It is always best to follow the cleaning instructions that come along with your Dutch oven.
Although you can try other methods, there is no guarantee that it will work or not cause permanent damage.
In case your Dutch oven didn’t come with any instructions, or the instructions are not working, don’t worry.
Allow me to take you through some of the cleaning methods that I found safe and effective.
Different Ways to Clean Dutch Ovens
Dutch ovens are available with different materials in the market.
They are available in stainless steel, enameled cast iron, ceramic stoneware, or plain cast iron. A good Dutch oven material is durable and sturdy.
Let us take each material one by one
Cleaning up a Cast-iron Dutch Oven
Cast iron Dutch ovens are classic outdoor and indoor ovens. They can be cleaned easily with few steps.
The important thing is to remember to re-season the cast iron dutch oven after washing.
- When the cast iron is still warm, use a dry cloth or a kitchen towel to wipe away residues inside and outside the Dutch oven.
- If there is mild grime or grease, pour some water into the Dutch oven and place it over the cooktop. Let the water boil. Use a nylon brush or a wooden spatula to remove the grease and grime.
- Throw the water and add fresh water and repeat the process till the water comes out clean
- For stubborn stains, use dishwasher soap + hot water. Use a sponge or a plastic scraper card to remove the gunk. Avoid metal scrapers or steel wool.
Re-seasoning the Cast Iron
- After cleaning, use a dry cloth or towel to wipe the Dutch oven. Scour off any rust spot with the help of sandpaper.
- Heat the Dutch oven on a medium-low setting on a cooktop or 250-300F in an oven for five to ten minutes.
- Add half a teaspoon of flaxseed oil. You may use any other cooking oil. Use a tissue or brush to coat all over the Dutch oven. Wipe the excess oil with help of a paper towel.
- For large rusting, heat e Dutch oven. Add a good amount of flaxseed oil or any vegetable oil. The oil should coat the bottom of the Dutch oven.
- Once the oil starts smoking, turn off the flame.
- Sprinkle Some salt over the oiled surface and scrub the rusted area with a dry cloth or paper towels.
- Add more oil and heat the Dutch oven again until it smokes. Add salt and scrub. Repeat the process until the surface is black and rust-free.
- Keep the heat on for five minutes until the smoke comes out and then switch off the burner. Use paper towels to remove excess oil.
Cleaning an Enameled Cast-iron Dutch Oven
Enameled cast iron is very easy to clean due to the enameled coating.
Wash the enameled cast iron Dutch oven while it is still hot for a maximum cleaning effect.
Depending on how dirty your Dutch oven is, clean your Dutch oven with any of the cleaning materials below –
Using Hot Water + Soapy Solution
For mild dirt, use hot water, dishwasher liquid, and a soft sponge to scrape out.
After washing, let the Dutch oven dry up completely.
Using Abrasive Cleaner
If dishwashing liquid does not help, try using a slightly abrasive cleaner like Barkeeper’s friend.
Use hot water and the cleaner mix to scrape away the dirt from the pot.
Using Boiling Water
For tough stuck-up food, let the water boil for few minutes inside the Dutch oven.
While the pot is on the stove and boiling, simmer down and scrape with a nylon brush or wooden spatula.
Throw away the water and repeat until there is no grime left
If the stains cannot be washed off, spare a few minutes before going to bed for a simple but effective technique.
Take a quarter cup of bleach and splash inside on the stains inside the Dutch oven.
Fill the Dutch oven with 1US pint of hot water and let it sit overnight. For bad stains, you can also try bleach: water ratio as 1:3.
Throw the solution in the morning and wash the Dutch oven with hot soapy water.
Using Baking Soda
For stubborn stuck-on food, fill your Dutch oven halfway with water ( approximately four cups) and bring to boil.
Add two spoons of baking soda. Let the water boil for few minutes and then simmer down. Take a wooden nylon brush or a wooden spatula to scrape out the stuck grime.
If the caked-on grime is still stubborn, it’s time to apply baking soda paste to it. Leave the paste for an hour or so and then wash the pot with soapy hot water.
