For nearly 100 years, home chefs have lusted after one very particular piece of kitchenware: Le Creuset's Dutch ovens. The enameled cast-iron vessels are definitely on the pricier side of the spectrum, but with a little bit of care, they can last years. And did we mention how pretty their colors are?
So, be sure to give your Le Creuset Dutch oven a little TLC in order to keep it looking fresh. Here are five tips to help you maintain this cult-favorite cookware, thanks to the brand's YouTube video featuring Food Network's Vivian Chan, and the company's official website.
1. Wash your Dutch oven by hand.
Technically, Le Creuset Dutch ovens are dishwasher safe, but the company recommends washing them by hand to prevent the enamel from dulling. (Don't worry — dull enamel doesn't affect how the Dutch oven cooks!)
2. Wait until your Dutch oven is room temperature before attempting to wash it.
If you put cold water on a hot Dutch oven, thermal shock may cause the enamel to crack. So after you've finished cooking, make sure your Dutch oven has had time to cool down before you start cleaning up.
3. Bring baking soda and water to a simmer to get rid of stuck-on food.
Every now and then, you might end up with food that's been cooked a little too long in your Dutch oven and gets stuck onto the enamel. Don't sweat it! Chan recommends that you simply fill the vessel with water, drop in a few tablespoons of baking soda, and bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-low to medium heat. After a few minutes, use a flat wooden spoon to scrub off any leftovers. Then rinse and let dry.
4. Use an abrasive cleaner to scrub off stains.
You can go out and buy a pre-made abrasive cleaner like Bar Keepers Friend to help you rid your pot of stains (both inside and out), or you can make your own paste with baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. In either case, Chan reminds us to wear gloves to protect your hands. All you have to do is rub the mixture over the affected area, let it sit, then rinse it all off. You can also opt for Le Creuset's own cleaner.
5. Only use soft sponges for scrubbing.
If you're using an abrasive cleaner, you should not use an abrasive material to scrub. Pick soft synthetic or natural sponges, Chan suggests — you only want the gunk to come off, not your Dutch oven's enamel!
Need more helpful cleaning tips? Le Creuset has you covered.