Enamel surfaces are sleek, smooth and clean. But unfortunately not nonstick.
So how do you clean enamel cookware if there’s a black burned on spot that won’t come off? Hard scraping really isn’t an option. In fact, enamel is not a surface you’d ever want to scrape with a metal utensil EVER. Unless you want the finish to get scratched and ruined!
Only use utensils on enamel that you would use on any nonstick cookware. This is very important if you want your enamel cookware to last. Not to mention you could get chips of the enamel coming off in your food. Ew.
I’m going to show you how quick and (kinda) easy it is to get stuck food and stains off of enamel..
What I tried first…
Here’s the burnt on stain I was dealing with.
Over the course of 24 hours I:
- Soaked it in hot soapy water
- Soaked it in hot vinegar water
- Boiled it on the stove with vinegar water
- Scrubbed as much as I could with a soft soapy sponge
- Soaked it in soapy vinegar water again (overnight)
And after all that time and effort, there was barely any difference in the stain…
Since I clearly didn’t know how to clean enamel cookware…off to Google to save the day! So what was the most common suggestion?
At first I did a double take. I thought “but baking soda is abrasive and will mess up the enamel surface.” I use baking soda paste as an exfoliator on my skin so I know how rough it can be when you scrub with it.
But reading further into the instructions, you’re not going to be scrubbing the burnt spot with baking soda paste. Whew!
Not that this method doesn’t require some elbow grease. It does. Which is why I said before that it was “kinda” easy. I got my workout in for the day from doing this! But overall, it is a relatively easy process.
Steps – How to clean enamel cookware
Fill it with water
First, fill your pan about half way to ⅔ full of water. This might be a little tougher if you’re cleaning a shallow pan as opposed to a dutch oven like the one I’m cleaning. But fill it up as much as you can while also leaving plenty of space.
You want to leave some space because later when you add the baking soda, it’s going to fizz up. And if it’s too full of water, well then your stove will get a nice baking soda cleaning. Maybe that wouldn’t be such a bad thing..?
Anyway, get that water boiling.
Find a soft enough scraper
Find a good scraping utensil that’s not metal. Anything too hard will scratch the surface. You’ll want something with a good amount of integrity behind it, so not too bendable.
I used a wooden spatula. But silicone or rubber could work too depending on how firm they are.
Add some soda
Once you get the water up to a rolling boil is when you’ll add the baking soda.
And as I mentioned it’s going to fizz up. So watch out!
Some guides say to add about 2 tablespoons per quart of water. I probably had about 2-3 quarts of water in my 5.5 qt dutch oven. I added 2 spoonfuls of baking soda and this was enough to do the trick for me. If your baking soda/water ratio is in this general range, you should be fine. You can always add more.
Let it go for a minute or two. See how the water is getting darker already?
Now this is where you’ll get your little workout. Start chipping away at that burnt spot with your spatula. You’ll see the water start to get darker and some of the black bits come up and float around. That’s how you know it’s working!
The burnt spot isn’t going just to slide right off though. It doesn’t take an insane amount of effort but it really depends on how stuck the food is. It took me about 10 minutes of consistent scraping from different angles before I felt like I’d gotten it all.
So I poured the water out, and womp womp. I didn’t even get it all!
But this last bit was softened.enough that I took the spatula to it again just in my sink and most of it came off. Then I tried my sponge again.
But even after that I still have a few little specks left. You can barely see them. So this worked for me about 99.9% of the way. Not bad.
These little specks are so small now, I just left them. I was tired of my dutch oven sitting in the sink for 2 days. I figured I’ll either get it next time or those tiny little specks might come off in my next dish. Not the biggest deal.
Unlike me, hopefully you’ll save some time and effort by trying this method first.