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

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?

  • Posted by: Peter
  • March 29, 2011
  • 617022 views
  • 115 Comments
Question image

115 Comments

Nick R. June 22, 2019
Tis morning a friend asked me to clean a VERY burned Le Creuset cooking pot. Gas fired burned on caramalised. Soaked for a month... no joy. I used a process we use to strip paint of vintage restoration aircraft. Take a new GREEN foam backed scouring pad. Not a white scourer and not a metal scourer. Dry any residual water from the pan as this will dilute the cutting effect of the Jif/Cif domestic cleaner. Get a rotary wire brush approx 1-2 inch diameter. Attach to a drill. Place brush lightly on the foam side of the pad.. not the green side.. DO NOT USE NEAR WATER AS ELECTRICITY AND WATER WILL KILL. Squirt in a liberal amount of cleaner and use as if you were polishing the bottom of the pot. Gently press till cleaner starts of get dirty.. this is the burnt food coming off. Keep going till all burned stuff is away and you have a smooth surface. It will be stained but clean. Dont try to clean the stain. Quit while you are ahead. Job done.
 
Brenden May 25, 2019
Let sit for a few hours in equal parts, baking soda and water as someone suggested below. Amazing results! Didn't even scrub much and all the burnt-on black film was gone.
 
Brenden May 26, 2019
Ooops, meant to say equal parts bleach, baking soda and water. Magic.
 
Timothy G. May 26, 2019
With all due respect, you're going overkill with the bleach, leaving a residue behind that will find it's way into your food. Bleach and Baking Soda is really only good for grout because it's really porous. Enamel, not so much.
As per Lodge. Try one of these methods.
1. For persistent stains, soak interior of the cookware for 2 to 3 hours with a mixture of 3 tablespoons of household bleach per quart of water.*
2. To remove stubborn baked-on food, bring to a boil 2 cups of water and 4 tablespoons of baking soda. Boil for a few minutes then use a Pan Scraper to loosen food.
* With regular use and care, a slight amount of permanent staining is to be expected with enameled cookware and does not affect performance.
 
joannajw May 19, 2019
And I thought I was the only one who burned stuff as much as I do! Trying Sam's recipe in my poor abused pot now. It already soaked in vinegar & baking soda for several days with no improvement.
 
Ursula S. May 28, 2019
Dear Joanna –
If nothing helps, do try this:

① Take 1 tablespoon of citric acid – and put it into your Le Creuset pot.

② Add some warm/or cold water (about 1 inch) – put it on the stove – and bring it to a boil.

③ Let boil for 5 - 10 minutes (watch the water level – and add some more water, so it won't be "boiling" on dry!).

④ If this won't help yet – add 1 - 3 more teaspoons of citric acid – and keep boiling.

⑤ It should be off by now – it's like MAGIC – PURE MAGIC (also for stainless steel)!!!

⑥ Just don't overdo the citric acid, as enamel is made from glass (which is made from minerals – and minerals are NOT acid-resistant).

Very kind greetings to you –Dear Joanna –
If nothing helps, do try this:

① Take 1 tablespoon of citric acid – and put it into your Le Creuset pot.

② Add some warm/or cold water (about 1 inch) – put it on the stove – and bring it to a boil.

③ Let boil for 5 - 10 minutes (watch the water level – and add some more water, so it won't be "boiling" on dry!).

④ If this won't help yet – add 1 - 3 more teaspoons of citric acid – and keep boiling.

⑤ It should be off by now – it's like MAGIC – PURE MAGIC (also for stainless steel)!!!

⑥ Just don't overdo the citric acid, as enamel is made from glass (which is made from minerals – and minerals are NOT acid-resistant).

Very kind greetings to you –
Ursula!
♡♡♡

P.S. I started with 2 T citric acid, but then again, it's my pot.....
 
Tony P. February 13, 2019
DON'T use barkeepers...it is too abrasive, and will ruin the enamel surface!
 
