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Serious cleaning of enameled cookware


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#1 Fat Guy

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Posted 11 June 2011 - 06:41 PM

I've got an enameled pot that was used in jam making and has caked-on burnt stuff like you wouldn't believe. I don't want to go at it with something that will ruin the surface. What's the answer?

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#2 Twyst

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Posted 11 June 2011 - 06:54 PM

Start by using a little dishwashing detergent in a pot of water and simmering it for about 45 minutes. That usually makes it pretty easy to scrub out.

#3 tirgoddess

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Posted 11 June 2011 - 06:55 PM

I would first fill it w/ warm water and dish soap and bring it to a boil on range, then let soak, maybe over night. Most sugar and color should come off, repeat if necessary. When most all 3d gunk is off, use some comet on it w/ warm water and a 3M sponge. The comet will take all the stains out and not harm the enamel. This is how I get all my Le Cruset sparkling....

#4 andiesenji

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Posted 11 June 2011 - 06:55 PM

I would simply fill it with water, bring the water to a boil, turn it down to a low simmer and add some baking soda and allow it to simmer for a while.

Once the caked on stuff begins to soften, use a wooden spoon or spatula to encourage it to separate from the enamel.

I have used this method to clean antique granite ware (not cast iron) and it works, although it does take some time and attention.

This method will not harm the finish.
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#5 janeer

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Posted 11 June 2011 - 07:38 PM

I would simply fill it with water, bring the water to a boil, turn it down to a low simmer and add some baking soda and allow it to simmer for a while.

Once the caked on stuff begins to soften, use a wooden spoon or spatula to encourage it to separate from the enamel.


This is exactly what I do.

I have never had to use a scouring powder, but if I did, I would use Bon Ami.

#6 ElsieD

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Posted 11 June 2011 - 08:07 PM

I too have had luck with baking soda.

#7 ScoopKW

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Posted 11 June 2011 - 08:31 PM

I would replace the baking soda with Powdered Brewery Wash. If PBW doesn't clean it, it can't be cleaned.
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#8 HungryC

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Posted 12 June 2011 - 04:12 AM

A long soaking (or simmering), then hit it with a sprinkle of Barkeep's Friend. BKF is ideal for hard surfaces, and it will lift stains out of enamel. So goodbye turmeric (or berry) stains!

#9 Blether

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Posted 12 June 2011 - 05:43 AM

I too use a baking soda boil as a heavy-duty pot cleanse. I used to use it on my Le Creuset stuff.

Then one day, the boil-with-baking-soda-in-water didn't get the inside of my most-used pot as clean as I liked. I searched online and followed advice on the web site of Le Creuset Australia that said "make a paste of baking soda and washing-up liquid, and rub it in with a sponge". I did so and the enamel surface went from tarnished-shiny to dull, abraded matt. Perfect for every food and its dog to stick to.

Now, I bought that pot - a 30cm cocotte ronde - from Le Creuset in the US by airmail, because of course Le Creuset Japan markets little pots for dainty housewives and heart-shaped enamelled crockery moulds and branded spatulas. It was USD250, USD400 with shipping. I contacted Le Creuset Australia to take issue with their advice, and they denied it even existed and brushed me off with rough language, and an insistence that before anything happened, I must mail the pot round the world to them.

I have since re-evaluated my stance on Le Creuset - it's overpriced rubbish, with a finish that degrades and isn't recoverable. My advice ? Have it bead-blasted back to bare metal, oil it and hang it up as a dinner gong. I'll be continuing occasional use of the few pieces I still have, till each goes beyond its useful life and I can get rid of it.

#10 David A. Goldfarb

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Posted 12 June 2011 - 06:01 AM

Once you've soaked off what you can: Easy-Off Heavy Duty oven cleaner. It won't dull the surface, and it takes hard black polymerized grease right off with no scrubbing required.

#11 Darienne

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Posted 12 June 2011 - 06:18 AM

Worth noting for Canadian readers: American Comet and other cleansers do not have the same formula as Canadian products. In Canada, we still have abrasives in our cleansers. I can't speak for ALL American cleansers and ALL Canadian cleansers, do check the label on your cleanser if you are going to use it on enamelware.
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#12 SylviaLovegren

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Posted 12 June 2011 - 07:11 AM

Worth noting for Canadian readers: American Comet and other cleansers do not have the same formula as Canadian products. In Canada, we still have abrasives in our cleansers. I can't speak for ALL American cleansers and ALL Canadian cleansers, do check the label on your cleanser if you are going to use it on enamelware.



I love that Canadian stores sell "javelle water" (aka bleach). That usage went out in the States in the 1800s.

