How To Clean a Dutch oven? Four Effective Ways

Tim Parry


A Dutch oven is a product that is both good quality and aesthetically pleasing. It is super important to know how to clean a Dutch oven in the correct ways because the precious enamel of the oven may be scratched if you clean it the wrong way.

The good news is, unlike cast iron -with crusty bits sticking in after cooking, that enamel is very resilient. Each month, you should clean your Dutch ovens well to maintain their quality. Here are four methods for you to try.

How To Clean a Dutch oven?

Compared with conventional raw cast iron products, enameled cast iron Dutch ovens still retain the advantages of raw cast iron such as: delicious cooking, long-lasting heat, even heat distribution,…however, more luxuriously designed. The product is coated with a smooth ceramic glaze.

After every use, it becomes dirty and hard to clean. To avoid caked-on stains, you must wash the pot immediately and absolutely not let it in the sink for over an hour or leave it through the night. Among the directions on how to clean a Dutch oven on the Internet, this seems to be your simplest method, but if your pot has tougher stains, you can try these four methods to remove them.

Clean with Soap and Water

Cleaning the Dutch oven with soap and water is quite simple and easy.

  • Step 1: Let your Dutch ovens completely cool down before using this method. Note that you must not put the hot pot in the sink to release the food because this can make the enamel crack and ruin your product.
  • Step 2: It should be washed gently with water and soap. Let’s use a non-metal sponge to protect the enamel from being ruined.

Clean with Lemon Juice and Salt

This method is for extremely stubborn stains that make your oven discolor.

  • Step 1: Before cleaning, you need to pay attention to let them cool down to avoid the temperature difference causing the pot to crack.
  • Step 2: Cut the lemon into two pieces, dip the lemon’s cut side into coarse salt, then use it to scour the pan.

If needed, you can add 2 to 4 spoons of extra salt to help. The salt is very useful to remove the burnt areas of the pot.

However, the small bits will be hard to remove by lemon juice. If you’re out of baking soda or scrubby sponges, this is a useful cleaning method. But it should not be your first choice. An important note for you: The salt and lemon juice can hurt your hands if they have any sorts of cuts.

how to clean a dutch oven with lemon juice and salt

Clean with Boiling Baking Soda and Water

You can use a dishwasher to clean the Dutch oven with baking soda and water. However, cleaning them by hand is still better. You can clean the stains out with a bit of elbow grease and magical cleansers. To avoid stubborn stains in the future, do not cook on too high of heat because high temps can make stains stick more.

If you don’t have a metal sponge or special cleaner, let’s try baking soda to get those stuck-on stains out.

  • Step 1: Firstly, add 4 cups of water to your pot and boil it on medium heat.
  • Step 2: When the water has already boiled, add two extra tablespoons of baking soda. Use a wooden spoon to stir.
  • Step 3: Let the water simmer for a few minutes, then use the wooden spoon to scrape the bottom of the pan.
  • Step 4: Pour out the solution, then clean the pot again with warm water and let it dry. The bigger your pan is, the larger the solution is.

This is the favorite method of many modern families because of its convenience.

how to clean a dutch oven with boiling baking soda and water

Clean with Bar Keeper’s Friend and Sponge

Bar Keeper’s Friend is an essential tool for wife houses nowadays. It is a hero of cleaning cookware and sink. The strong detergents of the dishwasher for a long time can cause the non-stick coating of the pot to be worn and the enamel color to fade. So you can use Bar Keeper’s Friend instead.

  • Step 1: Pour the detergent powder into the Dutch oven
  • Step 2: You can use nylon or soft natural sponges to brush your Dutch ovens. Metal cleaning pads or abrasive cleaners are not recommended because they can cause damage to the enamel surface. Many brands of detergents can help keep your model looking new, and they also are good ideas for removing metal marks caused by metal tools before.

A paste of baking soda and water or Bar Keeper’s Friend also comes in handy for cleaning ground-in stains, marks, and oil residue on your pot as well.

how to clean a dutch oven with Bar Keeper’s Friend and sponge

Some Tips for You When Clean a Dutch Oven

1. The Outside Should be Tackled First

Some sort of splatter usually appears outside your pot, maybe when your tomato sauce bubbles over or a drip of caramel escapes when you are cooking. It’s hard to know where the splatter comes from, but actually, we don’t welcome these tough ‘friends’ and want them to be gone. To remove pesky spills and grime, Food director Carla Lalli Music advises you to make a paste from baking soda and water, then scrub it onto the pot with a Scotch-Brite pad (not steel wool).

2. Be Aware of Cracks

The enamel coating makes Dutch oven effective against oxidation, not rusting or reacting chemically with acids in food. But if the oven is not maintained regularly, the enamel coating will disappear and the pot will have cracks over time. You should not ignore cracks and chips in enamel because they can seriously affect your cooking in the future.