Smaug February 13, 2019
There is a low abrasive formulation that still contains the oxalic acid- haven't used it myself, but it came up on this site a while back in connection with something; people seemed pretty impressed with it. I'm a boil it with baking soda man myself.
 
loves2eat December 23, 2018
I make a paste of water and baking soda. It won't bring the interior back to white but will get all of the crusty parts off. Actually did this yesterday after braising short ribs.
 
loves2eat December 23, 2018
I make a paste of water and baking soda. It won't bring the interior back to white but will get all of the crusty parts off. Actually did this yesterday after braising short ribs.
 
Maneki N. December 23, 2018
OMG. This is like magic. Got a quarter inch of burned mushrooms in the first go. Thank you for posting this.
 
Debmorg August 6, 2018
Plum jam. Big burn spot today. I tried the hydrogen peroxide and soda method. After scrubbing on my pot all day(off and on) with a green scrubber- to no avail, this method just lifted off the burn!! I used a flat wooden spoon on a few bits. Easiest burn cleanup ever!!
 
Qbutton March 18, 2018
Instead of dwelling on it, the day i was feeling most listless, i got out the brillo pads, ajax, scouring (sp?) pads, applied elbow grease and patience over a few dys. Small areas at a time. Used the wax on, wax off method alternating hands (lol), built up my upper arms muscles and my beautiful pots and lids are now back to their former selves. Yes i said POTs and LIDs My poor brother was very sick, but still tried to cook. God rest his soul, they're back to normal. They were my Grandmother's and Aunt's pots. A labor of love... ; )...
 
Dave March 15, 2018
The exterior of my LC was terribly blackened on sides and bottom from years of neglect.

After reading all of these responses, and having no luck scrubbing with baking soda/water/peroxide I decided to try the spray on oven cleaner.

It took a whole can - 6 or seven applications, with a few hours in between each over the course of two days. A lot came off with the first application, and little came off each subsequent time.

The stuff is expensive. So...I went to a small grocery store which caters to the S.American residents of my town, the shelves are stocked with products not seen in the big ShopRite & Kings stores. The had the EasyOff brand for $6, and right next to it a different brand for $2. I took the cheaper one and am glad for it.

Definitely needs good ventiliation
 
Susan L. February 20, 2018
My heartiest thanks to Sam1148 for his hydrogen peroxide & baking soda method. I had tried all other methods. Baking soda & vinegar lifted the bulk of the burnt encrusted matter, but did not reach the black stains left behind. Sam’s method lifted every last stain from my Cuisinart Dutch Oven. Thank-you from the bottom of my pot & my heart!
Answer image
 
Diana B. February 16, 2018
Try using baking soda and a blue Scotch Brite non-scratch sponge. That usually works for me.
 
Tess88 November 14, 2017
Oh my goodness, after burning some new England Clam Chowder in my Staub Cocotte, I thought it was finished for good. I had been working on it for two days with the baking soda, and although some stains released, it was still a mess. All I did was add some of the peroxide like Sam suggested and like magic I could see all of the burnt mess lifting up immediately. Thank you so much for this handy tip because eventually a burnt mess will happen to everybody.
 
Kristy June 19, 2017
I have the Le Creuset pan from Julie & Julia, scored it at a flea market in Santa Cruz for $6 and because of your Hydrogen Peroxide and Baking Soda trick, I am out of the trenches. Thank you Sam!
 
Kristy June 19, 2017
I have the Le Creuset pan from Julie & Julia, scored it at a flea market in Santa Cruz for $6 and because of your Hydrogen Peroxide and Baking Soda trick, I am out of the trenches. Thank you Sam!
 
Rachael M. January 21, 2017
I had to boil water with vinegar and baking soda AND THEN use BKF to get my white Le Creuset clean inside and outside. It's like new now!
 
Alexsandra9000 October 23, 2016
I used to work for LeCreuset. We used a coarse salt scrub on a damp but not wet surface. When the salt dissolves, add more. This gets all the crust off, but there may be a brown stain remaining. This will not affect the performance of the piece, although it is hard to accept your beautiful pan is now marked. Think of it as a reminder of all the wonderful things you have cooked in it over the years!
 
Princessa H. October 13, 2016
I BADLY burned brown rice in my Le Creuset and I did exactly what sam1148 said to do and it worked perfectly! I used a little metal spatula to scrape the bottom of the pot at the end of the 10 minutes and it got 99% of the stuck on burnt rice off. Afterwards I rinsed it out and used a little baking soda and elbow grease to get the little bit that was left. So glad I know this method now!
 
