HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >


How do I clean this?

I cooked fried chicken last night and some of the oil must have dripped over the sides of the pan and is now stuck to the bottom. What would be safe to clean this? If it were a metal pan I would spray with oven cleaner and be done with it. I tried soaking and it didn't make a difference. Any suggestions?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. If it's not metal what is it?

    2 Replies
    1. re: Quine

      It's a Le Creuset. Cast iron with enamel coating.

      1. re: Sydneyeats

        A non-scratch cleaner like ones made for bathrooms?

      1. re: inaplasticcup

        That was my first thought as well, but wasn;t sure if it would scratch. Bar Keeper's friend is amazing.

        1. re: inaplasticcup

          I tried the powder and liquid version of Bar Keeper's Friend. It didn't make a difference.

          I must say I'm not a fan of the liquid version of Bar Keepers Friend----it has an odor that really turned me off.

          1. re: Sydneyeats

            I don't think the BKF liquid works as well, either. Plus it separates and becomes unusable after a while.

            Ammonia is great at getting old or cooked grease off of things. YMMV on enamel, however.

        2. Have you tried just soaking in hot water & dawn? Dawn makes a good product called power dissolver that works great on tough grease but I don't know if it would be safe for the enamel or not. It worked to get the grease splatters from a deep fryer off of some appliances and the backsplash, but I acidentally wiped some of the lettering/numbers off my toaster.
          Just curious why you didn't take the sticker off the bottom before using it?

          1 Reply
          1. re: ShawnPA

            Thanks! I will try the power dissolver next. I have used this pan for several years and the sticker has not come off. No amount of soaking or dishwashing would even make it budge.

          2. Le Creuset makes a (liquid) enamel cleaner. I've never used it but it may have some ingredients in it that the liquid BKF doesn't. (it's worth a try)

            I've heard using a soak of water and a couple of denture cleaning tablets works on burnt enamel. Of course it's intended for pan-interior burns but if you have a basin or sink you can upend your pot in, you could try that overnight. I'd think that you'd need a number of tablets, depending on how large your pot is. Supposedly the enzymes in the fizzy tablets acts on the organic particles and lifts them away. Again, worth a try.

            Silly question but have you contacted Le Creuset directly to ask the best method? I'm sure you're not the first cook to ever do that. :-) Email at cservice@lecreuset.com , as per their website.

            1. Put the pan inside a larger pot filled with enough water to cover the oil residue, add baking soda and bring to a boil. After a few minutes, try scraping off the residue with something that won't scratch the enamel -- like a nylon scraper. If that doesn't work, keep boiling and try again. It will work.
              Also, you should be able pretty easily to scrape the residue off with a single edge razor blade without harming the enamel. This may not be for the faint of heart, especially for the curved sides of a pan. But it works too.

              5 Replies
              1. re: pericolosa

                Along those same lines, I wonder if using vinegar instead of baking soda would work as well or better. I recently acquired a new set of enameled cookware and the use instructions said to boil a solution of vinegar/water in it before first use. The same method is also recommended if oil/fat deposits need to be removed. It's possible that vinegar (acidic) may be more effective at cutting oils than baking soda (neutral).

                1. re: skyline

                  Baking soda is only neutral when it is balanced in solution by an acid, such as vinegar. Sodium bicarbonate - baking soda - is a salt that, when dissolved in water, produces a basic solution.

                  The method I use to clean Le Creuset pans in these situations, and that I described above, doesn't dissolve the oil residue.

                  Rather, it causes the residue to separate from the enamel in sheets. Notice I described the need to scrape. So maybe this cleaning process is better termed mechanical than chemical.

                2. re: pericolosa

                  "add baking soda and bring to a boil."

                  Agree for most part, except the original poster has the oil residue on the exterior surface, so the boiling method will not work. I would just make a baking soda paste and apply it on the cookware and wait a few hours. Al

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    The other part of the suggestion was to put the pan to be cleaned inside of a larger pot containing the water to be boiled, that way the exterior would be the part in contact with the baking soda solution.

                    1. re: pericolosa

                      Thanks for clarifying. That makes sense.