#13 qrn

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Posted 12 June 2011 - 10:32 AM

A long soaking (or simmering), then hit it with a sprinkle of Barkeep's Friend. BKF is ideal for hard surfaces, and it will lift stains out of enamel. So goodbye turmeric (or berry) stains!

BKF is great stuff,,,its very fine so it does not scratch , I use it for enameled things, and have some copper that the acid in it will clean up nicely without dulling the shine...
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#14 mache

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Posted 12 June 2011 - 04:18 PM

It its enameled throughout, I would soak it in a 25% bleach solution for 24-48 hours.

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#15 ElsieD

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Posted 12 June 2011 - 06:21 PM

In Canada, all labels must be in both French and English which is why "javelle" is on the label.

#16 tirgoddess

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Posted 12 June 2011 - 09:37 PM

Bleach has worked for me as well :smile: I have consistently used about 6 pieces of enamel Le Cruset for about sixteen years. I also have some pieces of the Belgian ware that was the generation prior ... all if it is in great condition..stock pots and saute w/ lid. It holds heat so nicely to help balance the timing of the meal when something goes awry...

#17 Fat Guy

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Posted 12 June 2011 - 09:41 PM

So far I've tried boiling water plus baking soda, followed by Barkeeper's Friend. I've got most of the stuff off, though I'm wondering if the Barkeeper's Friend hasn't been too harsh on the surface. I'm not in love with this pot so I'd rather have it be clean than beautiful, though.

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#18 ScoopKW

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Posted 12 June 2011 - 09:56 PM

Seriously, find a homebrewing supply shop, and ask for Powdered Brewery Wash.
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#19 David A. Goldfarb

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Posted 13 June 2011 - 04:05 AM

Easy-Off. The lye will dissolve the grease without harming the enamel, and you can just wipe it off with a sponge.

Cleansers have abrasives. The question is whether the abrasive is fine enough to polish the surface in question and make it shinier than it is or whether it is coarser and will make it duller.

#20 SylviaLovegren

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Posted 13 June 2011 - 05:58 AM

In Canada, all labels must be in both French and English which is why "javelle" is on the label.


That makes sense. But a (non-French) friend in Toronto told me to go get some javelle water to clean up a mess. I did a double take since I'd only seen it in US home help books from the 1800s.

#21 ElsieD

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Posted 13 June 2011 - 05:55 PM

Seriously, find a homebrewing supply shop, and ask for Powdered Brewery Wash.


That reminds me of something. I have a stainless steel teapot that used to be my mother's. When I got it home I was dismayed to see that it had been left on the stove and the entire inside had baked on crud. I tried the usual baking soda and it wasn't doing much good. My husband suggested using some Diversol which we use for cleaning our winemaking equipment and it worked like a charm. It did no harm to the pot and it is like new. You can buy it at any home brew place. I'm wondering if that is the same thing as Powdered Brewery Wash?

#22 paulraphael

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Posted 14 June 2011 - 02:29 PM

Has anyone run one of these through the self-clean cycle of the oven? It should work ... I'm assuming the enamel gets applied at a higher temp than this. I won't go as far as suggesting this without better information.

(to state the obvious ... take the knob off the crueset first ...)

Edited by paulraphael, 14 June 2011 - 02:30 PM.


#23 ericthered

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Posted 14 June 2011 - 06:13 PM

Another vote for Barkeeper's Friend cleanser. Also excellent for cleaning stainless pots/pans as well as copper.

#24 ScoopKW

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Posted 14 June 2011 - 08:31 PM


Seriously, find a homebrewing supply shop, and ask for Powdered Brewery Wash.

I'm wondering if that is the same thing as Powdered Brewery Wash?


No it's not the same. Diversol is a combination alkaline/chlorine cleaner. It's good. But it's not as good as powdered brewery wash. Winemakers love the stuff because they can clean and sanitize simultaneously. Brewers like the stuff, until the chlorine reacts with their beer, making chlorophenols, which make beer taste like Chloroseptic throat spray. Then they switch to PBW for cleaning and an anionic sanitizer for sanitizing.

EDIT -- But it's better to try nearly anything before breaking out the abrasive scouring powder. Caustics (lye aka sodium hydroxide) will dissolve a stain chemically. PBW is basically Oxiclean on steroids, it's a catalyst cleaner. Hell, pour some white vinegar in the pot and boil it. Any of them are going to be better for the finish than a scrubbie and abrasive -- which should always be "Plan B" after attacking the problem with chemistry.

Edited by ScoopKW, 14 June 2011 - 08:36 PM.

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