How Do You Clean a Cast Iron Dutch Oven?


August 1, 2021

Last updated on September 18, 2021


How Do You Clean a Cast Iron Dutch Oven?

A dutch oven is likely to seem pretty handy and easy to use. There are plenty of great cast iron dutch oven systems out there – and while we’d normally run through a few of the bigger and better options on the market for you, in this guide, we’re going to focus on everyone’s favourite job. That’s right – cleaning dutch ovens.

You may be wondering what all the fuss is about. Aren’t dutch ovens supposed to be easy to use, through and through? Generally, yes – but over time, they can get bogged down in all kinds of greasy food messes. Even after only a few hours of cooking, you might still end up with a nasty ring of food grease that’s a real pain to get rid of.

So what should you use to clean an enameled cast iron dutch? Is it a case of grabbing a paper towel and getting in deep with the scrubbing? Or should you just fill it with hot water and hope for the best?

There are plenty of different ideas out there on how to clean a dutch for the best. However, in this guide, we’ll take a look at a tried and tested method that never fails to bring out the best in your crock pot.


What is the Best Way to Clean a Dutch Oven?

As mentioned, there are more than a few ways to get the best out of your cast iron dutch oven. However, there’s one method that always seems to work the best. First of all, however, you’re going to need to tool up with a few bits and pieces.

Do also keep in mind that there are different ways in which you can clean a standard cast iron dutch oven and an enameled cast iron dutch oven. It’s essential you work to the method that’s specific to your dutch oven. Know which is which? Ready to get started? Great – let’s dive in.

Cleaning a Cast Iron Dutch Oven

Assuming that you know about how to season a cast iron dutch oven – which is a completely different guide – let’s get straight into the cleaning side of things. Even before you get started, you should know to wipe down the inside of your crock pot with a paper towel. It’s a good way to get the bulk of the grease and debris off before you start.

Otherwise, here’s what you’ll need to get started:

  • Paper towels
  • Cooking oil
  • Steel wool or scrubbing brush
  • Hot water
Note – you shouldn’t use dish soap of any kind to scrub with here. Trust us! Once you’ve armed yourself with the above utensils, it’s time to get deep into the cleaning.
  1. As mentioned, you should firstly make sure to wipe off the thickest debris and gunk with paper towels. It’s probably best you wet these a little with warm or hot water if the food stainage is particularly dried-on.
  2. Then, you’re going to need to fill your crock pot with water. You’ll need to bring this up to the boil, as it’ll be best use to get rid of some of the more troublesome stains and grease. You’ll need to do this to loosen up the toughest marks and build-up.
  3. Take your dutch oven off the hob or heat completely.
  4. Make sure to let the water cool down fully, and grab your steel wool, or a scrubbing tool which isn’t going to scratch the inside of your pot. You should then start thinking about scrubbing off the loose bits.
  5. Then, you’re going to want to rinse out with some clean, cool water, once you’re sure that all of the food debris is loose and easy to remove.
  6. Then, make sure to dry it down with a few more paper towels or kitchen roll. You’re going to need to ensure you do this carefully, and in full, before you head to the next step.
  7. You will then need to oil up your oven. Add in a small amount of cooking oil and rub in with the paper towels until only a small amount remains. You can get this out with a little more paper if you need to.

Cleaning an Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven

Enameled iron dutch ovens are altogether different. It’s here where you’re going to need some good old soap and water to get down into the grease and grime. You’ll also need a little bit of baking soda, too, which you may well have in stock if you’re keen on the old baking front.

Here’s the easiest way to get your enameled cast iron dutch looking clean and at its best. You’ll need:

  • Hot water
  • Plastic sponge and scraper
  • Some baking soda ( a standard pot will do)
  • Washing up liquid or dish soap
Once again, follow the steps for the easiest process – and do be sure you’re not about to clean a cast iron dutch oven – this is for enameled dutch ovens only!
  1. Once your dutch oven is free from the cooking and has cooled down completely, make sure to fill it liberally with hot water and dish soap.
  2. Then, prepare the baking soda. A couple of tablespoons full into the water should be fine – but then, you’re going to need to leave it to work its magic for a little while. We’d probably give it no longer than 15 to 20 minutes in total, making sure you have a lid on top.
  3. Then, you should make sure to start scraping and scrubbing. It’s really important you use plastic implements here, otherwise metal can do some serious harm to dutch ovens! Depending on what you’ve been cooking, there might be some tough bits you need to scrape and prise off. Once you’ve done this, be sure to scrub to get off the remaining debris.
  4. In fact, it’s probably best to refill the pot with some more hot water and soap before you scrub – as it might just offer you better results.
  5. This should be all you need to do if you act fast, or if your pot hasn’t seen intensive use. Otherwise, if you’re looking at some serious staining, be prepared to make a quick baking soda paste, around 75% soda. Rub it gently into the pot, and leave it to sit for three or four hours.
  6. If the stains and marks still aren’t lifting, leave it for even longer. You should be looking at putting a bit more hot water in, and trying to scrub the stains off your dutch oven interior.
  7. Then, rinse and leave to dry – as you normally might with other dishes!


As you can see, there are a few methods you can use to get oven pots clean. No matter the dutch oven you use, it’s crucial you give it time and care. Otherwise, you could do your trusty oven pot some serious damage!

When you look after your dutch oven it will last you for years to come. However, if you would like to treat yourself or a friend or family member to a new pot you can read our comprehensive review to the best dutch ovens here.

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