How To Clean The Bottom Of A Le Creuset Pan

Categories Cleaning Tips
how to clean the bottom of a le creuset pan

My little Le Creuset pot passed its best years ago. The surface on the inside is now dull and it has lots of brown stains on the inside. Although the pot still works very well I’ve been wondering if it is possible to clean the bottom of my Le Creuset pan, and perhaps get it stain-free again?

I’ve done a lot of research to find the best option. However, several of the methods had warnings attached to them. i.e. doing ‘this’ could damage the enamel.

So here is my warning to my dear readers:

If your pot still has its shiny surface on the inside then I don’t recommend you use anything harsh on it because it could go dull and will most likely be easier to stain going forward.

One of my pots has gone past the point of saving the enamel. The shiny inside disappeared long ago and now shows all the stains I’ve collected during the years of use.

I’m not hugely concerned about the discolouring I have inside my pan. It cooks just as well as when I bought it, and it will probably stain again even if I did manage to get it clean. It’s curiosity really that is making me look for solutions.

If you are in the same boat as me and have a recent stain you can’t get out or brown stains that have built up over time, here is the quick solution:

If you have burned some food on the bottom of your Le Creuset pan you can quickly dislodge the stain using baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. The stain should wipe away easily. For staining that has built up over time, oven cleaner is the quickest and most effective option to get it off. If you don’t like the fumes from oven cleaner, soak your pot overnight in a solution of bleach and water and by the morning it should be stain-free.

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How to clean the bottom of an enamelled cast iron Le Creuset pan

I have several cast-iron pots in my kitchen including a cast-iron skillet and I love them all. I used to have a very large blue Le Creuset casserole dish. But when we moved home ten years ago it never made it to the new house and it is a mystery where it got to. I still lament the loss of it today!

The worst looking pan in my collection is a small blue casserole dish. Despite being the worst for wear, it gets used nearly every day and it is now over twenty years old. I bought it in France along with the larger one (now lost).

After over twenty years of use, it is showing its age. Sadly the inside has lost its original shine and it has plenty of marks on the outside and the lid even has a chip on it. The good news though, is that it cooks our food just as well as it did on the day I bought it.

Just how clean could I get it?

I’m not expecting to get the shine back but it would be nice if the interior was a little cleaner looking.

Here it is before I started cleaning:

how to clean the bottom of a le creuset pan

how to clean the bottom of a le creuset pan

Le Creuset pot on the outside

Le Creuset pot on the outside

If your beloved Le Creuset pan is looking stained like mine inside and out, then let me share with you the results of my experiments into cleaning it, so you don’t have to bother with solutions that don’t work!

Whenever I embark on a cleaning job I always prefer to start with the most natural, non-toxic and gentle methods first. When those don’t work I move up to something more heavy-duty.

Here is what I tried along with the results:

Baking soda and hydrogen peroxide

Baking soda and hydrogen peroxide for cleaning the bottom of a le creuset pot

Baking soda and hydrogen peroxide for cleaning the bottom of a Le Creuset pot

Although hydrogen peroxide isn’t particularly gentle, it’s the gentlest of the options available and so I will try it first.

If you have recently burned the bottom of your pan then this baking and hydrogen peroxide combination is very effective at removing the burned-on food without much scrubbing required.

How to clean the bottom of a Le Creuset pan with baking soda and hydrogen peroxide

  1. Pour some hydrogen peroxide onto the bottom of your pan so that it covers the whole base up to about 1/2 an inch. Here, I have used a medium strength hydrogen peroxide (6%).
  2. Heat until just boiling.
  3. Turn off the heat.
  4. Add 1-2 teaspoons of baking soda.
  5. The baking soda and hydrogen peroxide will react and produce lots of tiny bubbles.
  6. Put the lid on the pan.
  7. Let the solution sit in the pot for an hour or until the burned-on food has loosened.
  8. Rinse and then rub over the surface with a sponge or cloth.

The results

Le Creuset pot after cleaning with baking soda and hydrogen peroxide

Le Creuset pot after cleaning with baking soda and hydrogen peroxide

As you can see, the pan looks a lot cleaner on the bottom than when I started. If I had more patience and (a lot) more hydrogen peroxide I could fill the whole pan up and then eventually it might get clean.

However, I’m not going to repeat this because I don’t have enough hydrogen peroxide, plus I’m keen to try other options.

