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All questions

What's the best way to clean a VERY burned bottom of a Le Creuset pot?

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I couldn't resist the bargain bags of apples at the farmer's market and so my wife and I came home with 40 pounds of apples to make our last batch of apple sauce for the season.

Probably because they had been stored so long and probably because they only had 3 varieties of apples on close-out sale, this batch behaved very differently than in the past. Not only is the flavor not as complex (I usually use as many varieties as I can in equal proportion -- as many as 15 kinds. I just walk down the row at the farmer's market taking 5 of each kind of apple) but it's thicker and pastier...

...but that's neither here nor there. The real problem is the burned on spot on the bottom of the pot. Black, black, black. I soaked it overnight. I scraped it with a sharp edged short-order cook spatula. I scrubbed it with a Dobie sponge and Barkeeper's Friend... and yet there's still quite a bit left.

So, how do I clean my beloved massive 13.25 quart Le Creuset pot?

While Peter no longer works for Food52 he still thinks up ways to make the website better.

asked over 3 years ago
70 answers 125114 views
036
aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added over 3 years ago

Try simmering some white vinegar in there and give it a little wooden sppon scrub now and again. Then when that doesn't work try salt / lemon / ice and swish it around (waitress trick for burned coffee pots) and when I say swish I mean put your back into it!

Good luck! Stupid apples.

Dscn2212
boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added over 3 years ago

And add some baking soda to the white vinegar. Be patient, this is going to take a while. And how do you think I know that?

Dsc_0048b
added over 3 years ago

Maybe some of these suggestions will help you...

http://www.food52.com/foodpickle...

Img_0718
added over 3 years ago

Barkeeper's Friend didn't work? Oh no! I had high hopes for this product which has worked fine for us so far......I'm going to follow this to see if you find a solution, good luck!

Junechamp
ChefJune

June is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added over 3 years ago

I'm nodding my head in agreement with both of you, and rolling my eyes. haven't we all been there at one time or another? ;)

Sunshine-small
Peter

While Peter no longer works for Food52 he still thinks up ways to make the website better.

added over 3 years ago

Barkeeper's Friend ALWAYS does the trick with a Dobie sponge on my All-Clad stainless steel. Alas, not on the enameled cast iron Le Creuset. I'm excited to try all these other solutions though!

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added over 3 years ago

i just took some BKF to my le Creuset pot yesterday and made major headway. not perfect, but helped a lot. it does require some SERIOUS elbow grease, however.

Buddhacat
SKK
added over 3 years ago

I am in a hotel and not my kitchen so excuse me for not having the exact names. Mr. Clean has a plain white sponge called Magic Erasure (something like that). When you use it, the material kind of disappears. The point being it cleans without scratching. I have used it with success on my broiler pan and other stained things.
Cost about $2.50 for 2 (I think).

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added over 3 years ago

The best thing I've found is soaking the pan overnight with baking soda and hot water. Scrub the pan in the morning with a dish brush and repeat if necessary.

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added over 1 year ago

I just used this method to get off the awful black crust caused by an applesauce event similar to the one that began this thread. Thanks for the solution!

Debbykalk-photo
added over 3 years ago

I agree with everyone who says to keep trying. I over-baked a batch of onions into a miserable black crust in a brand new dutch oven and was sure I'd ruined it. But after a few days (!) of rounds of boiling with vinegar and water and working at it gently but in a determined way, the muck eventually began to give way. The pot is now a little seasoned-looking and works just fine. I think the answer is that it takes endless, zen-like patience but it will work eventually.

Me_by_barbara_tyroler
added over 3 years ago

You've gotten all the suggestions I could offer, so please accept my sympathies. After you've done your best, call it seasoning and keep using it?

Burnt_offering
added over 3 years ago

If it makes you feel even a little less bad, one of my favorite pans is one my Mom gave me, that still has the ghost of many individual rice grains seared into it. Pan performs fine, but nothing will make the ghosts go away. I've learned to live with them, and would miss them in the bottom of my pot now. It has character.

Dscn2212
boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added over 3 years ago

Burnt Offerings, I've got one of those too.

