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feathers11

Can this LC be saved?

Feathers11
4 months ago

I've had this Le Creuset dutch oven for 25+ years. I'm the primary cook who's used it multiple times a week, and it's in good shape. Or, it was.

Enter DS, the aspiring cook. He burned rice in it a few weeks ago. He promptly googled and found to simmer baking soda in it and gently scrape the burnt off. I didn't see the original damage, and, according to him, a great amount came off with this method, which he repeated twice.

He handed it over to me. I have used Bon Ami, another round of baking soda, baking soda and vinegar soak, powder dishwashing machine scrub, a brief bleach soak... This helped remove about 50% of what was left on it.

Here it is now:



Close up of a section of marks:




The burnt marks are sitting lightly on the surface, but I'm afraid if I scrub any further, I'll do permanent damage.
Any thoughts? Should I just continue to cook in it and hope the marks wear off over time? Or continue scrubbing?
(I'm cross-posting this to both HDC and Cooking because I cannot figure out how to post to both forums in the same post.)

Comments (64)

  • gracefullyaged
    4 months ago

    Yes! Have you tried this?



    Feathers11 thanked gracefullyaged
  • chloebud
    4 months ago

    I can only offer what’s worked for me on LC for many years, including our first set that was a wedding gift in 1977. I still have the attached booklet that came with that set. The mild bleach/water solution has worked well, although the soaking time can be longer. I’ve also had good luck with Bar Keepers Friend. LC has excellent heat conduction and retention meaning higher heat could cause staining.



    Feathers11 thanked chloebud
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  • carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    Chiming in to agree, cooking/simmering tomato sauce always leaves my pots and pans very clean.

    Feathers11 thanked carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b
  • Feathers11
    Original Author
    4 months ago

    bbstx, You replied to my initial post with instructions on how to post to Cooking and HDC. I deleted my initial post, that contained your reply, so that I could cross-post this one. I apologize for the confusion. Thank you for your help!

    lisaam, the spots are raised. They are not just a stain, but bits sticking to the enamel.

    I've used bleach before, but it isn't the answer this time. I've tried nothing overnight. That will be my next step, with a Dawn product in my pantry. A spaghetti sauce may be in order.

    Chloebud, what a great resource! "In a time of crisis"--what timely advice.

  • Eileen
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    Don't use Dawn Powerwash on anything that you'll put food in. You can't get rid of the odor.

    I second Oly's advice to try Cerama Bryte. Porcelain enamel is glass.

    Feathers11 thanked Eileen
  • cat_mom
    4 months ago

    Have you tried Barkeepers Friend?

    Feathers11 thanked cat_mom
  • Islay Corbel
    4 months ago

    Wouldn't let it worry me. I also like Pllog's idea of making a nice pan of spag bol sauce.

    Feathers11 thanked Islay Corbel
  • aok27502
    4 months ago

    I would very gently try a razor blade. I occasionally use it on my glass top stove, and if you're gente it won't scratch.

    Feathers11 thanked aok27502
  • juneroses Z9a Cntrl Fl
    4 months ago

    Seal your LC in a plastic bag along with a small container of ammonia. I've read that the ammonia can be sprinkled in the bag but I prefer to put it in a small custard cup. Let the ammonia fumes do their work overnight. Then wash/scrub as usual.

    Feathers11 thanked juneroses Z9a Cntrl Fl
  • Kswl
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    The concern about steel wool is that you’ll scrub hard enough to scratch the glass and subsequently food will stick to the surface . if you use the finest grade steel wool very gently it will just remove the raised bits. I have left things too long, not stirred things often or vigorously enough and have been left with intractable bits like that. Most stuck on food will release easily with soaking, but burned food has a kind of bond with the surface. My pots are in great shape, and I learned this tip from a more experienced cook who uses it when necessary. Her pots, like mine, are not the pristine off white they were when new, but theu are clean and (still) glass smooth.

    If you can’t get those off any other way you might try it.

    Feathers11 thanked Kswl
  • Ct B
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    FWIW, Barkeepers Friend contains citric acid - the same thing that's in tomatoes.

