How to Clean Enameled Cast Iron To Get Rid of Stains

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Do you find your enameled cast iron pots and pans stain or are 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.

Enameled cast iron pots and pans looking amazing

Caring for enameled cast iron

This is not unlike the steps I listed for that cleaning cast iron skillet.

To clean enameled cast iron, let the pot or pan cool first — otherwise you risk ruining the enamel through thermal shock.

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 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.

X Don’t use metal scourers or metal scrapers on enameled cast iron to avoid leaving marks

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.

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

Vinegar, baking soda, bleach, and Bar Keepers Friend are products mentioned in how to clean stained enameled cast iron cookware.

The three everyday pantry items are convenient and reasonably cheap choices.

Bar Keepers 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, which mentioned further down.

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.

How to clean enameled cast iron using baking soda

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.

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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 and 100% ceramics.

Recommended cookware cleaner

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.

Using bleach to remove stains in enamelled cast iron

To remove stains 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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