Grandmother’s $2 Secret To Getting Burnt Stains Off Dutch Oven

I recently stumbled upon a well-used Dutch oven priced at just $5 from a flea market. It was tarnished and had burnt-on stains, but I figured I could clean it up with some soap and warm water. Bad idea.

Fortunately, my grandmother shared with me her time-tested secret for effortlessly removing burnt stains from cookware—a trick she learned years ago for just $2.

With my bargain Dutch oven restored to its former glory, here’s the step-by-step guide I followed.

1. Cool Down

Allow the Dutch oven to cool completely before attempting to clean it. Cleaning a hot Dutch oven can be dangerous and may cause injury.

2. Scrape Off Any Excess

Use a wooden or plastic spatula to gently scrape off any excess food or residue from the inside of the Dutch oven. Be careful not to scratch the surface.

3. Soak in Hot, Soapy Water

Fill the Dutch oven with hot water and add a generous amount of dish soap. Let it soak for at least 30 minutes to loosen the burnt-on stains.

4. Boil Water

If the stains are particularly stubborn, you can boil water in the Dutch oven for a few minutes. This can help loosen the burnt-on residue.

5. Scrub with Non-Abrasive Sponge

After soaking, use a non-abrasive sponge or scrubbing pad to gently scrub the inside of the Dutch oven. Avoid using steel wool or abrasive cleaners, as they can scratch the surface.

6. Use Baking Soda Paste

Everyone has baking soda lying around. For the tougher stains, make a paste using baking soda and water. Apply the paste to the stained areas and let it sit for a few minutes before scrubbing with a sponge.

7. Soak In Vinegar

If baking soda alone still doesn’t do the trick, then soaking the Dutch oven in a mixture of equal parts vinegar and water for a few hours. Vinegar is a natural cleaner and can help dissolve stubborn stains.

8. If All Else Fails, Use Bar Keepers Friend

This is it. My grandmother’s secret ingredient.

This $2 product contains oxalic acid, which breaks down super stubborn stains, as well as fine particles that act as abrasives to scrub away residue without scratching the surface. This was the final ingredient that got rid of the last of the burnt stains in my Dutch oven.

9. Rinse Thoroughly

Once the stains are removed, rinse the Dutch oven thoroughly with hot water to remove any soap or residue.

10. Remember to Dry Completely

After rinsing, dry the Dutch oven completely with a towel to prevent water spots or rusting.

11. Season if Necessary

If your Dutch oven is made of cast iron and you’ve removed the seasoning during cleaning, you may need to re-season it to prevent rusting. Coat the inside of the Dutch oven with a thin layer of oil and bake it in the oven according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

By following these steps, you can effectively clean a Dutch oven with burnt-on stains and keep it looking and performing its best for years to come.

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