A Le Creuset Enameled French oven is an expensive piece of cookware. Knowing how to care for it would extend its lifespan dramatically. Before you start using it, you are recommended to read its Care and Use Guide. If you start to see stains or spots, clean it as quickly as possible. Waiting or continuing to use the Dutch oven with spots will make it much harder or sometimes impossible to clean afterward.
Tips: After each use, always fill up the Dutch oven with water and gently bring it to a simmer. The simmering will loosen most food residues, which makes cleaning a breeze.
To clean a stained or burnt Le Creuset, try these following options. The options start with the safest to the most aggressive. Be careful with Option 3 as it will cause permanent damage if used incorrectly.
Option 1: Water and Baking Soda, Then Vinegar
Mix baking soda and water to make a paste. 1 tablespoon for mild stains while 3-5 tablespoons for tougher stains. Spread the paste in the interior and let it soaked for several hours or overnight. You can use a cloth or wooden spatula to scrape off the food residues after the soak. An even better option is to use a toothbrush, or preferably an electric toothbrush to clean the spots. For those remaining tough spots, spray with household vinegar and let it sit for a while. Use cloth, spatula or brush to wipe and clean. Rinse with water to clear all remaining baking soda and vinegar.
Repeat the cycle as many times as you like until you’re happy.
Option 2: Le Creuset Cookware Cleaner
If the above option doesn’t work, it’s time to introduce some cleaning agents. The most recommended cleaning solution is the Le Creuset enameled cast iron cleaner. It is not as harsh as other cleaning solutions while keeping your LC interior shiny and new. Being not as harsh also means it might not work for tough burnt on stains on the first try. Read the fine points and instructions before using it.
There are 3 other cleaning solutions that are stronger, but you should be careful to use: Bon Ami, Bar Keepers Friend, and Efferdent. These are much more abrasive than the Le Creuset cleaner. Be careful not to use it too aggressively as it will dull the shine and might scratch the enamel. When using Bon Ami or Bar Keepers, avoid using brush or pad. Sponge or cloth is the best way to go.
Tips: searing and browning meats produce the most difficult spots to clean on the enameled interior. Instead, use a cast iron or stainless steel pan to sear, and then transfer your protein and de-glazing liquid to your Dutch oven and continues cooking.
Option 3: Water and Bleach
This last option usually takes all stains and marks away. But it is also the most damaging method and you should only use this as the last resort and should not use this method more than once or twice a year.
Soak the interior with 1 teaspoon of bleach per 1 pint of water for several hours or overnight. Use sponge or cloth to wipe. Do not use a straight or 50/50 mix of bleach and do not heat the bleach and water solution.