Many cookware companies have lifetime warranties, and you should definitely take advantage of them if something goes wrong. Your pot needs to be cared for gently to work for you for dozens of years. After cleaning the oven, dry it and store it in a cool, dry place.

3. Be Careful with the Interior

You should not scrub the enameled inside of your pot too often if you want to keep the pot nonstick. For stubborn stains in the pot, you can use a cleaning kit from PP plastic to handle. They help to easily remove the layer of dirt without causing the enamel to be scratched.

If the bottom of the pot is sticky with polenta or oatmeal or something else, you just need to soak it with hot water and a bit of baking soda or soap overnight. It will go out the following day.

If you, unfortunately, have burned something into the pan or forgot your dish is boiling before taking a nap, try boiling water and a bit of baking soda in the pot, then let it soak.

Bar Keepers Friend powder is quite handy for you too. Mix it with a little bit of water and gently scrub away.


What cleaning method should I use for cast iron and enameled cast iron Dutch ovens?

Whether you’re using a cast-iron model or enameled cast iron, using soap and water is the ultimate in efficiency and convenience. Always remember that you need to cool down them before washing, to avoid the temperature difference causing the pot to crack.

You can boil water in a pot before washing it with soap. If the bottom of the pot has dirt, you should use a wooden spoon or a nylon brush to gently scrub it. Of course, with the enameled Dutch oven, cleaning will be much easier for you.

How can I clean the outside of a Dutch oven?

When cleaning the outside of your Dutch ovens, do not use abrasive tools such as stainless steel scrubbers or steel wool. Scrub gently to make sure the sides of the pot always look new.

Method 1: You can use some friendly cleaning solution such as Bar Keepers Friend if the stain has been stuck for a long time.

Method 2: Soak the pot in a solution of baking soda and water

About 4 cups of water and 2 tablespoons of baking soda is enough to make a cleaning solution for a Dutch oven. You should use hot water to increase cleaning efficiency. If the outside of the pot has long-standing stains that are difficult to remove, you can soak it with the above solution overnight, and then wash it with soap and water the next morning.

Method 3: Use a specialized cleaner of cast iron.

You can find this specialized cleaner on e-commerce websites.

How do you clean a burnt cast iron Dutch oven?

In case of burnt food sticking to the bottom of the Dutch oven:

Step 1: You need to remove food and debris from the pot as quickly as possible by heating white vinegar with water (1:1 ratio) in the pot. Once the liquid has started to boil, you can use a spatula to gently scrape the burnt layer on the bottom of the pot.

Step 2: Sprinkle baking soda on the bottom of the pot and let it cool.

Step 3: Use a sponge or nylon brush to brush.

Step 4: Wash with soap and water.

If there is not too much burnt the plaque on the bottom of the pot.

You can try using one of these three solutions:

– Baking soda and water

The mix ratio is 3 baking soda: 1 warm water. Coat the bottom of the pot that burns in order of water, then baking soda, and stir well.

Method 1: Leave the pot overnight, then add baking soda and scrub with a nylon brush or sponge.

Method 2: Dilute the mixture then put the Dutch oven on the stove and bring to a boil. After boiling the water for a while, take it out, let it cool, and then wash it.

– Baking soda and lemon

Step 1: Pour water and baking soda into the bottom of the pot to make a paste.

Step 2: Cut a lemon in half to scrub. Lemon helps remove odors and is acidic to help clean up.

– Baking soda and vinegar

This method is for professional chefs because it is a bit difficult to do.

Step 1: You need to boil the vinegar and let it simmer for a few minutes.

Step 2: Pour in 1 cup of baking soda. Be careful not to get burned. It will bubble quite intensely.

Step 3: Wait for the effervescence to stop, then discard the liquid. Scrub gently, adding baking soda if needed.

How to clean a Dutch oven that is rusted?

Over time, it is very susceptible to deterioration and rust. If you feel your Dutch ovens are still good for cooking, you can try our way to clean rust spots on the pot.

How to do it: Use vinegar and warm water to soak Dutch oven for about 2-4 hours. Then use a brush to scrub away the rust. Never use hard objects such as steel wool. After scrubbing, rinse with dishwashing liquid. Finally, wipe it off with a kitchen towel.

See details on how to maintain your old Dutch ovens here:


Among the methods above, baking soda and Bar Keeper’s Friend seem to be the best methods for people who don’t know how to clean a Dutch oven. Some other ways like using lemon and coarse sea salt or even a toothbrush and toothpaste to scrub are not reliable enough to try. To sum up, please keep your eyes on the precious enamel of the oven.

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Tim Parry

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