    I have plain citric acid and sometimes use it to remove that kind of residue from pans. You can soak or scrub with it or both. It doesn't scratch because it dissolves in water.

    Works much better than vinegar, IMPE.

    Simmering a citric acid solution in the pot works like tomato sauce, but you can't eat the results.

    I get it in the bulk spices section at local stores.

    Feathers11 thanked Ct B
  • Annie Deighnaugh
    4 months ago

    Note: On the instructions chloebud attached, it says ammonia OR bleach. Please don't misread as "and". Mixing those two creates chlorine gas which is very harmful. DH's aunt did that without realizing and ended up in the hospital.

    Feathers11 thanked Annie Deighnaugh
  • Sherry8aNorthAL
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    " FWIW, Barkeepers Friend contains citric acid - the same thing that's in tomatoes."

    I love Bar Keeper's Friend, the powdered version. Use a small amount with a wet paper towel. It will not scratch and everything burnt comes off. I use it on my stainless steel and my Tramontia, which is coated cast iron like your pots. I rinse and then wssh with dish soap.

    ETA: use and then rinse off. Do not let it set on the pan.

    Feathers11 thanked Sherry8aNorthAL
  • bbstx
    4 months ago

    Annie, I’m so glad you pointed out the dangers of mixing bleach and ammonia. I had the same thought when I read those instructions.

    Feathers11 thanked bbstx
  • linda campbell
    4 months ago

    Sprinkle with dishwasher detergent,,,,add half inch of water.....bring to a boil, turn off and cover pot and allow to sit over night and longer.. What doesn't; come of, just ignore, it's there to stay!

    Feathers11 thanked linda campbell
  • chloebud
    4 months ago

    “Note: On the instructions chloebud attached, it says ammonia OR bleach.”

    Yes, thanks Annie! I’ve always just used bleach/water or Bar Keepers Friend. All my old LC looks pretty darn good.


    Feathers11 thanked chloebud
  • chloebud
    4 months ago

    Just thought this might be interesting to some. My little booklet shows these pages with LC’s cookware. I’m only assuming it was what was available in 1977. I used to have the rectangular baker with the hinged metal handles. It was very heavy when empty and crazy heavy when filled with lasagna. Also kind of a PITA to wash, so I gave it away.



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  • bbstx
    4 months ago

    My aunt married in 1970. She had a complete set of the blue LeCrueset. A couple of years before she died, I asked her where it had gone. She had gotten rid of all of it because it was too heavy to handle. Oh, how I wished she had given it to me, but it never crossed her mind I’d like to have it.

    Feathers11 thanked bbstx
  • Feathers11
    Original Author
    4 months ago

    Chloebud, I love those photos! Thanks for sharing that.

    Bbstx, my kids have heard me say a million times, "When I die, don't give away... <insert various items in my kitchen>!" I'm sorry you didn't get your aunt's set.

    Update: I have Bar Keeper's Friend, not Bon Ami, as I originally stated. I just looked... it's that ubiquitous item I'm always pulling out from under my sink. But it is indeed Bar Keeper's Friend. So the few times I used it, it didn't work. But I'll try again, making a paste and letting it sit a while.

    Thank you, everyone, for your suggestions. I'll keep working through them, and I appreciate the help.

  • gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)
    4 months ago

    Other than my heavily used and definitely aged/worn Dutch oven, I gave away all my Le Crueset as well. If it was too heavy to use comfortably in my 50's, it is certain too heavy for me now in my mid 70's!!

    Feathers11 thanked gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)
  • plllog
    4 months ago

    My attitude toward all my cast iron is that if it's feeling too heavy, I need to use it more, not less! Who needs a gym?

    Feathers11 thanked plllog
  • Kswl
    4 months ago

    I feel the same way, Pillog! I love my LC to bits and use at least one every week. A few years ago I bought a full set of the LC covered stoneware bakers in white. They are great shapes and sizes and go from oven to buffet beautifully.

