Food & Nutrition

How to Take Care of Your Dutch Oven So You’ll Have It Forever

Dutch ovens are pretty heavy-duty, but they do need some maintenance from time to time. Learn how to clean a Dutch oven to get rid of stains and burnt-on bits.

The Dutch oven is a kitchen workhorse. It can tackle all kinds of cooking tasks, and while they may be expensive, they’re heavy-duty enough to withstand a lot of wear and tear. Plus, they’re one of the items in your kitchen that could be worth money. If you take good care of them, they’ll practically last forever! The best part about their enameled finish is it’s pretty simple to clean; it generally releases cooked food with a little soap and warm water. But, every once in awhile, those burnt-on bits get out of control. If you have a mess that a soapy sponge can’t handle, here’s how to clean a Dutch oven.

Use a non-scratch sponge

Before you get started, forget using steel wool or stainless steel scrubbers to clean this pot. Using the wrong cleaning products are one of the 11 ways you could be cleaning your kitchen wrong. Soft, non-abrasive sponges are the best way to avoid chipping enameled coating. If that happens, there’s no going back and you won’t want to use the pan anymore. The exposed cast iron can rust, or worse, chipped pieces can make their way into your food. A replacement may be covered under your warranty, but it’s not guaranteed.

Stick to non-scratch scrub sponges (like this one) for regular cleaning. For more heavy-duty stains, look to a Lodge plastic scraper or a nylon scrubbing brush.

Soak in a baking soda bath

If your Dutch oven needs a little more love than soap and water, try soaking it in a baking soda bath. Bring four cups of water to a boil and mix in two heaping tablespoons of baking soda. Simmer the mixture for a minute or two before turning off the heat. Cover it with a lid and let it sit for about 15 minutes. Then, empty the pot and attack any burnt-on bits with a plastic scraper. Let the pot cool and clean it with regular soap and water.

Rub on a baking soda paste

For serious built-on grime where a soak isn’t enough, try making a paste using 3 tablespoons of baking soda and one tablespoon water. Using your fingers or an old toothbrush, rub small amounts of the paste onto the stains. Don’t be afraid to rub some of the paste on the outside of the pot, either. Cover the pot and let it sit overnight. The next morning, those stains should wash right off with soap and water. The power of baking soda foes beyond your Dutch oven. Baking soda is one of the most brilliant ways to clean these 17 things.

Invest in bar keepers friend

If you’re short on time, try using Bar Keepers Friend. This stuff is kind of magical! Simply wet the inside of your Dutch oven, sprinkle in a little powder and start scrubbing. Almost instantly, the burned pieces and stains will fade away. Then, clean the pot with soap and water like normal.

Look special enameled cast-iron cleaners

Most cast iron companies have a proprietary cleaner like this one from Lodge or this one from Le Creuset. If you feel better about sticking with the recommended cleaner, go for it. But regular old baking soda has been able to take care of 99 percent of our stains. If you have a cast-iron skillet in addition to your Dutch oven, you’ll also want to know how to store cast-iron skillets.

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