How to Clean Enameled Cast Iron [Stains Away!]

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Do you find your enameled cast iron pots and pans have discolored? They perform fine but they look a tad unsightly. Here’s how to clean enameled cast iron cookware and options on how to remove the staining.

how to clean enamel cast iron

Why does enameled cast iron stain?

The enamel surface of enameled cast iron wears and dulls with use over time, especially with frequent use of dishwasher, abrasive cleaners, and metal utensils. The surface becomes porous. Carbon residue or coloring from foods settles in the micro pores and stains the once lustrous finish of the cookware.

What you should know: Your enameled cookware will stain — expect it. Manufacturers say it won’t interfere with your cookware’s performance. But for looks’ sake, you might want to remove the stain. If so, read on.

First up, how to clean enameled cast iron…

How to clean enameled cast iron

To clean enameled cast iron, let the pot or pan cool first — otherwise you risk ruining the enamel through thermal shock. Never immerse a hot pan or pot. If food is stuck, add some water (after it’s cooled) and let soak for 15 mins or so. It’s best to hand wash with warm soapy water and a stiff nylon brush. Use a bamboo or plastic scraper on the food residue and it should come away easily.

X Don’t use metal scourers or metal scrapers

Let’s look at ways you can fix stained enamelled cast iron.

Below I cover the idea of using vinegar, baking soda, bleach, or Bar Keepers Friend — that are often mentioned in answer to how to clean stained enameled cast iron cookware.

Vinegar, baking soda, and bleach are everyday pantry items and are convenient and reasonably cheap choices.

Bar Keeper Friend is a commercial product, which I find has many uses inside and outside the house and is a worthwhile purchase overall. You could also opt for the care kit by Lodge.

How to clean enameled cast iron using vinegar

Vinegar is a useful household cleaner. For how to clean enameled cast iron with vinegar, try diluting it in a splash of water and wipe over the cookware. Make sure to rinse properly and dry before storing.

Vinegar will make the product shine but it may not remove persistent staining.

See also: My article on cleaning a cast iron skillet with stuck bacon

How to clean enameled cast iron using baking soda

Here’s one way to use baking soda to clean enameled cast iron. Dampen a cloth with water and then dab it into some baking soda. Rub the enameled surface with this cloth in light circular motions, focusing on the stained area. Rinse well and dry.

ARM & HAMMER Pure Baking Soda 8 oz (Pack of 6)
For scratchless cleaning
available at Amazon

For more stubborn baked-on food, partly fill the pot or pan with water and add baking soda. You’ll want a concentration of about 2 tablespoons of baking soda for each cup of water. Allow to boil for a few minutes to loosen the residue. Then remove the food remnants with a plastic or bamboo scraper. Rinse and dry as usual.

Bar Keepers Friend for enamel cast iron cookware

Can you use Bar Keepers Friend on enamel cast iron? By all means, apply this product similar to instructions for baking soda with a damp cloth and rub lightly, concentrating on the stained section. Rinse and dry well after. This product is also great for cleaning and polishing stainless steel cookware.

Recommended cleaning product

how to clean crock pot base, cookware with bar keepers friend cleanser & polish
Bar Keepers Friend Cookware Cleanser

available at Amazon

Brand recommendations on cleaning enameled cast iron cookware

It’s always best to refer to manufacturers care instructions, especially for warranty reasons. Lodge, one of the popular cast iron cookware brands in the US, say to avoid using citrus or citrus-based cleaners.

Lodge recommends it’s own cleaner kit for removing stains from its enameled cast iron cookware.

Lodge Enameled Cast Iron & Ceramic Stoneware Care Kit (Acrylic Box)
Enameled Cast Iron Care Kit

available at Amazon

But for hard to move, their advice is to soak the pan in bleach — see next.

How to remove stains in enamelled cast iron cookware using bleach

Partly fill the pot or pan with water and add household bleach. The concentration is 3 tablespoons of household bleach for each quart of water. Let it sit for 2-3 hours. Then clean as recommended above.

Bottom line

There are reasons for choosing cast iron over other types of cookware in your kitchen. With enameled cast iron cookware there’s no need for seasoning the product like you do with the traditional type. They will stain however and while this does not take away from their performance, you may want to remove the stain for the sake of their looks. A creamy interior rather than a brown discolored one is more attractive to many home cooks. Hopefully the above has given you some helpful hints on caring for your cookware.

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