    Feathers11 thanked Kswl
  • colleenoz
    4 months ago

    I got my first LC pieces (two sizes of frying pan and a saute pan) as wedding gifts over 40 yhears ago now and they’re still gong strong. I have since added a number of pieces and still use them for most of my cooking. TBH I don’t think of them as particularly heavy. (But I’ve often thought the larger frying pan would make a great weapon if you thought you had a burglar- can do a fair amount of damage without a need for accuracy 😂)

    @bbstx, that’s such a sad story 😢

    Feathers11 thanked colleenoz
  • plllog
    4 months ago

    My bean pot is heavy, especially while washing. ;) 9 qt. round. I use it a lot. My goose pot (15 qt. oval) really is used mostly for big birds, and given the size, is remarkably light compared to the 22 lb. turkey and 750ml bottle of wine inside. ;)

    Feathers11 thanked plllog
  • bbstx
    4 months ago

    @colleenoz, oh, I didn’t mean for it to be a sad story. My aunt didn’t think to offer them to me and I never thought to tell her I’d like them if she ever gave them away. To her they were nothing special, just pots and pans…very heavy pots and pans.


    Now, well-seasoned cast iron skillets are a whole different category. I’ve already promised the cast iron skillet I use to DH’s son. It belonged to DH’s grandmother. I have a medium skillet I got when my mother died, along with her corn-stick pan. DD got the large skillet and the small skillet. Sister wasn’t interested in any of Mother’s skillets. But that’s all a story for another day. I don’t want to hijack Feathers cleaning thread.

    Feathers11 thanked bbstx
  • claudia valentine
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    I would just use it and not worry about it. My LC does not look so pristine anymore either. Charred bits are hard to dislodge. But, are you sure that those are just charred bits and not deeper damage?

    Feathers11 thanked claudia valentine
  • Kswl
    4 months ago

    Bbstx, I haven’t seen a cornstick pan in years! We had one growing up and I used to love them bc the shape gave you so much more crust than muffins.

    Feathers11 thanked Kswl
  • carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b
    4 months ago

    My concern about such heavy weight isn't that I can't lift it, but that it can slip and fall and cause some serious damage - especially when filled with something hot.

    Feathers11 thanked carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b
  • porkandham
    4 months ago

    I had a large dutch oven that I used multiple times a week for probably 25 years. A few weeks ago, my DH was washing it and noticed a chip in the enamel. I have no idea how it occurred. I contacted LC, answered their questions, and sent pictures. Within 10 days, I had a brand new (free) dutch oven with instructions to throw out the old.


    This may not help you as your damage came from misuse, but I wanted to say that LC stands behind their product and honors their warranty.

    Feathers11 thanked porkandham
  • Lars
    4 months ago

    Dawn Professional Power Dissolver is definitely the best, but it might be difficult to find single bottles of it, although Sam's Club and perhaps Walmart might have it - I never shop at either of those.

    Spray the Powder Dissolver onto the pan, cover it, and leave it overnight. The next morning all it will need is a gentle wiping.

    Feathers11 thanked Lars
  • carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b
    4 months ago

    I've used that stuff, and it is a powerful degreaser, but I do wish it came unscented - the perfume is way too strong for me!

    Feathers11 thanked carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b
  • Feathers11
    Original Author
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    But, are you sure that those are just charred bits and not deeper damage?

    I was able to grind down the bits, and the surface is mostly smooth. I've sent it along with him (I have the larger one in the set, he uses the slightly smaller one).

    I'd look into a warranty replacement, except that, 1. the damage is clearly from misuse; 2. the set was purchased at a LC outlet 25 years ago, back when the products had slight imperfections and were sold as seconds, although the same quality and function. (I'm not convinced what they sell in their outlets today are the same quality and function anymore). I don't think I can, in good conscious, try to convince the company to replace mine.

    Bbstx, I'm trying to take possession of my grandmother's cast iron skillet. Long story here, too.

  • Eileen
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    I've used that stuff, and it is a powerful degreaser, but I do wish it came unscented - the perfume is way too strong for me!

    It does, Carol. It's called Dawn Free and Clear.

    I used the regular Powerwash on the gunky edges of my 40 year old waffle iron plates. It didn't degrease it and I couldn't get the smell out. I think scrubbing it several times with baking soda finally did the trick. Even Dawn dish detergent will leave an odor on plastics. I handwash all my plastics with unscented Ecos.