BerryBaby June 6, 2016
Whenever anything sticks to the bottom a pan, I add about a tablespoon or two of red wine. Heat it up just a bit and scrap with a wooden spoon. Anything that is stuck comes off fairly quickly.
 
grandrivergirl June 5, 2016
I would pour some bleach in there and let it soak.
 
Alon R. June 5, 2016
For me an inch of water, two half lemons, tsp baking soda and few good drops of dishwashing soap to boil and simmer for 20 min did the trick. After that SOS. Done.
 
Ursula S. November 16, 2015



I recently talked with Le Creuset about cleaning the enamel on their cast iron cookware:

Enamel is a glaze that is mainly made of ground up glass.

Usually, first a ground-coat is applied and fused onto, which ensures that the basic enamel firmly adheres to the surface of the product (the cast iron, at Le Creuset's).
Then a cover-coat is melted and burned onto, and finally the vibrant color coating.
The temperatures for fusing the coats range from 1470 - 1740 ° F/and 1110 - 1470° F for the color-coat.

The exact composition of an enamel coating varies slightly -- every company has their very own formulation. But it is always made from glass, and contains glass-forming oxides like natrium oxide/kalium oxide/silicon dioxide.

All surfaces that are made of natrium oxide/kalium oxide/calcium oxide (as for instance also marble and granite) are sensitive to acids: they are not acid-resistant.

I was assured however by the Le Creuset customer care that the enamel that is used to glace their cookware DOES tolerate vinegar and also citric acid, as these are natural acids, and are kind of 'moderate' in their acidity.

???? ???? ???? As one friend on Food52 (Sam) has reported that his Le Creuset pot got ruined after he ran it through the dishwasher together with a citric-acid decalcifying agent: I would not add more than 1 or 2 tablespoons of citric acid to 1 - 1½ inches of water for enameled cookware. (It works like absolute magic on stainless steel pots -- bring the water and the citric acid to a boil, let boil for one minute with the lid on, and check.)


???? ???? ???? This is what the Le Creuset customer care said advising me how to clean their enameled cast iron cookware (burnt-on, protein-containing or caramelised deposits, soot, oil are alkali-soluble):

1. Add 2 tablespoons of baking soda into the pot with about 1 inch of water (baking powder works also, he told me, but his preference is baking soda).

2. Bring to a boil.

3. Take the Le Creuset pot off the heat, cover with a lid, and let sit overnight.

4. On the following day, scrub with a NYLON brush if the deposits didn't come off yet.



???? ???? ???? There are videos on YouTube that also show how to clean the Le Creuset cookware (put in browser address bar: how to clean enamel cookware Le Creuset YouTube -- or paste the links below into your browser address bar):

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0eEFrQZ0sA
(hydrogen peroxide & baking soda)

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=tA66pywOobY
(this is in Japanese, but the pictures show exactly how to do it)

Kind greetings, and a Happy Thanksgiving and Blessings to all -
Ursula.
 
Ursula S. November 16, 2015
I recently talked with Le Creuset about cleaning the enamel on their cast iron cookware:

Enamel is a glaze that is mainly made of ground up glass.

Usually, first a ground-coat is applied and fused onto, which ensures that the basic enamel firmly adheres to the surface of the product (the cast iron, at Le Creuset's).
Then a cover-coat is melted and burned onto, and finally the vibrant color coating.
The temperatures for fusing the coats range from 1470 - 1740 ° F/and 1110 - 1470° F for the color-coat.

The exact composition of an enamel coating varies slightly -- every company has their very own formulation. But it is always made from glass, and contains glass-forming oxides like natrium oxide/kalium oxide/silicon dioxide.

All surfaces that are made of natrium oxide/kalium oxide/calcium oxide (as for instance also marble and granite) are sensitive to acids: they are not acid-resistant.

I was assured however by the Le Creuset customer care that the enamel that is used to glace their cookware DOES tolerate vinegar and also citric acid, as these are natural acids, and are kind of 'moderate' in their acidity.