                  1. Bar Keeper's Friend is a reasonable suggestion. However, I agree with tim irvine. It is usually more effective to remove oil-based grease-like residue with basic solution instead of acidic solution. Bar Keeper's Friend is acidic. For mild cleaning try baking soda solution. Make a very concentrated baking soda pasta and apply it on the surface and wait for at least 30 minutes before cleaning. Ammonia based solution may work, but I worry it being too aggressive for the enameled surface. Again, I would suggest some wait time and allows the residue to be soak in the solution.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      (Slightly off-topic/background. Aren't fats non-polar? So how would the pH matter?)

                      I have had the experience of dulling the enameled surface of Le Creuset pans through the use of strongly basic solutions - usually bleach - to remove oil residue or other stains. As I have found that the weaker base of the baking soda does work, I second the recommendation to avoid the stronger methods.

                    2. Try what everyone else has suggested first, and if you don't have any luck, put your pot, bottom down, in a dishpan or larger container full of Dawn and water and leave it for days. Just put the whole mess in your laundry room or some out of the way spot and forget about it. Check back on day 4 or so and see how it's progressing. This has worked for me with baked on spilled turkey grease and burnt baked on butter. I'm serious about it taking days to dissolve, but it eventually did.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Isolda

                        Just a quick caution re: this method, though: If there are ANY chips or damage to the exterior enamel on the part of the pot that is being left submerged, be aware that it will start to rust bigtime in a hurry, which will in turn degrade a bit more of the enamel around the edges of the chip, etc etc. Chipped LC is a veritable rust factory if it's left in water, even overnight.

                        Also you would have to choose a detergent/water container that let's you suspend the pan bottom so that it doesn't sit flat on the inside bottom of the container. You'd want the pot bottom coming into contact with as much of the detergent solution as possible.

                        1. re: skyline

                          Yep, the handles on the pot cause it to hang in the solution. Good to know about the chipped LC, though.

                      2. You can try using a solvent like Goof Off. It will dissolve the burnt on grease, although any significant globs of burnt-on oil will need some good rubbing. It should not affect the enamel because it is sealed. Use a cloth that won't scratch the surface and avoid anything abrasive. I use this as a last resort on my LC if it gets really bad.

                        The only danger is that you are going to watch out for the nasty fumes, and then wash the pot very, very well -- a few times -- and rinse well before putting it back on a burner, because any residue will be extremely flammable. But it works.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: RGC1982

                          I use Goo Be Gone in the gel spray for all sorts of cleaning involving grease--my stainless backsplash, stove drip pans, and it's great for polishing up stainless steel appliances. Not so many fumes as Goof Off and it comes in a larger bottle.

                          1. re: escondido123

                            I will look for Goo Be Gone next time. I hate the smell of Goof Off and use it only as a last resort because of it. Is it found in the same area in the store?

                            1. re: RGC1982

                              I get it at Home Depot in the paint department by the paint remover--smells like oranges and solvent.

                        2. Have you succeeded yet. I have a lot of luck with just a baking soda paste. use a rag and elbow grease to rub with the paste. I have also used the edge of a spoon wrapped in a rag to use to apply the paste (again with elbow grease). Also be careful that the edge of the spoon does not break through the rag as it can then scratch. I have been successful removing burnt on spots on enamel drip pans of my gas burner stove (my reason for switching to induction). Good luck. The baking soda paste works wonders on glass and stainless as well.

                          1. I tried soaking for days and the baked on grease didn't budge. I finally broke down and sprayed the pan witth Easy Off oven cleaner and would wipe off the residue and retreat throught the day. All of the grease came off and the pan looks brand new.

                            Thank you all for the suggestions!

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Sydneyeats

                              Good to know. It is nice to have all the suggestions and to know what worked. Thanks for the question.

                              1. re: Sydneyeats

                                I was just going to suggest that. It's what we use for that type of stain...

                              2. use oven cleaner. LC also makes a cleaner. I give all of mine an oven cleaner bath about once a year. I spray it on and let is sit over night and rinse it off the next day. It looks all shiny and new again. Get a plain cast iron for frying chicken.