    I still think Ceram Bryte is your best bet for your LC. Often my glass stovetop looks clean but when I rub it with Cerama Bryte and a paper towel, it comes up brown.

    Feathers11 thanked Eileen
  • carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b
    4 months ago

    Thanks for the tip, Eileen! I hadn't checked for quite awhile, and I do see that now is available where I shop.

    Feathers11 thanked carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b
  • petalique
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    Feathers, this is going to be easy to fix. I’ve done it.

    The carbonized material should be removed so that it doesn’t cause future sauces to ‘catch’ on or stick. But it’s easy to get off.

    Get a can of oven cleaner — of the sort that really cleans; it’s not some earths breeze anything . The regular easy off oven cleaner I believe it’s yellow capped in aerosol can.

    You can use it in a well ventilated area, or tun on your kitchen stove exhaust fan. (If you get the LC pot warm first, the oven cleaner is more effective, faster. Don’t be stingy with the amount of oven cleaner you cover the carbonized spots with. Shake can before spraying, have exhaust vent on (or apply it outdoors. You can wear a pair of rubber or nitrile gloves.

    Let the oven cleaner remain on the interior bottom of the pot for about 30 minutes. At the end of 30 minutes, take a stainless steel dinner knife (not sharp) and gently “scrape” against the spots. You should see dissolved material (brownish, blackish) or flecks. Gently loosen as many spots as you can. You’ll likely be able to get them all off with one application. Rinse the pot and inspect it. If a few spots are still there, just spray move oven cleaner on those remaining spots and wait another half hour. At the end of this time, again, use the rounded stainless steel dinner knife tip to nudge the now softened material loose. Repeat as necessary. Then wash you spot free pan.

    Let me know how it goes. Use EASY-OFF Heavy Duty oven cleaner. And, please, do not scrub or scour your enamel LC pan, You want to preserve the smooth surface.

    The smooth enamel surface is NOT non-stick, you must always use oil or water or broth is braising. But you want to preserve the smooth interior surface.


    PS Someday I should make a video of my doing this. It’s so easy and rewarding to see the sots dissolve and the resulting clean pan.

    Feathers11 thanked petalique
  • petalique
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    Thanks, chloebud! I have several of these that I inherited a long while ago, probably from the early 1970s. The color is a soft cocoa brown (I’d prefer the creamy medium blue — oh well).

    I love the small ~ 5.5 inch sauce pan with cover. My husband and I used to saute chanterelles in it because it let the mushrooms cook slowly and evenly for a long while. Then we would enjoy the mushrooms on toasted baguette or potatoes. Heavenly.

    I plan to sometime try this same heavy sauce pan for fondue.



    Feathers11 thanked petalique
  • chloebud
    4 months ago

    petalique, I have check marks next to the pieces we received as wedding gifts. They were all a pumpkin orange color (not my choice). I use the little 8” skillet often for toasting nuts. I still love the au gratin pans and bought another one at some point in blue. Most of the pieces I’ve acquired over the years are blue, including some oval Dutch ovens and a brasier. I did come across a couple of 4 1/2 qt. white Dutch ovens at TJ Maxx one day (years ago) for $20 each. Couldn’t believe it!😳👍🏻

    Feathers11 thanked chloebud
  • Feathers11 thanked maddielee
  • bbstx
    4 months ago

    I’d have to have my kitchen floors re-inforcedI

    Feathers11 thanked bbstx
  • chloebud
    4 months ago

    LOL, bbstx…great point!

    Feathers11 thanked chloebud
  • sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)
    4 months ago

    I've always suggested to start with the least non-toxic first. The LC website recommends baking soda and water then simmer 8-10 minutes. I also soak overnight and simmer again if still needed. Then move on to BonAmi then BarKeeps. Then dishwasher detergent.

    This was BA, before Alexa.


    I found the copy doing a search.