Chris_in_oslo
Greenstuff

Chris is a trusted source on General Cooking

added over 3 years ago

What a lot of stories in this thread. Peter, I think that most everyone at Food52 has had a similar disaster and felt we've ruined out Le Creuset, only to finally recover it. Burnt Offerings really brought it home to me--my mother had a huge collection of Revere Ware. Over the past almost 60 years, I've seen it destroyed, piece by piece, often with those rice grains seared into it. I still have a couple pieces, but they could never survive an applesauce adventure. Be happy that your pot is of thicker stock and will recover! Let us know what finally worked.

Dsc_0122.nef-1
added over 3 years ago

Use Dawn Power dissolver (it comes in a blue opaque bottle). Just spray on , leave in a place inaccessible to lil kids for ~ 1 hr & then just practically wipe it off

Dsc_0122.nef-1
added over 3 years ago

This is what I'm referring to, I've had it erase years of hard greasy build up just washed away.. It used to be available in grocery stores, but this was bought from soap.com.

Dawn_002

Dsc03010
added over 3 years ago

aargersi, you cracked me up. "Stupid apples." Sounds like something I'd say.

I'm glad to be in such great company.

Dsc_0122.nef-1
added over 3 years ago

With you Betteirene ...That's right, I'd scold the apples too!

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added over 3 years ago

For my Creuset, I use dishwasher detergent. Make sure you buy a brand that contains enzymes (you have to read the ingredients on the label). Dissolve the detergent in hot water and let the pan soak overnight. It always works for me.

Niki
added over 3 years ago

Barkeeper's Friend always works for me!

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added over 3 years ago

dmbaer's method always works for me. It softens the burnt on crud and makes it much easier to scrub off - whether LC or stainless cookware.

Sunshine-small
Peter

While Peter no longer works for Food52 he still thinks up ways to make the website better.

added over 3 years ago

Thank you everyone for the wide array of ideas. Last night I tried the boiling vinegar and baking soda and... no dice. Absolutely no easier to remove what's burnt on.

Tonight I'll try to make time to try the dishwasher soap ('cause I have it handy) and if that fails, next I'll try the hydrogen peroxide (which will require a quick trip to the drug store).

One question though. I've banned the green nylon scrubby sponges from our kitchen as it wreaks havoc on the stainless steel. I use the yellow sponges with the with nylon nets -- Dobies.

Are those green scrubbies ok to use on Le Creuset? Or will they scratch it up?

Debbykalk-photo
added over 3 years ago

Are you leaving it to soak overnight? Also, have you tried putting it in the oven with water and an agent such as baking soda? It might release easier if hot. I think the key is to keep letting it soak without interruption. And, maybe instead of trying any other remedies, you should contact Le Creuset: http://www.lecreuset.com....

Sit2
Sam1148

Sam is a trusted home cook.

added over 3 years ago

Good luck! I've used the green scrubbies but then again my LC is about 20 years old..and has it's share of ware, the enamel is still fine. Just stained a bit from use. However with the Hydrogen Peroxide you shouldn't have to scrub much and the yellow net sponge should work fine. You might have to repeat the HP method as once it reacts with the carbon, it'll give it's all and you reload with fresh. Only takes about a half hour or less. A few mins boil and a few mins simmer. You'll see it start working and lifting off the crust.
It really only works well on "Crusty" carbon that's bonded to the pan. Rinse and repeat.

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added 8 months ago

I tried this method after I burned tomato jam to my new LC, and pieces of my enamel came off. Not enough to revel the metal cast iron, but it made the enamel thin and puckered. I am really disappointed; has anyone else experienced this problem?

Sit2
Sam1148

Sam is a trusted home cook.

added 29 days ago

I have a 10 inch sautee pan that has a 'bubble' and crack in the enamel and the waves you describe. I've never had to use the HP method on that pan. So that never had the treatment.
It just Bubbled with use. Maybe your pan was bubbled when it was burned dry and then revealed when clean. I'd contact LC as they have a lifetime warranty. I called and got a RMA for mine..but well...keep forgetting to pack it up and ship it.

Sit2
Sam1148

Sam is a trusted home cook.

added over 3 years ago

BTW: When I say "BOIL" it's not really boiling in the traditional sense. Just heat until you see bubbles reacting with the carbon bits. It should only bubble on the parts that are crusted. Hope this helps!