???? ???? ???? As one friend on Food52 (Sam) has reported that his Le Creuset pot got ruined after he ran it through the dishwasher together with a citric-acid decalcifying agent: I would not add more than 1 or 2 tablespoons of citric acid to 1 - 1½ inches of water for enameled cookware. (It works like absolute magic on stainless steel pots -- bring the water and the citric acid to a boil, let boil for one minute with the lid on, and check.)

???? ???? ???? This is what the Le Creuset customer care said advising me how to clean their enameled cast iron cookware (burnt-on, protein-containing or caramelised deposits, soot, oil are alkali-soluble):

1. Add 2 tablespoons of baking soda into the pot with about 1 inch of water (baking powder works also, he told me, but his preference is baking soda).

2. Bring to a boil.

3. Take off the heat, cover with a lid, and let sit overnight.

4. On the following day, scrub with a NYLON brush if the deposits didn't come off yet.

???? These are videos on YouTube that also show how to clean the Le Creuset cookware (put in browser address bar: how to clean enamel cookware Le Creuset YouTube -- or paste the links below into your browser address bar):

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0eEFrQZ0sA
(hydrogen peroxide & baking soda)

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=tA66pywOobY
(this is in Japanese, but the pictures show exactly how to do it)

Kind greetings, and a Happy Thanksgiving and Blessings to all -
Ursula
 
Simon November 3, 2015
Can anyone advise of the concentration of hydrogen peroxide required? Some of the higher concentrations come with danger warning due to flammability and potential to harm if consumed at certain dosages (much less harmful at lower concentrations but is it at all effective?)
 
CanadaDan November 3, 2015
i found white vinegar on a simmer with some baking soda tossed in and allowed to sit did the trick. i did it twice and each time let it sit for a few hours but it made my 40 year old le creuset look like new
 
Mike July 26, 2015
If it's hard like concrete don't mess about with baking soda, lemon juice, vinegar etc. Soak it with some hot water for a while and then give it a good talking to with oven cleaner! If you are cleaning a glass or ceramic casserole dish DO NOT SCRUB IT WITH SOMETHING THAT WILL SCRATCH IT.
 
thirteenJ June 6, 2015
Dawn Power Dissolver
 
Fiona Y. June 2, 2015
I boiled some water and add in some citric acid and leave overnight. Next day the whole piece of burnt is removed.
 
Sam1148 April 28, 2015
Don't use Citric Acid with Enamel cookware.

I normally use it to clean the dishwasher. One time a load had soap scum leftover..and I put in abut 1/4 cup of Citric Acid. Without removing the pans that the soap residue.

Well, it got off the soap residue...but it also etched a La Creuset pan...the shine is dull, and it feels 'powdery/rough' to touch. The non-stick surface inside the pan is similarly damaged.

Granted it was big dose of Citric Acid...but I'd stay away from it when it comes to Enamel.
 
Ursula S. April 28, 2015
Hi Peter -
I tried to warm up some cooked canned red cabbage in my little stainless steel travel percolator.
I realized immediately that this is not possible, and removed the cabbage - but I couldn't get rid of the burnt-on, caramelized sugars.

Two days ago, I wanted to remove the calcium deposits, and added 2 heaping tablespoons of pure citric acid to the pint of cold water in the travel percolator- brought the water to the boiling point - turned it off - and after a few moments, not only the calcium deposits were gone, but also the terribly burnt-on sugars had completely disappeared!!
I am absolutely thrilled!!
This is an absolutely amacing discovery!

I don't know if that would work for enamel, too - but it might!

Kind greetings -Ursula.

(I think we need Alton Brown to explain that all logically...)
 
nutcakes April 28, 2015
Don't worry, since he asked the question 4 years ago he either cleaned it or tossed the pan out by now.
 
Bruce October 20, 2014
Use a razor blade like the one used on a glass top stove. The stains will come off easily.
 
josefernandez September 20, 2014
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.com/resources/clean-burnt-le-creuset/
 
Emily July 3, 2014
When that happens to me I put vinegar in it and let it stay like that. For a couple of hours.
Hope this helped!
 
Patty May 5, 2014
Bar keepers Friend
 
Jazzymom January 27, 2014
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.
 
Philippa W. November 15, 2013
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!
 