Oven cleaner

Cleaning a Le Creuset pot with oven cleaner

Cleaning a Le Creuset pot with oven cleaner

If your pan still has its shiny enamel surface I don’t recommend cleaning your pot with oven cleaner because it could dull the surface. It’s fine to use oven cleaner on the outside, but for the inside, you need a gentler solution. Try the hydrogen peroxide and baking soda method instead.

How to clean the bottom of Le Creuset pan with oven cleaner

For this, you can use your favourite oven cleaner. To be honest I don’t use oven cleaner because my oven has a self-cleaning cycle. I had to buy some especially for this task, so I chose the most popular and cheapest one from Wilko. For U.S residents, I have heard that Easy Off oven cleaner is perfect for this job.

  1. Put on some rubber gloves and shake the spray can.
  2. In a well-ventilated room, spray the inside of the pan with oven cleaner.
  3. Leave to work for 30 minutes.
  4. Wipe away with a clean damp cloth.

You could put your pot in the oven while you leave it to work to avoid fumes in your kitchen or take it outside.

Cleaning a Le Creuset pan with oven cleaner

Cleaning a Le Creuset pan with oven cleaner

The results

After 30 minutes I was amazed at how much brown grunge came off the pan. I have to admit that I didn’t expect it to work so well!

Cleaning off the oven cleaner from a Le Creuset pot

Cleaning off the oven cleaner from a Le Creuset pot

After I finished wiping here is how the pot looked:

After cleaning a Le Creuset pot with oven cleaner

After cleaning a Le Creuset pot with oven cleaner

I am very impressed with the result and pretty confident that with another one or two applications I can get the pot back to a stain-free state.

However, I’m keen to try the bleach method too. Although the oven cleaner is very effective it is also very smelly. If the bleach doesn’t work I will come back for a second go at the oven cleaner.

Related reading:

Bleach

Cleaning a Le Creuset pan with bleach

Cleaning a Le Creuset pan with bleach

Again, don’t attempt to clean your Le Creuset pot with bleach unless more gentle options haven’t worked for you or your pan has already lost its sheen like mine.

How to clean the bottom of Le Creuset pan with bleach:

  1. Add a generous amount of chlorine-based bleach to the bottom of the pan and then fill it to the top with cold water. I used about 1/2 a cup in my 20inch pot.
  2. Leave to soak for several hours or overnight.
  3. Drain and rinse thoroughly with clean water.

The results

Le Creuset pot after cleaning with bleach

Le Creuset pot after cleaning with bleach

As you can see my pan looks almost new again. All the stains are gone! It was very easy to do (no scrubbing required).

The verdict

I expect that it won’t be the last time I will clean this particular pan. Next time I’m going to skip the baking soda and hydrogen peroxide option. I’ll start with the oven cleaner because that got most of the staining off and then finish the job with some bleach.

Related reading:

Other options for cleaning your Le Creuset pan

Here are some other options for cleaning a Le Creuset pot that I didn’t try myself.

  • Magic Eraser. Take a magic eraser and gently scrub the inside of the pan.
  • Baking Soda plus vinegar or lemon juice. Mix some baking soda and some vinegar or lemon juice to make a paste. Use it to scrub the inside of your pan.

Related reading:

How To Clean The Inside Of A Kettle With Lemon Juice

How to prevent your Le Creuset pan from burning on the bottom

Cleaning your Le Creuset pot with the chemicals I talked about earlier can get your pot back to its original state. However, it isn’t recommended that you make a habit of doing so because over time you can damage the enamel. I would recommend cleaning no more than once per year.

If you can, it is best to prevent staining instead.

Here are some tips to help you keep the bottom of your Le Creuset pan perfectly clean and shiny:

Always use low to medium heat

The number one thing you can do to avoid your Le Creuset pan from burning on the bottom is to avoid cooking on high heat. Bring it up to the cooking heat gently to avoid the possibility of cracking.

Use plenty of cooking oil

Unfortunately, the enamel surface of Le Creuset pans are not non-stick, so you need to use plenty of cooking oil when you fry your food.

I like to coat my Le Creuset casserole pan with plenty of oil and then use a pastry brush to make sure the oil completely covers the base and sides of the pan.

Using oil with a Le Creuset pan

Using oil with a Le Creuset pan

Don’t leave the pot unattended

The worst pot burning situation I have ever experienced occurred when I left the pot to cook on its own. You think you will be away only for a second, but before you know it seconds have turned into minutes and your pot (and your food) is burning.

If you have a serious food burn then very probably the dish is ruined. But if you caught it before that point, here is my tip for saving your dinner from ruin:

Do this immediately when your food starts to burn and stick to the bottom of your pan

Here is my little trick to save scrubbing the pan later, plus you can actually add more flavour to your food.

