankfully, this can be easily fixed by applying oil to the exposed surfaces.

I’m still debating with myself whether I should create a full-blown layer of seasoning on those bits with exposed metal to make a semi-permanent fix. I should probably not, though, as I fear that the high temperatures involved in the seasoning process may induce cracking in the enamel. Let me know if I should go ahead with it in the comment section!

How to Remove Stains from Enameled Cast Iron Cookware

Staining is natural, but you can keep your cookware looking its best with extra care. Here are some simple solutions if you’re wondering how to clean stained enameled cast iron cookware.

Baking soda method

Apply baking soda and water paste to the stained areas and gently rub in circular motions. The mild abrasiveness of baking soda will work its magic, lifting the stains without causing any harm to the enamel. Once you’ve defeated those stains, give the pan a good rinse and make sure it’s completely dry. 

Bleach method

Create a mixture of 3 tablespoons of chlorine bleach and 4 cups of water. Then, soak the cookware in the solution for 2 to 3 hours. Finally, drain the solution and wash the cookware with warm soapy water. Remember to always handle bleach in a well-ventilated area for safety.

Hydrogen peroxide method

Pour hydrogen peroxide into your cookware, covering the bottom by at least ½ inch. Toss a quarter cup of baking soda and heat the pan on the burner until you see those bubbles popping up. Afterward, you can cool it down and wash it like you normally would.

5 Best Practices When Cleaning Enameled Cast Iron Cookware

Let’s get into some tips on maintaining enameled cast iron cookware.

1. Avoid using the wrong tools

To prevent scratches, steer clear of steel wool or metal scrapers. Instead, opt for wooden or silicone utensils, which are more gentle on the surface and aid in safeguarding against scratches or chips. 

2. Don’t forget to descale the exterior 

Scales are deposits of calcium and magnesium that have solidified and white and chalky residue on the pan. This is a particular problem for areas with hard water. While this won’t affect the performance of your enameled cast iron, it can be unsightly especially when not treated promptly. Thankfully, these scales can be easily removed by rubbing a thick paste made from 2 parts baking soda with 1 part vinegar.

3. Don’t let it air dry

Make sure you don’t let your cookware air dry after washing it. Just get a towel and give it a quick and thorough drying before putting it away. Doing this can prevent moisture buildup, which can cause rust or other damage. 

4. Store it properly

When storing your enameled cast iron cookware, remember two things. First, cushion it by placing a kitchen towel or paper towel between the cookware and lid to prevent scratches and chips. Second, avoid stacking multiple pots or pans to minimize the risk of damage like scratches, dents, or breakage.

5. Skip the dishwasher

Avoid using the dishwasher and start hand washing instead. Dishwasher detergents can be harsh and potentially cause damage to the cookware, not to mention the possibility of rust deposits forming. After washing, thoroughly dry the rim to prevent any rust from developing.

Preserve Cookware Quality

Cleaning your enameled cast iron cookware is easy and keeps it in top-notch condition. Just follow a few simple steps: cool it down, wash it with a sponge and soap, and dry it before storing it. 

With this fuss-free cleaning routine, you’ll have your enameled cast iron pots and pans looking shiny and new. Not only will they stay spotless, but you’ll also preserve their quality for the long haul. 

Are you ready to improve your cast iron cooking? Explore the Cult of Cast Iron blog and discover the secrets to maximizing the performance of your cookware. Learn tips and tricks to elevate your cast iron cooking skills today!

Leave a Comment