The Right Way to Clean Enameled Cast Iron Cookware So It Lasts for Generations

Pass down these heirloom-worthy pieces in pristine condition by using these cleaning and care tips.

Red enameled cast iron pot, saucepan
Photo: triocean / GETTY IMAGES

A favorite of chefs and home cooks, enameled cast iron cookware is coveted for its beauty and durability. Made popular by brands like Le Creuset and Staub, enameled cast iron cookware can be expensive, but it's well worth the investment—and with the right care, your cookware can last a lifetime.

Enameled cast iron is coated with porcelain enamel, which makes it more durable, versatile, and easier to use and clean, says Nate Collier, director of marketing communications and culinary at Le Creuset. "Enameled cast iron requires no seasoning and is designed to minimize sticking and resist dulling, staining, chipping, and cracking," he says. "This cookware delivers the benefits of cooking with cast iron but removes the hassle of maintaining it."

While easier to care for than cast iron, enameled cast iron needs just as much TLC to maintain its durable quality. We asked experts to share their best tips for every step of the cleaning process.

Why It's Important to Clean Enameled Cast Iron Cookware

It's necessary to give your enameled cast iron a thorough wash after each use to keep it in its best condition, says Tiffany La Forge, professional chef, food writer, and the author of The Modern Cast Iron Cookbook. "While enameled cast iron cookware is much easier to clean than its non-enameled cast iron cousin, it still takes some care to ensure it stays scratch-free and keeps its non-stick interior," she says. In addition, this will help prevent food or grease buildup that could damage the cookware altogether, says Kathy Cohoon, the director of franchise operations at Two Maids.

How to Clean Enameled Cast Iron Cookware

While enameled cast iron cookware is sturdier than many other types of coated cookware, it's best to handwash it, even if your model says it is dishwasher safe. "Handwashing your cookware will preserve it and keep it rust-free," says La Forge. "If any part of the interior or trim isn't enameled, it will rust."

Materials You'll Need

  • Gentle dish soap
  • Non-abrasive sponge or brush

Follow these expert-approved steps to routinely clean your enameled cast iron cookware:

  1. Allow the cookware to completely cool before cleaning.
  2. If there is food residue, fill the pan with warm water and a gentle dish soap and let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes before washing.
  3. Use a non-abrasive sponge or brush to remove small food deposits or stubborn residue.

How to Remove Stains and Stuck-On Food

Whether you stained your enameled cast iron cookware or burned a bit of food on it, the remedies to both of these issues only require the use of a few household ingredients.

What You'll Need

  • Kosher salt
  • Baking soda
  • Paper towels

Here are the experts' recommendations on how to remove stubborn food and stains from enameled cast iron:

  1. To remove food without damaging your cast iron, use a spatula to gently remove any possible debris.
  2. Wipe with a dry cloth to remove all loose food.
  3. Once you have removed as much as possible, create a paste of course kosher salt and lukewarm water and coat the cookware to remove residue.
  4. If this doesn't work, mix baking soda and water to create a paste. This will remove both stains and any remaining stuck-on food.
  5. Using the paste, scrub the affected area, rinse, and repeat. If you still need to loosen up the burnt-on food, try boiling water in the pan, says Cohoon.
  6. Dump the water and repeat the paste methods above.
  7. Once you're finishing cleaning, pat the cookware dry with a paper towel.
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