Using Heavy-duty Cleaners – De-solve-It / Ammonia
If nothing works you can try heavy-duty cleaner solutions like De-solve-It. Although it is powerful, it is eco-friendly and non-toxic.
Another common heavy-duty cleaners found in most households is ammonia. This should be your last option.
It is not eco-friendly and can be toxic. Mix a 1:1 ratio of ammonia and water. Apply the paste on the spot for few minutes and then rinse well with hot water.
Cleaning up a Stainless Steel Dutch Oven
Stainless steel Dutch ovens are quite easy to clean and light in weight.
- For mild dirt and grime, wipe the Dutch oven with a dry tissue paper towel.
- Wash the stainless steel with hot soapy water and a sponge.
- Rinse and wipe dry with a kitchen towel
- For stubbornly stuck food, boil water in the Dutch oven and add two spoonfuls of baking soda. Simmer for few minutes.
- Use a wooden nylon brush or silicone brush to rub the cooking surface.
- You can also leave the baking soda and water mixture for an hour or overnight in the Dutch oven and then wash as usual
Cleaning up a Ceramic Stoneware Dutch Oven
Most of the ceramic stoneware is dishwasher safe, but hand washing is always highly recommended by all manufacturers. Hand washing keeps it looking shiny and new.
- Add dishwashing liquid to some hot water to clean the ceramic Dutch oven. Use a soft kitchen sponge to clean.
- For burnt food, heat water in the Dutch oven and bring to a boil.
- Add dishwasher liquid and baking soda and keep the solution for few hours. Clean as usual
Tips to Keep your Dutch Oven Clean
- Although all Dutch ovens are dishwasher safe, I would strongly recommend handwashing. It gives your Dutch oven a long life and prevents aging. If you want your Dutch oven to sparkle and shine like new, ditch the dishwasher.
- Metal scouring pads can scratch the ceramic and enameled surface. Use a soft kitchen sponge or nylon fiber brush.
- Clean the Dutch oven when it is warm. Warmth helps to open up the particles making it easy to clean
- Always let your Dutch oven dry up before storing. Any amount of moisture is a breeding ground for germs. Water also causes the cast-iron Dutch oven to rust.
- When ammonia is mixed with bleach, toxic fumes are produced. Never use them together for cleaning.
- If the dishwasher solution does not work, try the Barkeepers friend solution.
- Baking soda is one of the most effective techniques and works 99% of the time. You can create your own ratios of baking soda and water paste/solution depending on how dirty your Dutch oven is.
- Banging or fiercely rubbing the inside of the Dutch oven with metal spoons can chip the enamel causing food to stick. Switch to wooden spoons or silicone.
- If the food starts sticking inside the cast-iron Dutch oven, it is time to re-season the pot.
- If mild staining remains even after trying all the techniques, do not worry. It is quite common in enameled and ceramic stoneware Dutch ovens and will not affect the taste of your food.
- Some companies like le Creuset and Lodge manufacture special enameled Dutch oven cleaners. You can try them out as well if you have some extra cash.
- Keep a clean microfiber or paper towel nearby to wipe the Dutch oven dry whenever needed.
- Store the Dutch oven and lid separately or use separators or paper towels to create a gap. Gaps allow air to circulate inside the Dutch oven and prevent any moisture build-up.
- If your enamel or ceramic surface has chipped away quite a bit on the inside of the dutch oven, it is time to replace your Dutch oven
I have told you all the best and safest techniques to clean a dutch oven. If your pot is mildly dirty, hot water sponging alone is enough.
If there is grease, scrub it away with hot soapy water. For tougher grimes, use baking soda and water mix.
To remove stains, try bleaching or using ammonia. Do not use them together or they will emit dangerous fumes. You can also try mineral abrasive solutions like Barkeepers friend, de-solve-it, etc.
Avoid scratches by handwashing the dutch oven. Do not forget to dry and re-season a cast iron dutch oven. Use mild kitchen scouring pads. Harsh scrubs and metallic spoons damage the interiors. Use wooden spatulas, nylon, or silicone.
I would advise you to check out all the options to see what cleans your Dutch oven perfectly. Happy cleaning!
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