Dsc_0122.nef-1
added over 3 years ago

so...Is it clean yet?

Sunshine-small
Peter

While Peter no longer works for Food52 he still thinks up ways to make the website better.

added over 3 years ago

For those looking for a Le Creuset update... I tried Sam1148's hydrogen peroxide method and... not sure yet. I simmered it a good while, added the baking soda, it foamed plenty. Didn't try to scrub it clean yet as I got distracted by cooking the beet chips shown below.

I'll scrub tonight. Stay tuned!

Photo

036
aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added over 3 years ago

Well the beet chips look fabulous! We are all keeping your poor pot in our thoughts :-)

Sit2
Sam1148

Sam is a trusted home cook.

added over 3 years ago

I'll keep watching. Sometimes it takes another treatment as the H202 gives up it's power pretty quickly, and it needs heat to start the reaction and keep it going. Otherwise it just sits there doing nothing.
Hope everything works fine you.

Burnt_offering
added over 3 years ago

Peter - did you try commercial spray on oven cleaner? The inside of ovens is often enameled, and that stuff is designed to break down carbon. Spray it, cover it, and let it rest overnight.

Sunshine-small
Peter

While Peter no longer works for Food52 he still thinks up ways to make the website better.

added over 3 years ago

All, so sorry for the lack of updates on the state of my pot -- I've been BUSY for the last 2 weeks wrapping up the Whole Foods site we launched yesterday. (In case you missed it, here's the announcement: http://bit.ly/eowFxx and here's the site: http://bit.ly/fhVW3c )

Anyway, the pot is doing a lot better. Not perfect -- and my impatience may have damaged the pot to some degree -- but better.

First I tried simmering vinegar and baking soda. No real help. Then I tried simmering hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. Not much better. Then I went soaking it overnight with an inch of water and a pile of powdered cascade covering the spot. I'd then scrub it with a green nylon scrubbing pad. (The white mesh covered, yellow Dobie-brand sponge that's so good on my stainless steel was useless.)

After two successive 24 hour long rounds of this Cascade treatment the spot is 95% better. No black. No raised areas. Just some light brown.

Unfortunately I think the green nylon scrubber did a number on the enamel. While the walls of the pot are glossy smooth to the touch, the affected area feel... not rough, but not glossy. More like running your finger over a piece of paper instead of a piece of glass. :-/

Let's hope that the newly "rough" area doesn't become a regular trouble spot and I'll try the oven cleaner next to see if I can return it to a shiny white.

Finally, thanks for all the suggestions and the patience in waiting for the round-up.

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added about 5 hours ago

Use a razor blade like the one used for a glass cooktop. The burned food will come off easily.

Niki
added over 3 years ago

You should still try Barkeepers Friend... It has removed all my stubborn stains, plus it's great for removing those annoying grey scuff marks that appear on your sink!

Sit2
Sam1148

Sam is a trusted home cook.

added over 3 years ago

Thanks for the update peter! The H2O2 method, only removes high carbon crusts. As a first line 'save' . It doesn't to anything for stains on enamel.

As for your Pot. Don't worry too much. I have a LC that's 20, (probably closer to 25 years old now). The bottom is stained and a bit brown. I would think scrubbing more with more harsh things might cause more harm to the finish than good..just to remove stains. Only for surface 'bumps' of burned on carbon.

Oh, it looks pretty when new. But with use, even the most diligent cook will have some stains after years of use. For the LC it, IMHO, it's just visual. Doesn't effect the performance. (unless there's something bumpy in there). Stains are just visual problems. You should see my 25 year old wok.

But for the LC. You do run the risk of removing the stain..and removing the coating with harsh scrubbing chemicals etc. The stain is a 'character mark' of used and love pan.

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added over 3 years ago

thank you thank you! I just tried the hydrogen peroxide and baking soda and it worked like a charm. I can't believe it worked so well! I just used a wooden spoon to 'scrub' the gook out and it's stained, but as good as ever.

