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Jul 15, 2013 04:22 AM

New Staub enameled cast iron grill pan stained and damaged... what now?

I got a Staub enameled cast iron pan as a wedding gift, and I used it for the first time last night. I didn't oil or season it, just rinsed it with soapy water, and put it on the stove (electric high heat) to cook some chicken. I finished it off in the oven at 500 deg.

Anyway, my cooking left some black sticky grease stains that are nearly impossible to get off. I used hot and cold water and scrubbing with dish soap and a green scrub pad to no avail. I then looked up some info online and tried the salt scrub, which also didn't work. Finally, I tried filling the pan with soapy dish water and heating it on the stove on low-medium heat for a couple of hours. While this did remove SOME of the grease stains, it also left a UNDISSOLVED soap stain. What I mean by this is that a drop of the green dish soap did NOT dissolve in the water and seems to have hardened onto the bottom of the pan after heating. It's like a tiny marble that has melted and attached to the pan. I have scrubbed and scrubbed in hot and cold water, and I've even tried heating the pan in water again to see if it will soften. It will not. I (carefully) used a sharp knife to dislodge this little stain, but it is as hard as a rock. What can I do now?

Furthermore, I'm still not entirely clear what I need to do to clean and maintain this pan. I know raw cast iron needs to be cleaned without soap and then seasoned. Staub indicates that my pan (enameled) doesn't need to be seasoned and can be cleaned with just soapy water. Do I just treat this pan like a regular aluminum pan then?

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  1. I'm a little confused. Do you have hard water? Plain dishsoap works fine for me but, if I want that nice factory gleam in the finish, Barkeepers Friend or similar will do it for me.

    Having dishsoap that won't dissolve suggests something is fundamentally wrong. What's going on with your water and dishsoap?

    A mildly acidic solution in your water should get rid of the water and soap stains. Let it simmer for a long time and be done with it.

    11 Replies
    1. re: Sid Post

      I don't think our water is particularly hard (Los Angeles). The reason the dish soap didn't dissolve is that I poured some into the water and didn't stir enough. In retrospect, I should've run more water into there. Basically, imagine pouring Palmolive into still water and then letting it simmer for 2 hours.

      At this point, will Barkeeper's friend or an acidic solution dissolve this piece of petrified soap? In case I wasn't clear, it's not white soap residue; it's a small amount of green stuff stuck on the pan. If so, what's an example of a suitable acidic solution? Thanks

      1. re: DaveInLA

        Vinegar is a good example and what I use to clean my staub after each use.

        1. re: bkultra

          Just cold vinegar? Or do you put it over the stove?

          1. re: DaveInLA

            I simmer it on the stove top for a few minutes

      2. re: Sid Post

        One more thing--
        When my wife tried to scratch off the soap, she scratched off a small part of the enamel coating. It's a tiny bit of exposed cast iron. Do I now have to "season" this tiny area? It's like 2x3 mm.

        1. re: DaveInLA

          Why in the world are you finishing something at 500 degrees? That will totally burn your oil. As will cooking at high heat. Most oils burn at less than 375 or 400

          Try Barkeepers friend

          1. re: C. Hamster

            I'm thinking the same thing. 500 degrees is a bit much to finish off grilled chx. Anyway, would an oven cleaner work? That's just a suggestion, since I don't have any Staub to base it on experience.

            1. re: breadchick

              500 ??? Hmmmm..

              I have used oven cleaner on SS many times (not my mistakes !!my SILs!) but never on enamel.

              1. re: C. Hamster

                Well, I was thinking because ovens are usually lined with some type of porcelain maybe the oven cleaner will work? Maybe a mild version (not heavy duty) cleaner.

                1. re: breadchick

                  I think oven cleaner has a good chance to work, but I also worry that oven cleaner may stain the exterior. I could be wrong about that.

                  It seems the original poster is very particular about the look of the cookware.

              2. re: breadchick

                I agree the 500 deg was a lot. It's actually the highest I've ever set an oven, but that's what the recipe called for.

        2. A lot of the things you mentioned are for bare (non-enameled) cast iron cookware.
          You are correct that your Staub pan is enameled and will not require the same care as a bare cast iron cookware. It seems to me that you have some partially burned oil which is sticky and gummy.

          At this point, I like to suggest you to add white vinegar to the pan and bring it to a boil. Turn off the heat and let it sit for 30 min to dissolve your soap stain. In all honesty, you may eventually need to use something much harsher, but for now, let's just try something gentle like white vinegar.

          6 Replies
          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

            Which... would, much like avoiding using wine to deglaze, break it down? Sounds promising to me.

            1. re: breadchick

              I don't follow what you mean? Does boiling the vinegar sound like a good idea?

              1. re: DaveInLA

                Well, I've heard from these boards that deglazing with wine in a seasoned pan MAY lift the seasoning layer - not a good thing. So, maybe using vinegar - based on CK's idea - might be a gentle way of lifting the mess from your pan withi

                1. re: breadchick

                  yikes, this board is crazy tonight... to add "lifting the mess from your pan without damaging the finish."

            2. re: Chemicalkinetics

              What's an example of something harsher? Like Barkeeper's Friend? I will probably try that next. Oven cleaner? Sounds scary.

              1. re: DaveInLA

                Yes, oven cleaner for one. Bar Keeper's Friend is still mild.