help -- i have a beautiful large le creuset dutch oven that i managed to leave on a flame with a soup inside overnight. stupid, stupid on my part. end result was waking up to carbonated smell at 5 am and discovering the charred remains of chicken soup in a pile of black at the bottom of the pot. we vigorously scrubbed away most of the blackness and now the bottom is a dingy grey. is it safe to use still?



anyone November 10, 2010
My eighteen year old le crueset has had enamel that is grey and lost it's luster years ago and still is fine and don't plan on replacing yet. Also, a capfull of bleach helps in the soaking process for getting burnt food to unstick and disolve. @FrsehMel leave the advice giving to those who really know! If you don't know an answer, don't answer!
helicopterina November 10, 2010
you all are amazing as one collective, peer resource. i've since made a new batch of soup in it, and no one dropped dead immediately. hopefully the long-term effects of a greyish bottomed pot will not do us in any time soon, either... and there's no charred taste at all (i first tested that by sipping water that had been boiled in it). and yes, i like antoniajames advice about embracing this imperfection...i'll be embracing this one, and lots of other dings and stains and visual cues to past missteps... :)
betteirene November 9, 2010
Don't you just hate when that happens? I did it with split pea soup in stainless steel and did the baking soda trick followed by Bar Keeper's Friend for the detail work--don't know who discovered particular hint from Heloise, but I love that person.

Awww, AntoniaJames, that's a beautiful answer. Who, besides the cook, sees the bottom of the pot?
Kayb November 9, 2010
I've had success getting burned residue out of stainless pans by boiling a cup or so of water and a half-cup of baking soda until the water is gone and the soda dry and cracky...then it peels out with the burnt stuff adhering. Might work on the stains, not sure!
nutcakes November 9, 2010
I don't know if this will work on enamel, but if I leave plastic ware in the sun, the stains come out. Boiling water seems a good idea.
Mr_Vittles November 9, 2010
I have done this before too. Try and fill it with water (80% full) and a few drops of dish soap. Boil it for an hour, covered and most of the charred bits will come off, the water should turn dark as well.
pierino November 9, 2010
You will never be able to get it sparkling white again but it is safe to use. Scrub it (not scour) with Bon Ami or even Comet, but you are still going to have darkness at the edge of town.
jwolfsthal November 9, 2010
almost impossible to hurt a Le Creuzet. Soak and wash, but the patina on ours has posed no issues for many years.

Voted the Best Reply!

AntoniaJames November 9, 2010
Don't worry about discoloration. Embrace it. It shows that you're using the pot, that you're human, and that life is much too interesting and you have far too many other, more important things to do than to clean (or worry about) the inside of your pots. ;o)
helicopterina November 9, 2010
thanks so much! i may try to contact le creuset directly. surface doesn't seem to be damaged physically, so much as discolored. so sad. i've tried a little bleach and hot water, i've tried scrubbing with bon ami, soaking with white vinegar...
zest I. November 9, 2010
I've done some very very mean things to my le creuset over the years - I would soak it overnight, starting with some hot water and baking soda. You may need to do it a few times, but that's how I've eventually gotten mine clean. If all else fails, you may want to contact le creuset to see what they say. The link to their care recommendations is here:
FreshMel November 9, 2010
If the enamel coating (the ivory, glossy interior) has been compromised, than I would consider it unsafe to use.
monkeymom November 9, 2010
I would say yes. Consider it well seasoned :) Cook something you'd like to have a smoky flavor!
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