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Another Cast Iron Cleaning Issue.

After 30 years careful ownership of my favourite LC, I took my eye off the ball and burnt some braised red cabbage I was reheating. The accompanying photo shows it after a boil up, scrape, and 6 hour soak with undiluted white vinegar, which has had no effect whatsoever. I'll try the same with baking powder next and report back (next weekend, as I'm not at this house during the week).

I partially blame my new and useless glass cooktop.

All suggestions welcome.

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  1. My husband did that with a huge batch of red beans. I used a paste of BarKeepers Friend and water and a green scrubby with lots of elbow grease. It took multiple scrub sessions, but eventually came off.

    2 Replies
    1. re: srr

      Put a couple inches of water in it, add a couple tablespoons of dishwasher detergent, boil for a few minutes and let it sit overnight. You should be able to rinse it clean.

      1. re: sparrowgrass

        This is how I have cleaned many pots. I have burned a few over my decades in the kitchen.

        I actually turn on the vent and boil the solution for a minute or two to get really good results. Fumes will result--open a window and turn on the vent.

    2. couple things:
      1. warm pot-spray with oven cleaner-leave on a couple of minutes-scrub with green scrubbie-rinse well with hot water-repeat. DON'T LEAVE ON VERY LONG > IT COULD EASILY ETCH
      2. barkeepers friend with tiny bit of water and soft sponge, massage gently-rinse well-repeat.
      3. fill pot 3/4 full of water-add 2 tsp bleach-boil-let cool-dump out liquid BUT SAVE-green scrubbie again-rinse well with hot water-put liquid back in-boil-cool-repeat

      I've gotten desperate and used Babbo in a frenzy with lots of elbow grease and scrubbed until my arm fell off. but buyer beware, that does etch and ruin the inside surface.

      after it all comes off and I'm confident it will- rinse in warm water-dry well with soft cloth and continue enjoying your pot.

      1. You can give baking soda a try if you like. Put the baking soda and water in. Bring it up to a boil, and let's it sit for an hour or two. Vinegar is mildly acidic, and baking soda is mildly basic. Baking powder is more neutral. So no need to try baking powder.

        Bar Keeper's Friend is a fine alternative to vinegar, and should be stronger.

        Diluted household ammonia is a stronger choice than baking soda solution, but do NOT heat up ammonia. Diluted bleach is also a alternative. Oven cleaner as well. Do NOT heat up these three.

        Ammonia, bleach and oven cleaner will most certainly work, but they are also much more aggressive and they may etch the surface.

        1. The fact that it is enameled is more important the that the base is cast iron. Cleaning bare cast iron is a different matter.

          See this other http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/703325
          LC thread.

          1. My first instinct would be to soak the spot in a paste of water and Barkeeper's Friend. You hardly need any water, just enough to cover the spot completely with the paste.

            If you see black peeking through, add a little more BKF.

            I'd leave this paste on for an hour, then scrub with a Dobie pad. If you see that this is working, but it's not completely clean, rinse and repeat, waiting another hour, or longer.

            If this doesn't work, come back and try another solution.

            1. My suggestion is to not blame the cooktop.


              5 Replies
              1. re: JayL

                Hi, Jay (and Robin):

                The photo shows a perfect example of a *real* scorchprint. It shows very graphically how uneven cast iron pans can be, especially with viscous and solid foods. If you stir enough to avoid the scorch, your braise can fall apart.

                I see several solutions: (1) Get a more conductive pan; (2) size the pan to the hob; (3) get a thick conductive simmer plate; and (4) get a solid-top range.


                1. re: kaleokahu

                  Hi, Kaleo -

                  I'm not sure I'm the Jay you're addressing, but I was thinking today about the Viscous and Solid Food Scorching in Cast Iron issue.

                  I made tomato sauce today in one of my All-Clad saucepans (instead of the usual LC), and there didn't seem to be any sticking on the bottom (which, as we all know, is the threshold to scorched food and pots).

                  It was on the stovetop for only an hour, canned tomatoes, a big onion, and a stick of butter, and it hardly seemed to need stirring at all. Not what I'm used to with LC.

                  I'm thinking of getting a larger All-Clad to replace the two LC ovens I use for chili and Bolognese.

                2. re: JayL

                  <My suggestion is to not blame the cooktop. >

                  Someone has to take the blame.

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    I've burned pans on gas, electric coil and smoothtop ranges. I have gotten better than when I was a younger and impatient cook.

                    I don't find the smoothtops burn pans worse than other sorts of cooktops. But you can ruin the look of your cooktop doing this.

                  2. I've read that pouring hydrogen peroxide in to cover the bottom, adding 1 or 2 tsp. of baking soda, and simmering that for 10 minutes has worked for some people. I haven't tried it myself and I wouldn't want you to ruin your enamel - but I doubt that it would, since peroxide & baking soda is a standard homemade toothpaste.

                    1. Thank you all for your input.

                      This was definitely down to the glass cooktop. Nothing to do with my decision to install it or my attention span at all. Nothing.

                      Anyway, I got impatient. Baking powder wasn't getting anywhere, so I wheeled out the caustic soda. Now, I'm not suggesting anyone takes this as advice, as it is really, really nasty stuff. Read and follow all the safety instructions on the pack. I used 100g/4oz in 1 litre/1qt cold water. A little soaking and scraping and an hour later only a faint grey discolouration remains. No apparent damage to the enamel.

                      Wierd photo angle due to unfamiliarity with new phone. Nothing to do with my lack of skills. Nothing.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Robin Joy

                        After seeing the photo, I must ask.... are you really Robin? Or are you the Batman?

                        This photo was shot by something who hang upside down from the ceiling. :D

                        Anyway, good to see the final result. Thanks for sharing.