Sujatha September 2, 2013
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!
 
epicureanodyssey July 1, 2013
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!
 
dymnyno May 31, 2013
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.
 
realmastiff July 1, 2013
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.
 
realmastiff May 31, 2013
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.
 
Smartjanitor May 20, 2013
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!
 
Smaug June 5, 2016
Baking soda works very well; I'm told vinegar does too. But mixing them, yes, makes no sense.
 
kristen May 10, 2013
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.
 
dymnyno April 4, 2013
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!
 
WAcook April 1, 2013
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.
 
calendargirl March 31, 2013
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!
 
dymnyno March 31, 2013
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.
 
Arety November 16, 2012
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. ;-)
 
MICK March 30, 2013
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.
 
Arety November 16, 2012
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
 
karen H. April 25, 2014
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.
 
frausimon October 22, 2012
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."
 
EatArt October 9, 2012
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.
 
Grace E. October 9, 2012
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!
 
Joyce A. January 9, 2019
I trued the Hydrogen peroxide and baking soda, simmered method and it worked great! I'm responding because I love those little brown squares from pampered chef! I use them all the time and they helped with this cleanup.
 
Wendiamm May 5, 2011
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.
 
Sam1148 April 14, 2011
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.
 
saltandpeppersf April 13, 2011
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!
 
Peter April 13, 2011
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.
 
Bruce October 20, 2014
Use a razor blade like the one used for a glass cooktop. The burned food will come off easily.
 
Burnt O. April 12, 2011
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.
 
Sam1148 April 1, 2011
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.
 
aargersi April 1, 2011
Well the beet chips look fabulous! We are all keeping your poor pot in our thoughts :-)
 
Peter April 1, 2011
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!

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Panfusine April 1, 2011
so...Is it clean yet?
 
Sam1148 March 31, 2011
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!
 
Sam1148 March 30, 2011
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.
 
Olive February 11, 2014
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?
 
Sam1148 September 21, 2014
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.
 
latoscana March 30, 2011
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/en-us/About-Us/Contact-Us1/.
 
Peter March 30, 2011
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?
 
Gale March 30, 2011
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.
 
saltandpeppersf March 30, 2011
Barkeeper's Friend always works for me!
 
dmbaer March 30, 2011
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.
 
Panfusine March 30, 2011
With you Betteirene ...That's right, I'd scold the apples too!
 
betteirene March 29, 2011
aargersi, you cracked me up. "Stupid apples." Sounds like something I'd say.

I'm glad to be in such great company.
 
Panfusine March 29, 2011
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.
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Panfusine March 29, 2011
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
 
Greenstuff March 29, 2011
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.
 
boulangere March 29, 2011
Burnt Offerings, I've got one of those too.
 
Burnt O. March 29, 2011
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.
 
Nora March 29, 2011
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?
 
latoscana March 29, 2011
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.
 

Voted the Best Reply!

Sam1148 March 29, 2011
Peter, try this work like magic on sugar high carbon crusts.
Add about 1/2 inch of Hydrogen Peroxide to the pot. Add about 1-2 tsp of baking soda.
Heat until it starts to bubble up. It needs the heat to start the reaction. Simmer about 10 mins..and brush with a green scrub brush. Repeat as needed.
It gets into the bond of the carbon and lifts it of the pan. It will bubble and stink, so turn on your vent. But it won't harm the enamel.

I've tried all the above for high sugar crusts/carbon burned on stuff. This is the ONLY thing that works 100 percent of the time without scratching your pan.
 
Ginatralala January 10, 2013
ô! Wonderfull!!! You saved my mother's pot!!! =)
I did as you said. bring to a boil, let it at simmer for 15 mn, then, I turn off the heat and let it sit there for an other 15mn. When I came back, the liquid was all brown and it smell like burned food: Good! I empty the pot and realise that a few chips of burned food broke from my deep burned pot!!! Then I use a wooden spatula and decided to "chip" the burn surface, I hit the black crust more than scrap it, really, and it all came off quite easily!!! I was quite resigned about my pot that was soaking for a week without any result! 30mns and that big black crust was gone!!! hurray!!! Thank You Sam1148! =D
 
mikefromholden February 15, 2013
This method works the best with very little rubbing or scrubbing required. Thumbs up !
 
dnfenwick October 9, 2013
This worked like magic in stainless steel pot where I had burnt apples making applesauce. Lifted right off the bottom! Thank you!
 