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added about 2 years ago

I found this thread when searching google for help with the exact same problem. I'm a newlywed with my brand new beautiful mustard yellow Le Creuset stockpot. I went apple picking and just couldn't wait to make applesauce for the first time in my new kitchen with all my new stuff. Same big black scary char. I have made applesauce so many times in my moms old pot but this demon char, mine eyes had never beheld.

Before doing any reading on the matter, I just let it soak in plain h2o overnight. Then in the morning I did my research and found this. So after haring all your responses and a couple from my mom too, first I dumped the water out of my soaked pot, then poured about a cup of baking soda on it and let it sit for a couple minutes. Then I put in some water filled about a third of the pot, and put it on the stove to boil for about an hour and a half. Mad myself some French toast, found out there is tons of other fun stuff to read on this website, and then drained the water. Most of the char had bubbled off the bottom. I used the little brown square that comes with pampered chef baking stones to scrape off the parts that didn't pop off and they came up with no elbow grease to speak of. I'm glad your pot is okay now, and so is mine, thanks to your research! New readers try my method. No damage and very little effort!

Screen_shot_2011-06-30_at_11.52.36_am
added about 2 years ago

I agree with the dishwasher detergent suggestions, but I do it differently, with excellent results: Put a generous scoop of detergent into pot, along with a squirt of dishwashing liquid. Fill pot with water, and boil for 15 minutes. Cover and leave overnight. Next morning, if not all gone, and it often is, use BKF as a touch up. If super-bad, repeat. This works on any kind of burned pan or casserole dish.

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added almost 2 years ago

I work at a kitchen store, and asked our Le Creuset rep the same question last week to help with my burnt pot:

"Use a laundry detergent (like Tide or another brand with enzymes) mixed as one part detergent to three parts water in order to fill the vessel. Boil for 5-7 minutes. Allow the vessel to cool, then use a nylon or plastic scrubby as needed.

After cleaning, coat the interior lightly with white vinegar on a soft cloth or paper towel. This helps return some of the sheen back to the glaze. The longer the vinegar stays on the enamel, the more of the sheen it will return. Your vessel can be stored with the vinegar on it until next time. Wash and dry before using."

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added almost 2 years ago

I just tried the laundry detergent method offered up here and Voila! It's taking all the cooked on, stuck and yucky and burnt sweet potato casserole off the bottom of my gorgeous red casserole! Used about 3 tablespoons (heaping) of Gain powdered detergent, boiled for about 5 minutes. Tested it by scraping with a wooden spatula...bits on hard, black cooked on disgusting mess are boiling to the surface or the little bit of water I added to cover the bottom completely. I scraped a bit more now letting it soak. Looks like success at last! And just in time for Thanksgiving, which is the last time I used this particular dish

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added 6 months ago

OMG this worked! I put a few tablespoons of laundry detergent and water in the pot and brought it to a boil. I let it boil 5 minutes and then let it sit for a while. All the burnt on stuff came off easily with a little scrubbing and scraping of a fingernail. I am now trying it on the outside of my Le Cruset pot where black stains have resisted all other treatment.
Thanks for the great tip.

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added almost 2 years ago

Ugh, lots of typos above...next I'll coat with vinegar as suggested by frausimon , and move on to my dutch oven. Yes, I did the same thing to that one as well. ;-)

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added over 1 year ago

Hi Arety, pedagogue typographist cooking journalist Mick here. Just taking a look at your last post there, the one raising the issue of "typos" in other peoples posts - let's see... OK, no space between three full stops and the word "next" then only one space after the full stop (what Americans call "period") and then a rogue space after "frausimon" before the comma. Suffice to say, there are three "typos" in your own text. Not entirely sure about ending the passage with the unusual juxtaposition of a semicolon / en dash / singular parenthesis. Maybe you might want to take a look at your own work, before making rash, and somewhat misjudged comments about others.

186003_1004761561_1198459_n
added over 1 year ago

By the popularity of this question and answers it sounds like a lot of us have forgotten a pot on the stove and burned a really bad. When all else fails, I spray a little oven cleaner on the spot and that usually works. Be careful and use it where there is really good ventilation and be sure and wear rubber gloves.