    Burnt my pot hard and crusty. Very hard. BarKeepers not handy or misplaced...added a tbsp of 7thGeneration dishwasher detergent. Water to cover and let soak just a few minutes. Put on a low burner till very hot...just a few minutes while watching....placed in sink. Once cooled a few minutes i poured off the 'soaking hot liquid' and the gunk was soft. (first pic)

    The rest slid off without barely a scrub in minutes...phew

    (we no longer use 7th generation brand. Now use Podds in a cardboard box, not plastic)

    The bottom enameled cast iron looks like BarKeep. Not sure what else i tried but it did come clean.

    The surfaces dull over time and microscopically have lost the glossy glass-like resistance to staining and sticking.

    This past weekend I worked on the two i have only used for beans the past 5-6 years. They were heavily stained and that is just beans in lots of water.

    This is my wedding starter set from 1989.


    The dutch with the small chip needs another soak. Never thought to see if it is under waranty. I assumed they will just blame the cook. I've never been an agressive high-heat cook. I also assumed they would require shipping at my expense like so many other returns.

    The sauté pans i mostly use for toasting seeds/nuts or mushrooms onions, miropoix type things. Sesame seeds are oily so that should clean up easily in the small sauté.

    It is definitely a chip in the dutch...an innie not an outie.

    Feathers11 thanked sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)
  • petalique
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    I am using my old LC 7 ? quart dutch oven now for Curried Lentil Soup. Usually I like to add some leafy greens like spinach or chard (just a bit), some chunks of sweet potato or butternut squash and some lean pieces of boneless skinless chicken. But I am ehausted and DH wasn’t out of my path unti; after 1 PM. Grrrr. We have an agreement, but he just seems to not want to bother.

    In thinking about that LC pot of Feathers, I would jut use it. It is nothing and eventually those little spots will be gone without treating them. Do not abrade the pot. THAT will likely damage it.

    chloebud and others. I wish I’d snapped up a 7 or 9 quart milky medium blie one when I spotted it back along. Even if not LC brand. I bought a 7Qt green Cuisinart brand that I’ve been using for over 5 years. It is great. I cannot detect any difference. Enamel still good. Heavy. Even cooking. $40 ;-)

    I think if I can find any energy, next soup will be Southwestern Corn Chowder (low sodium, low saturated fat).

    Feathers11 thanked petalique
  • chloebud
    4 months ago

    petalique, sounds like a great price on your Cuisinart. I’ve seen some really good reviews on brands that are priced lower than LC. Tramontina is another that comes to mind.

    Feathers11 thanked chloebud
  • plllog
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    LC and Staub are supposed to have the best metallurgy (thinner, lighter, more even, etc.) but that doesn't mean other pots don't cook just fine. :) I love the idea of that Instapot with the removeable CI pot. Perfect for young non-cooks who have to feed themselves in tight spaces.

    Feathers11 thanked plllog
  • petalique
    4 months ago

    I don’t care for the looks of the ombre.

    It must have a light colored enamel interior; no dark and no ”non-stick.”

    I don't want top domed nor the knob to be too high.

    I’d like it not to be made in China and also not in a country with standout human rights violations.





    These are nice colors.

    Feathers11 thanked petalique
  • chloebud
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    ^Pretty!

    So many color choices compared to years ago. There were minimal choices when I started getting my LC. Also much more choice in brands when it comes to enameled cast iron.

    I received a white, 8-qt. LC enamel on steel stock pot several years ago, like this one. I’ve used it often, including today. We finally have some soup weather here!👏🏻



    Feathers11 thanked chloebud
  • nancyjane_gardener
    3 months ago

    The Dawn power wash stuff is expensive, but the recipe for it is cheap.

    2Tblsp rubbing alchohol, 2 C distilled water, 2 Tblsp Dawn dish detergent. I think it said to let sit for 12-24 hours. It isn't quite as fuzzy as the origional, but still does the job!


  • carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b
    3 months ago

    FYI, hubby bought the Dawn Power Wash free & clear not too long ago, and it turned out to be scented with a light fruity fragrance that's not too bad actually, and fades quickly - much better than the original.

  • Shauna Huerta
    3 months ago

    Use a ”Magic Eraser” sponge! This will take it off without damaging your cooking surface