kandm_gw

Cast Iron Enamel Cookware

kandm
12 years ago

Do you love it or hate it?

Someone recently bought me a nice 5 pc set of enamel cast iron cookware. The set includes a grill pan and dutch oven, I enjoy the pieces, but I'm worried about exterior cleaning. I know you cannot use harsh chemicals, the dishwasher, or rough pads or the enamel will be damaged. I'm worried that if I use the pieces in the oven, the outside will eventually have baked on stains like an old cookie sheet.

Comments (22)

  • lindac
    12 years ago

    and who cares if it does?
    I use mine in the oven and a baking dish that is about 20 years old has some stains that won't go away....but it still cooks just fine!
    And I have been known to use a magic Eraser on them....and have put my pots and pans in the dishwasher a lot!
    Linda C

  • kandm
    Original Author
    12 years ago

    I care, I care a lot. It was a pretty expensive gift and I want to take care of them. I was thinking I might be able to soak them in a dishpan with a few denture tablets if they get stains on the outside then use a soft toothbrush to gently scrub. hmm

  • foodonastump
    12 years ago

    I had some stubborn burnt on stains on an enameled tea kettle and they came off instantly with Ceramabryte, the glass cooktop cleaner. The bottle does say, generically, that it can be used on pots and pans, but I would hesitate to use it regularly on expensive enameled cookware for fear of it wearing down the surface. It is slightly abrasive. But once in a while, I would think it is fine.

  • Marigene
    12 years ago

    Kandm, I agree about caring what the outside of my pans look like. I would feel that if the outside wasn't clean, the inside probably wasn't either. I don't put my cast iron enamel pans in the dishwasher, it is a good way to void the warranty. Guess I just have a phobia about having clean pans, a clean sink and clean grout on the tiles in the kitchen!

  • readinglady
    12 years ago

    Before moving to specialty products you might just try a paste of baking soda and water. It's cheap, non-abrasive and not damaging environmentally.

    I haven't, by the way, experienced that many problems with exterior stains, and that includes the little dutch oven I use on the Traeger grill. I think you'll find in most instances the enamel cleans quite easily.

    Carol

  • Bumblebeez SC Zone 7
    12 years ago

    The interiors will scratch too so use plastic or wood utensils. I store mine with dish towels layered between the pot and lid.

  • BeverlyAL
    12 years ago

    I have a white dutchoven and don't use it very much because of that reason, plus it's heavy. I like to keep all of my cooking utensils looking as much like new as I can. I would definitely try the baking soda first.

  • lindac
    12 years ago

    I really can't imagine not using a wonderful piece of cookware because you are afraid it will get scratched or stained.
    What are you saving it for? The second wife? I have 4 Le Cruset ovens an oval baker which has cooked more than a few high heat chickens, a covered sauce pan and several other pieces of French cast iron enamelware.
    I can't imagine not using the oval baker for a high heat chicken even though it may stain it.
    I guess I believe in function over form...
    Which is a good thing or else I might never use my sterling, china or crystal glassware.
    Linda C

  • bri29
    12 years ago

    When I bought my Le Creuset dutch oven (happy birthday to me), I bought a bottle of their cleaner too. It was only a few dollars and it cleans and conditions the enamel like a dream. It's not something you have to use every time, but if there are stubborn stains it takes them off quickly. I'm sure baking soda would do a good job though too.

    Bri

  • diana55
    12 years ago

    I'm with Linda.....I would find it a compliment that someone who I purchased a gift for , expensive or not, that they used it everyday, and made wonderful meals with it. Good Cast Iron cookware is meant to be used. I find that washing mine in hot water, and soap, takes off all the baked on food. Hey....why buy a fourwheel drive, and not go over a few bumps with it !!! :)

  • cseim
    12 years ago

    I love my Le Creuset pieces! They are really wonderful to cook with. The only problem is that their weight makes them a pain to clean, but food does come off much easier than it does with my All Clad. I put mine in the dishwasher all the time. Their website even says it's okay to do so. I avoid putting the grill pan in, though, because the guy at the outlet suggested I season it as you would any other cast iron pan to help create a more non-stick surface.

