Cleaning a Dutch oven isn't as complicated as, say, washing a cast iron skillet. But it's also not as simple as rinsing out a stainless steel pot. Scrub too vigorously and you can scratch or chip the precious enamel coating. Work too gently and you'll leave behind stains or burnt-on bits. Although top Dutch oven manufacturers like Le Creuset and Staub says their pots can go in the dishwasher, it's recommended that you mostly hand-wash the heavy bottoms and lids.
Usually a soapy sponge and water can cut it, but here's what you do if you've got a more aggressive mess on your hands. (If you've really made a mess, you might need this story: How To Clean Burnt Stains Off Enameled Cookware.)
How To Clean an Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven
What You'll Need
- First, soak it a little: Make sure the pot has cooled and then fill it with a few squirts of dish soap and hot water. Add two heaping tablespoons on baking soda. Cover and let sit for 15 minutes.
- Scrape off stuck-on food: Drain about half the water, then use a plastic scraper to dislodge any burnt-on bits.
- Scrub: Empty the pot and scrub again with dish soap and hot water, this time using your plastic scrubbie.
- Make a paste: If your Dutch oven still has a few stains or burnt-on bits, try a longer, more concentrated baking soda soak. Make a paste of three parts baking soda to one part water.
- Apply the paste: Use your fingers to dab it onto the inside of your dutch oven, a little bit at a time (do too much at once and it will slide down the sides). Bonus: Once you're done covering the stains, gently rub the paste over your hands and fingers to exfoliate them and buff your fingernails.
- Let sit: Cover the Dutch oven and leave it for a few hours or even overnight.
- Add some hot water: Add a little hot water, then scrub the stains with your plastic scrubbie. They should come right off!
- Wash and rinse: Finish by washing the Dutch oven with dish soap and rinsing with clean water.
- Let dry: Set the pot in drying rack or on a towel to dry completely before putting it away.
- Again, this was for more general cleaning. If you have some serious burnt-on food or these steps didn't work entirely, see this post, which adds the element of heat: How To Clean Burnt Stains Off Enameled Cookware