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I think I ACTUALLY ruined my Le Creuset skillet. (bear with me)

I have had a 10.25 inch Le Creuset skillet for a few years now. I love it a lot. It's enameled on the outside and black on the inside and I've always just assumed (like an idiot) that the interior was raw cast iron. Everything supported this conclusion. It worked like cast iron. It built up seasoning. I've seen it rust when I left water standing in it when I first got it.

So last week I realized the pan had a lot of crap burnt into it. It was not smooth and there was a thick layer of black scaly material that would not come off no matter what (soft abrasives, wood/plastic scrapers etc). So I figured what the hell, cast iron, I'll reset it.

I proceeded to use 100 - 150 and 200 grit sandpaper to take the surface off the interior of the pan. I got down to what looks like mostly raw cast iron. I polished it beautifully smooth and then seasoned it as I would a regular cast iron pan. It seems to work fine however...

...then I started reading about "satin black enamel" and I'm afraid I just sanded all the glass free from my pan. I'm afraid to cook in it. I'm afraid I've fractured the essentially glass coating on this (unusual?) pan and now using it could leach shards of glass into my food. I don't even know what I actually did. Has Le Creuset EVER made pans with raw cast iron interiors?

I know Le Creuset has a lifetime warranty and I have a few other pieces of theirs that I love/use all the time and am thankfully not too dumb to use (so far). But I need my pan and I love it too and I'm heartbroken imagining that I ruined it.

What do?

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  1. Send it back. They have wonderful customer service.

    I accidentally left my HUGE LC pot on the back of stove thinking I turned off the heat. Hours later I came back in the house to the most vile smell and realized what happened. The pot was ruined and I was probably about 20 minutes away from a major fire. scary!

    I called them and while I had to pay for shipping ($$ as it weighed a ton) it was worth it to get a brand new one.

    1. As far as I know all the modern Le Cresuet skillets have the black mattee enameled interior, and are not bare cast iron. I would call or email the Le Creuset office and ask them if the interior is indeed enameled (which I believe it is), and if it is, explain what you did and see if they would exchange or partial exchange for a new skillet.

      1. I don't think their warranty will cover what you did.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Jay F

          Hi, Jay:

          +1. This was not LC's fault.

          However, I wonder if the OP might not have *improved* the pan. If rust isn't going to be an issue, I think I'd rather have it bare than enameled.

          Aloha,
          Kaleo

          1. re: kaleokahu

            Mine wasn't LC fault either and they happily replaced it. Worth at least a phone call….

            1. re: kaleokahu

              Yeah...
              Definitely completely my fault lol. Still always worth a try though. I like to act poor and pitiful and talk about how much I looooooooove their products >.>

              1. re: kaleokahu

                Ha! I was going to say the same thing. Now the OP has an LC pan, enameled on the outside (i.e. still pretty) with a much improved interior.

                OP,

                If you took the interior to base cast iron, and you could see shiny metal all over, I'd guess that you can season and use it.

                Are you sure you saw rust when you first got the pan? I've seen poorly adhered seasoning layers and grunge of various kinds turn a rust brown color when left under water for a while?

                Best of luck with whatever you decide!

            2. Hi folks; I'm new :).

              I think your skillet will be ok.

              I think the rust indicates that it really wasn't enameled on the inside.

              And, even if it was, I don't think you will get any glass bits in your food, after a good washing with a plastic scrubbie. Glass is hard stuff. I use chipped and cracked glass all the time (not in a commercial kitchen) and it stays the same for decades.

              2 Replies
              1. re: NilaJones

                I think Nila is right - I have a set of three LC cast iron skillets that I bought in the 80s, with the colored enamel exterior and matte black enamel interior. I use them all the time and have never seen rust anywhere on them, even if I leave them soaking in the sink overnight. If you've seen rust it's not an enameled interior.

                EDIT: Just realized this is an old thread. Oh, well.

                1. re: BobB

                  I know this thread is old, but just in case others come across it in the future: I have a black-enameled LC grill pan and at some point in the first month or so of using it, part of the black enamel looked kinda rusted after soaking it. Of course it wasn't rust, it was some of the oil that had been cooked on to the pan, that had come off a bit with soaking, but that I hadn't fully gotten clean when I washed it.

                  With the black enamel, it's much easier not to realize that I didn't get the pan conpletely clean and have a layer of oil that stays after cleaning. I'm sure it would come out w baking soda or something. I haven't tried baking soda or anything yet because, with it there, even though it's not technically seasoning, it seems that I don't really need to add extra oil to the pan and nothing sticks.

              2. Before your worries get too out of hand, have you tried cooking in it? I seriously doubt you've done damage to it. At least not anything that will prevent it from doing an excellent job. Sometimes a light coat of oil helps. Should you ever decide to scour a pan again, DO NOT use sandpaper or steel wool. Use salt. Plain round blue box salt! It has very sharp cutting edges on each grain, and it will cut through all sorts of flakes and gunk and burned on stuff in any cooking utensil. Just use a paper towel to scour with. Should you ever need to sterilize a pan (when in doubt, sterilize), just put an inch or so of salt in the pan and heat it on high for 3 to 5 minutes, then let the salt cool in the pan. Salt has wonderful thermal properties that "focuses" heat. For example, if you ever have a lens pop out of a pair of glasses, heat some salt in a pan and just bury the glasses frame in it for a minute or so, then pop the lens back in place. And better to err on the side of too cool and have to heat it up a bit than on the side of too hot or you could end up with glasses that look like they were designed by Salvador Dali! Probably not the look you'd have in mind. Save the salt for future uses. It never wears out! '-)