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Dec 10, 2010 05:50 PM

How to Clean Super Dirty Le Creuset

So about 6 months ago I made some chicken tikka masala, put it in my extra fridge in the garage and proceeded to forget about it. When I took off the top I wasn't surprised to see that there had been massive growth. It's super disgusting. Is there anyway to safely clean it or is it done for? I don't care how intensive it is, I'd like to be able to clean it and save it.

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    1. re: havham

      A good soak is really the key to getting it clean again. After getting all the gunk out of it you can, fill it with plain water (or crumble in some powder soap if you've got any but it's not really necessary) and leave it for hours, even overnight. Then just scrub it as usual, but don't use anything too abrasive (like steel wool). This has worked for me through many very dirty, burned-on disasters. One thing though - the ceramic finish may be a bit stained once it's clean. This doesn't bother me at all. Those Le Creusets are tough! I think of them more as useful than pretty, but thought I'd best warn you.

        1. re: havham

          havham, I never noticed this topic/thread before, and come in late.

          If you follow hobbybaker's link, you will see someone refer to a "mild bleach" solution. I am here to tell you that you need spend not a second worrying about what "mild" means. I have (1) put full strength chlorine laundry bleach into an enameled cast iron pot (both at room temperature), (2) placed the pot atop a rangetop burner, (3) brought the bleach to a boil, (4) turned off the burner and put a lid on the pot, and (5) left the pot, with the hot bleach in it, overnight to cool down. I washed out the pot the next day, and everything came out looking beautiful.

          Bleach will not harm vitrified enamel.

          1. re: Politeness

            is it a good idea to boil bleach?

            1. re: havham

              havham, boiling bleach increases its activity; don't do it if you are concerned that more active bleach will hurt something. Even boiling bleach will not hurt vitrified enamel.

              However, boiling bleach also releases the dissolved chlorine into the atmosphere as chlorine gas. You should not boil large volumes of bleach, period, and you should avoid breathing the fumes to the extent that you can. But consumer laundry bleach has chlorine dissolved into it in a fairly low concentration, so in an average size kitchen with decent ventilation, the concentration of chlorine in the air from boiling a half cup or so of bleach is no higher than it is around an average swimming pool on a hot summer day.