2010-09-15_14.22.07
added over 1 year ago

Loved re-reading this and remembering similar adventures with my own Le Creuset. I like to put a lot of hot water, really hot, even boiling, into the pot to cover the stain, then a tablespoon or two of chlorine bleach. Let it sit for an hour or two. The blackened areas just float away and stains disappear. Be sure to rinse well and let others know that there is BLEACH in the pot and not just water during the soak!

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added over 1 year ago

Mick - She was commenting on her own post that she wrote previously. No need to be so harsh. Please review all the information before spouting off on a soap box. We are all supposed to be here to help each other, not berate them.

186003_1004761561_1198459_n
added over 1 year ago

Actually, I have a secret weapon for cleaning the most burned on food...my Portuguese Water Dog, Floozy(named by my husband) who has some kind of talent for scraping pots clean. She diligently works until it looks like new. Just a little follow up soap and water and the enamel sparkles once again!

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added over 1 year ago

a friend told me to try soft scrub and it works really well on dark stains on he enameled cookware. I don't know how it will do on a tough burn. (the squeeze bottle soft scrub works better than the spray.). my Le Crueset is now creamy white again. good luck! the magic eraser suggestion is a good one, but it may take off some of the enamel so be careful.

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added over 1 year ago

I love it when people recommend using vinegar and baking soda. Vinegar is an acid, and baking soda is a base, but the bubbles, ooh the bubbles! are so impressive when you mix the two, you forget that you are trying to clean a product with salt water.

I would suggest using industrial-strength lye. Reacts with carbon in a lovely way. Keep out of the reach of children. And when you're done, you can neutralize it with some vinegar -- see the pretty bubbles!

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added over 1 year ago

This solution isn't open to everyone, but.... If you have a pyrolytic self-cleaning oven (heats itself up to around 500 degrees....) then put the encrusted Le Crueset cookware in before running the cleaning cycle. The burnt on crud will be reduced to ash and the pan will be left gleaming. Ask around to see if you know someone who has one.

186003_1004761561_1198459_n
added over 1 year ago

Hmmm...years ago I put some Caphalon in my self cleaning oven and yes, indeed, it came out looking like new. But...I had actually annealed the metal and it became very pitted and ugly with use.

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added over 1 year ago

I certainly wouldn't recommend it for Caphalon which, as I understand it, is annodised aluminium. I was assuming that the questioner meant the cast iron Le Crueset range (cast iron has a melting point almost twice as high as aluminium and much higher than that produced by the oven). I use this method to clean my Le Crueset grill pan and it hasn't caused any damage to either the interior or exterior surfaces.

Chef_emily
added over 1 year ago

I just used vinegar and baking soda, soaked it for 15 minutes, then scraped the burned-on food with a wooden spatula to clean as much as possible; then used a green scrubbie to clean up the rest. It WORKED!

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added about 1 year ago

Wet the bottom of pan (no standing water, just wet) then pour salt all over surface liberally. Let sit overnight, then add about an inch of water, bring to boil & simmer for a while. Let cool till handle-able, and scrub. May need to be repeated several times. I'd be careful of harsh cleansers, may damage finish further. Good luck!

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added 11 months ago

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU. The hydrogen peroxide/bicarbonate of soda treatment saved my pot. Had tried everything else without success. Thought I'd give it one last shot with this treatment, though I didn't have much hope. Was amazed to see it lift the carbon when nothing else had shifted it. A bottle of hydrogen peroxide is so much cheaper than a new pot. Try this!

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added 9 months ago

Soaking in bleach and water removes any discoloration. I have LC dutch ovens I have been using for over 30 years. But the roughness will remain, I have not found anything else that will bring back that smooth finish. For just burned on food I boil the pot with baking soda and let sit, that takes out any burned food particles. The discoloration comes out with bleach and absolutely no scrubbing. Good luck.

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added 6 months ago

Bar keepers Friend

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added 4 months ago

When that happens to me I put vinegar in it and let it stay like that. For a couple of hours.
Hope this helped!

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added about 1 month ago

Start with some non-harmful methods first like soaking the Dutch oven in soap water overnight. If that doesn't work, add some cleaning agents like baking soda, the Le Creuset cleaner, etc. This site lists some very useful cleaning options to clean LC ovens. http://www.cookwareinsider...

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added about 5 hours ago

Use a razor blade like the one used on a glass top stove. The stains will come off easily.