Cleaning outside of Enameled Cast Iron Cookware

jackidrFebruary 18, 2007

My mom just gave me a couple of pieces of enameled cast iron cookware that she has had for 35 years. One piece, a 12" buffet pan, is has burnt on grease (I guess) on the sides and bottom. It is worse, completely black, on the lower part of the sides. I've tried cleaning with Barkeepers Friend and glass cooktop cleaner. Neither is working on the bad areas. I'm thinking of trying oven cleaner - the no fumes kind. Any reason why I shouldn't do that, or does anyone know of any other way to get this pan clean? Thanks in advance.

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I would try oven cleaner.....but it might remove the gloss on the pan...but it might not! If it doesn't remove the gloss on the enamel inside an oven, I don't believe it would hurt an enameled pan.
Linda C

    Bookmark   February 19, 2007 at 9:56AM
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I've used EasyOff oven cleaner on my 20-year-old blue Chantal enamel cookware many times. Works fine. They still look like new. Let it sit for a few hours, then scrub it off with soapy water. Wear gloves. Don't let over-spray get on anything.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2007 at 5:52PM
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Thanks for the advice.
Linda, I don't mind if the gloss comes off. That would be better than the pan being half gold and half black!
asolo, I will be careful with the oven spray. I plan to use the no fumes kind, but I'll take this project to the basement. Definately not in my new kitchen!!.

I love this pan. It has a more bottom surface area than the newer everyday pans. I kept looking at the le creuset everyday pans and just couldn't justify the cost when I knew I liked the one my mom had better. So I asked her for it and she said take it and offered up the 8 quart dutch oven too!! She doesn't cook much anymore, so she wasn't using them.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2007 at 9:09PM
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Before using oven cleaner, give baking soda a try. Make a paste with water, spread it on the stains, let sit a bit, then scrub with a nylon scrubby. It should take all that off, without using toxic chemicals. If they're really old, baked on, might take a couple of applications, but the baking soda is less damaging to the pan, the environment and your lungs than oven cleaner would be (I won't have OC in my house).

I swear by Baking soda--it's the best cleaner in my kitchen. It's non-toxic, anti-bacterial, cheap, safe, VERY effective. I've even removed grape juice stains with it. It's all I've ever needed to use to clean those stains from my enamelled cast iron--and mine still looks like brand new--inside and out.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2007 at 8:00AM
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Here's an update-

I first tried the baking soda. It didn't work at all on the outside of this pan, not even on the brown stains travelling up the sides. Forget about the black stuff on the lower part of the sides and the bottom.
The first coat of oven cleaner took off the brown stains but made little difference on the black stuff. I used the no-fumes cleaner. 3 more applications got about half of the black stuff off. It didn't do any damage to the enamel finish, but I decided that 4 tries was good enough for now. I'm thinking that regular oven cleaner is probably more powerful than the no-fumes kind. So, when the snow melts, I will get the regular kind and try it outside to see if I can get any more off. If not, it's okay as it is. Nothing 35 years old should look brand new anyway, right?

Then I went to work on the brown stains on the inside. They were not as bad as the brown on the outside. Baking soda worked great on this. I filled the pan with water, added a lot of baking soda, brought to a boil and then simmered for about 15 minutes. Then scrubbed with a nylon scrubbie and the inside looks great.

The lid was already in excellent condition, so I didn't have to do anything with it.

The dutch oven is clean on the outside, just a few light scratches. Simmering baking soda took care of the inside. I guess the fact that the buffet pan was so much dirtier is a testament to how versatile a pan it is - it definately got more use than the dutch oven and they were purchased at the same time.

Thanks for the advice everyone.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2007 at 10:37PM
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I wonder whether, if you had a pan large enough to hold the buffet pan, you could simmer it inside the larger pan with baking soda and water to loosen up that burnt on black stuff. Just a thought.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2007 at 11:12PM
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Good idea kitchendetective.

I actually do have a pan that will work. The handles won't fit but if I let them sit on the rim of the larger pot, the bowl of the pan will fit deep enough inside that the water will cover the black stuff. I'll try this weekend - no time for playing with that pot until then.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2007 at 10:24PM
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