Bianca May 7, 2014
This worked almost instantly! The black bits loosened as the mixture heat up and the stubborn patches lifted with a bit of scrubbing afterwards. I hope I never have to do this again (my disaster was applesauce too!) but I'm so glad to know of this technique. Thanks a million.
 
Ju May 23, 2014
It worked!!!!!!!
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Ju May 23, 2014
This was my completely burnt black pot!!! Thank you so much!!!
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Kevin K. October 1, 2014
Excellent results: repeated twice. Now with a clean Creuset!

One suggestion: keep lid ON avoiding dissemination of a fine coat of baking soda "dust" on ALL kitchen surfaces.
Thank you Mr Sam.
 
Sandra June 30, 2015
Spot on. Thank saved my favorite sauce pan
 
renee.twersky August 30, 2015
Wow. This took care of the stains on my LeCreuset dutch oven before my eyes. I didn't even need to simmer the entire 10 minutes. Thanks!
 
v23 November 25, 2016
Thank you, Sam1148! I used your method on my Le Creuset pots and it worked like a DREAM!
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Jodi December 11, 2016
i just tried this and it worked 100% on my BLACK SCORCHED MILK Le Crueset! thank you from the bottom of my kitchen's heart!!!
 
Jodi December 11, 2016
i just tried this and it worked 100% on my BLACK SCORCHED MILK Le Crueset! thank you from the bottom of my kitchen's heart!!!
 
LGM April 2, 2017
YES! Seriously! THIS method actually worked! I also had a really ugly sugar-burn nightmare on my Staub enameled grill pan. I tried: the 3-day-soak, water boiling, soap pastes, Scotch-Brite + major elbow grease, oil + heat, BKF in powder and paste forms and pleading with the enameled cast iron gods. It still took some serious physical effort with the Lodge polycarbonate scraper on two particular spots--even after repeating the process--but the thick-black-crusted-sugar DID fleck off little-by-little. And the rest of it easily released during the first boil! I thought that expensive pan permanently damaged. Thank you SO much for posting this, Sam! : D
 
DMJones June 23, 2017
This method saved my STAUB Dutch Oven. I tried scrubbing last night then again this morning. Got home from wok pored the hydrogen peroxide along with baking Nguyen soda and WhaLa!!! Perfect pot once again. Thank you Thank you Thank you. You made my day. Mind you this took little effort on the scrubbing part after I followed your instructions. Will be passing it on for sure.
 
Joyce A. January 9, 2019
Clearly, I'm late to the party. I was given a Le Crueset dutch oven as a wedding gift 35 years ago. It's been such a favorite for braising, making stews, and so many other recipes that I could not have made without this pot. A couple of weeks ago, I tried braising a corned beef brisket, but evidently didn't keep the fluid at a level where it should have been, and while the corned beef was good, I thought the pot was ruined. I tried all the usual remedies....vinegar, dawn, baking soda. Vinegar with baking soda, dawn with baking soda. Lemon, salt, lemon salt and baking soda. Nothing worked until I found your 'recipe' of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. It cleaned my pot almost instantly, but I used it again, and now I'm soaking in bleach, to see if I can get any of the old stains away. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, for your advice about restoring my wonderful Le Creuset dutch oven back to normal.
 
StacyG March 29, 2011
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.
 
Citygal February 16, 2013
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!
 
SKK March 29, 2011
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).
 
jwolfsthal March 29, 2011
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.
 
Peter March 29, 2011
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!
 
ChefJune March 29, 2011
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? ;)
 
Whats4Dinner March 29, 2011
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!
 
healthierkitchen March 29, 2011
Maybe some of these suggestions will help you...

http://www.food52.com/foodpickle/3575-i-browned-ribs-without-oil-in-a-large-le-creuset-pot-and-now-the-bottom-of-the-pot-is-covered-in-bla
 
boulangere March 29, 2011
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?
 
aargersi March 29, 2011
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.
 
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