    Here is a link to their website for your questions.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Le Creuset FAQ's

  • kandm
    Original Author
    12 years ago

    I'm not scared to use them for fear of stains. That's a drastic interpretation of the text. They will get a lot of use, trust me. I'm just interested in not staining them. Barring that, I want to find a good way to clean them so as not to ruin the look.

    I like the idea of using baking soda and thank you for the tip about the LC cleaner. I think denture tablets will work as well. That's what I use to clean stains from my porcelain
    tea kettle and it works wonderfully.

    As for the weight, it doesn't worry me. I have used cast iron pans since I was 11. I am really looking forward to making tomato sauce, it's big nono if you use plain cast iron!

  • colleenoz
    12 years ago

    I just give it a good soak with warm soapy water and it cleans off good as new.

  • ann_t
    12 years ago

    Like Linda and some others, I use all my cast iron Enamel cookware and stopped worrying years ago about some staining. Some of the newer pieces clean up beautifully. But one of my older pieces from Le Creuset is stained on the outside and very difficult to get cleaned. I use to go to all kinds of trouble to try and keep the outside of that pot clean. Now I don't bother. It is one of my favourites and you can tell by looking at it that it has been used often over the last 25 years.

    One method I found for cleaning up enamel coated pots that have staining is to soak them in a sink with dishwasher detergent.(Cascade). Softens the baked-on stains and they wash off easily.

    Kandm, I have a set of vintage Griswold cast iron and I often use it to cook chili and tomato based sauces in it. Hasn't harmed my pots and in fact, one of my favourite Tex Mex chili recipes actually states that "Chili just doesn't taste right if you don't cook it in an iron pot". LOL!

    Ann

  • foodonastump
    12 years ago

    When you get a new car you try to keep it pristine. At some point there will be a few door dings and suddenly a new scratch is no longer the end of the world. Bottom line, I can totally understand why kandm wants to take good care of the new set. At some point perhaps it will matter less, but for now all that was asked for were cleaning suggestions.

    Ann - Have you stored your tomato based sauces in your Griswold? Reason I ask is that once I made shrimp parm in my pre-seasoned (and post-seasoned!) Lodge skillet, and made the mistake of leaving the dishes for the morning. By then I had such a rusty mess that I had to scour the pan aggressively and basically start the seasoning process from scratch.

  • ann_t
    12 years ago

    Foodonastump, No, I don't store foods in my Griswolds. When I bought them they needed to be restored so I've been very careful about washing, drying and keeping the surface oiled so I won't have to do that again.

  • Bumblebeez SC Zone 7
    12 years ago

    I love that hammered pot Ann.

  • foodonastump
    12 years ago

    Me too! I wish I had the first clue as to where my Griswold book is to learn more about it. I have never seen those before.

  • azzalea
    12 years ago

    I've had enamelled cast iron (some Lodge, some Le Creuset) for several years now. They still all look like new, because I always wipe them out with a little baking soda, to get any discolored spots when cleaning them. It removes them like magic and doesn't hurt the finish. Even takes out those gray marks you get if someone uses a metal utensil in one.

    Just buy the biggest box of Baking Soda you can find, keep it handy (it's the best cleaner for SO many kitchen jobs) and enjoy your enamelled cast iron pans for everyday cooking like I do.

  • lindac
    12 years ago

    My dentist warned me not to use baking soda on my teeth as it's too abrasive. Arm and Hammer baking soda tooth paste is different, but baking soda out of the box is abrasive.
    I prefer to clean my enamel pots with a cleaner/de greaser than an abrasive.
    The finish on the older Le C pots and the Descoware pots were less hard and glass like than the ones put out in the past 4 or 5 years. I don't really think you have to worry much about the newer pots...but my 2 older Ovens, one of which is easily 30 or more years old and another 25 or more...and both are badly discolored....but they have cooked a lot of pot roasts!
    Linda C

  • BeverlyAL
    12 years ago

    I have upper back and and rotator cuff problems so whenever I use cast iron DH has to be around to do the lifting. And I AM the second wife!

    Beverly

  • ann_t
    12 years ago

    Foodonastump, Bumblebeez, I love the hammered finish too. I got lucky and found the 4 piece set, #8 Frying pan, chicken Fryer and Dutch oven (the hinged lid fits all three pots) at an Antique store here on the Island. And they were a pretty good deal too.

    Ann