You finally break down and spend more than you wanted to on fancy cookware, then find that after a handful of times of putting it in the oven, there's an obnoxious food stain on the interior enamel. No matter if you scrub until your hands are raw or put them in the dishwasher an extra cycle or two, you just cannot get them clean. They went from shiny, new investment pieces, to looking no better than basic, cheap cookware. Raise your hand if this is you. You're not alone, and I've finally got definitive answers on how the heck you're supposed to clean Le Creuset cookware.
Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Cleaner, $25, amazon.com
First things first, you should probably know what material you're cleaning. Le Creuset is cast iron with an enamel coating. It has amazing heat retention, but you can't treat it the same as your stainless or nonstick cookware, because, well, it's not stainless or nonstick. But don't shy away from the brand thinking that it's high-maintenance, because it's actually easy to maintain, once you know what you're doing.
"All of our cast iron is dishwasher-safe, but we recommend cleaning our cast iron with warm soapy water and a sponge or non-metal scrubbing pad," says Nate Collier, Director of Marking Communications for Le Creuset. Don't be afraid to soak the pan in soapy water overnight if you get lazy—the enamel coating protects against rusting, and it doesn't need to be seasoned after drying.
But what about those spots that just won't quit? Don't worry, there's a solution, and it's not buying a new pan. "Bring water to a very gentle simmer in the dutch oven on the stove with either a small amount of dish soap or baking soda, let the water cool, and then scrub and rinse," Collier says. "For any dulling of the enamel, our works wonders to remove any residue."
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