If you see your food start to burn or stick on the bottom of the pan:

  1. Immediately turn down the heat to the lowest setting or take it off the stove entirely.
  2. Put the lid on and leave it to sit for 5-10 minutes.
  3. In those few minutes, the stuck-on food will lift off the base of the pan.
  4. Stir and then carry on cooking (this time at a lower temperature than before).

If your food is badly burned on the bottom your best option is to transfer the rest of the food into a clean pan and then soak off the burned-on food separately. Otherwise, the whole dish will taste of burned food and won’t be very nice at all!

How to clean the bottom of a Le Creuset cast iron skillet

Le Creuset cast iron skillets are different to the bare iron skillets like those made by Lodge.

Bare metal cast iron skillets can be cleaned with abrasive cleaners such as coarse salt and wire wool. You can even strip them down to the naked iron and re-season them. Even very old skillets can be striped and bought back to their former glory.

However, Le Creuset skillets are different because they are coated with enamel that shouldn’t be scrubbed with anything too abrasive.

Directions for cleaning your Le Creuset cast iron skillet:

  1. Wait for your skillet to cool down naturally.
  2. Clean off any stuck-on food.
  3. Let the pan soak in warm soapy water.
  4. Rinse and dry.

Dry well after washing and store in a dry place.

Related reading:

How to clean the outside of a Le Creuset pan

Over time the outside or the bottom of your Le Creuset pan can develop brown marks. If this has happened to your pan or you have a vintage Le Creuset pot to restore you will be pleased to know there is a solution and all you will need is some oven cleaner or Bar Keepers Friend.

How to clean the outside of a Le Creuset pan with Bar Keepers Friend

If you have some Bar Keepers Friend to hand you can use it to clean the outside of your Le Creuset pan.

You will need:

  1. Bar Keepers Friend
  2. Sponge
  3. Water
  4. Rubber gloves

Directions:

  1. Turn the pot upside down.
  2. If necessary remove the rubber knob from the lid. You should be able to screw it off.
  3. Sprinkle over the cleaning granules or spray if you have the spray version of the cleaner.
  4. Take a damp cloth or sponge and start gently scrubbing the pot.
  5. For old brown stains, you may need to work quite hard to remove the carbon deposits.
  6. Wipe away with a clean damp cloth.

Here is a useful video on how to clean a vintage Le Creuset pot with Bar Keepers friend.

How to clean the outside of a Le Creuset pan with oven cleaner

Bar Keepers Friend can be effective but requires some elbow grease to get it to work!

If you prefer a no-scrub method you can use oven cleaner instead. It is super easy to clean your Le Creuset pot with oven cleaner. All you do is spray on and leave it to work.

You will need:

  1. Rubber gloves
  2. Oven cleaner (Mr Muscle or Easy Off)
  3. A well-ventilated area

Directions:

  1. Make sure the area is well ventilated before you begin.
  2. Turn the pan upside down.
  3. If necessary remove the rubber knob from the lid. You should be able to screw it off.
  4. Shake the spray can well.
  5. Spray the outside and the bottom of your pot with the oven cleaner.
  6. Leave it to work for 30 minutes.
  7. Wipe away with a damp cloth or a paper towel.
  8. Repeat as necessary.

The above directions are for Mr Muscle Oven cleaner which is available here in the UK.

If you are in the US I’m told that Easy Off oven cleaner is the best kind to use and works brilliantly for cleaning up the outside of Le Creuset pots.

Frequently asked questions

How often to clean the inside and bottom of a Le Creuset pot?

Cleaning the inside and bottom of your Le Creuset pot too often can cause damage to the enamel. I recommend you deep clean the inside no more than once per year. In between deep cleans, avoid burning your food by using enough cooking oil and selecting the appropriate heat setting. If food burns on the bottom, soak your pan in warm soapy water.

Addendum

I describe my little blue pot as a ‘Le Creuset’, but actually, it is made by ‘Cousances’ which was bought out by Le Creuset in the 1980s. I bought mine in the late ’90s. It looks pretty much identical to a similar-sized Le Creuset pan and seems to have been made with the same materials. When I needed a new knob I replaced it with a Le Creuset knob which fitted perfectly, so I assume that all the dimensions are the same.

This article and its contents are owned by SparklingPenny and was first published on 6 January 2022
SparklingPenny

Penny | SparklingPenny

Hi, I'm Penny. A busy mum of two boys and one dog, with the aim to enjoy life to the full.