How to Clean a Dutch Oven

Learn how to clean an enameled cast iron dutch oven with baking soda. It will get rid of any stains and stuck on food without ruining your pot.

The one item from my kitchen that has stuck with me the longest is my honey gold, Le Creuset enameled cast iron dutch oven. I’ve had it for 15 years now. I call it “OT” – Old and trusted. It’s been with me as I taught myself to cook, survived 12 moves, and gets used every single time I make my Nana’s Sunday Gravy.

Over the years, it’s also started to show signs of aging.

The interior gets blackened when I sear something in the pot and stains happen after simmering a pot of sauce on the stove all day.

What’s the easiest way to clean a dutch oven?

  • It’s easy using just a couple of simple ingredients – baking soda and dish soap!

What you need to clean a dutch oven:

You’ll need three items to clean your enameled cast iron dutch oven:

  1. Baking Soda
  2. Dish Soap
  3. Abrasive Sponge

Simple, really. I think you’ll already have these items on hand.

How do you clean the inside of a dutch oven?

  • Fill your dutch oven with enough water to cover the staining/stuck on bits.
  • Bring it to a boil.
  • Add in a few spoonfuls of baking soda.
  • Scrape up any blackened bits using a wooden spoon or spatula.
  • Once the pot is mostly clean, pour the water out and use an abrasive sponge and a bit of dish soap to give it a final polish.

At this point, you may notice that there are still some burnt on bits. If so, can repeat the process. This should get rid of any final remaining stains.

How do you get brown stains out of a dutch oven?

If you’ve got a real challenge on your hands, try making a paste of dish soap and baking soda. Spread that onto your enameled cast iron dutch oven and let it sit overnight.

The next morning, add a few drops of water and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any remaining scorched bits. Then rinse the paste from the pot using an abrasive sponge and dish soap to polish things off.

How do I clean the outside of my enamel dutch oven?

  • Make a paste of dish soap and baking soda. Rub that over the outside of your pot to clean up any stains, then rinse.

With these tips, you should have a bright and shiny enameled dutch oven that is ready for its next 15 years of use….

Inside shot of clean dutch oven.

Note: The above information is how to clean a Le Creuset dutch oven. If you are cleaning a cast iron dutch oven (without enamel) you will want to follow the steps below.

How to clean a cast iron dutch oven:

  • Fill your dutch oven with enough water to cover the staining/stuck on bits.
  • Bring it to a boil.
  • Scrape up any blackened bits using a wooden spoon or spatula.
  • Once the pot is mostly clean, pour the water out and use an abrasive sponge to give it a final polish.
  • Dry the pot by placing it back on a hot burner until all the water has evaporated.
  • Oil: Add a coat of oil to your pot using a paper towel.

27 thoughts on “How to Clean a Dutch Oven”

  1. i HAD ENAMALED PANS THAT AFTER A WHILE actually POPPED OFF the enamel coating…I had burned stuff in them of course.. LOL had to throw away a couple of them. Never wanted that kind anympre. i9 use Stainless Steel or Bare cast iron now.

    Reply
    • I’m with you Suzannah – I really love all the Mrs. Meyer’s scents… I buy a different variety every time I’m out. It’s hard to pick a favorite!

      Reply
  2. Gees, I just soak mine in dish detergent for a while, then wash with a dish cloth and if stains remain I put water in to cover stain and then add bleach. Let soak for a while and the stains are gone. Then I rinse well. They always look like new.

    Reply
    • Bleach is corrosive so while it may look like it works wonders now it will eventually prove to have eaten away at the enamel so id stear clear if i were you.

      Reply
  3. When we lived in Holland my mum used to simmer rhubarb in her dutch oven to clean it. Seemed to work a treat – I think it has to do with the acid in the plant. I have now inherited her dutch oven and it is still going strong.

    Reply
  4. I have a Lodge dutch oven that I make stovetop carnitas in. I don’t know why but each batch of carnitas leave the pan bottom a total charred wreck! Using multiple boiling/sitting sessions, barkeeper’s friend, bleach and even oven cleaner eventually gets things white again but the bottom surface of the pot is now the texture of shark skin.

    I just ordered a Staub to replace the Lodge. I’ll see if your baking soda method can help me keep the new pot clean without ruining it.

    Reply
  5. I have a pot that looks nearly identical to that first photo. I tried this method and even the extended overnight version and it barely made a difference. I don’t know how you got that pot so clean. Did you use a power drill and a wire brush?

    Reply
  6. Tried this on a 20 year old Lodge Dutch Oven. Its marginally better, but the bottom is still dark grey and the lower sides a medium brown. I used 1/2 cup baking soda and simmered it for about 45 minutes. I think this method might work to keep new enameled ware from becoming permanently discolored.

    Reply
  7. I tried this and many other things on one of my pots. No significant help. I could still use the pot for soup, but I’d never be using it for other things because everything sticks. My other pots that have only been used in the oven always clean up like new. I gave the damaged one away, replaced it with a cheaper brand and no more browning of meat for me in enameled cast iron.

    Reply
  8. Easier way! Put about 2″ of water in the pot. Bring to a hard boil. Turn off heat,add liquid bleach about 1/2 – 3/4 c. Let sit. Clean pot!

    Reply

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