How to Clean Your Dutch Oven | A Quick and Easy Guide

Last Updated on July 10, 2023 by Kimberly Crawford

A Dutch Oven is a versatile and beloved kitchen tool known for its durability and ability to distribute heat evenly. Whether you’ve just acquired a new Dutch Oven or want to maintain the cleanliness of your cherished one, proper cleaning is essential.

Tips to Consider Before Cleaning Your Dutch Oven

Cleaning a Dutch Oven is a crucial part of its maintenance. Whether you’re a seasoned cook or a beginner, knowing how to clean this versatile piece of cookware properly is essential for ensuring its longevity and optimal performance.

By following these guidelines, you can maintain the quality of your Le Creuset Dutch Ovens and continue enjoying delicious meals for years.

Understand the Material

Dutch Ovens are typically made from cast iron or enameled cast iron. It’s important to know which type you own because the cleaning methods can vary.

Cast iron Dutch Ovens require special care, while enameled cast iron is more forgiving. Check the manufacturer’s instructions or research online to determine the specific cleaning requirements for your Dutch Oven.


If you own a traditional cast iron Dutch Oven, seasoning it properly before use is crucial. Seasoning creates a non-stick surface and protects the cast iron from rusting.

To season your Dutch Oven, apply a thin vegetable oil or shortening layer to the entire surface, including the lid.

Place it in a preheated oven and bake it at a designated temperature for a specific time. Seasoning creates a natural patina that enhances the flavor of your dishes and makes cleaning easier.

Avoid Soap

When it comes to cleaning a Dutch Oven, one important rule is to avoid using soap. Soap can strip away the seasoning and affect the taste of your food. Instead, opt for hot water and a gentle scrubbing brush or sponge.

If you’re dealing with stubborn residue, boil water in the Dutch Oven to loosen it, then scrub it gently. Remember to dry the Dutch Oven thoroughly to prevent rusting.

Stubborn Stains and Residue

You can use a mild abrasive such as salt or baking soda if you encounter stubborn stains or residue that won’t come off with hot water alone.

Sprinkle a small amount onto the surface and scrub gently. Avoid using steel wool or harsh abrasives on the surface of your Dutch Oven, which can damage the seasoning or enamel.

Removing Rust

If your cast iron Dutch Oven develops rust, don’t panic. It’s a common issue that can be resolved.

To remove rust, scrub the affected area with a gentle abrasive, such as fine sandpaper or a scrubbing pad. Re-season your Dutch Oven once the rust is removed to prevent further rusting.


Proper storage is essential for maintaining the quality of your Dutch Oven. Before storing it, ensure that it’s completely dry to prevent rust formation.

If you have a cast iron Dutch Oven, apply a light coating of vegetable oil to the surface to create a protective layer. Store your Dutch Oven in a cool, dry place away from moisture and direct sunlight.

How to a Clean Dutch Oven

The Dutch Oven has quickly become the most used cookware, and that is for a good reason. Here is how to clean your Dutch Oven, including the materials you’ll need and the five steps to taking care of this iconic cookware.

Soak in Water & Baking Soda

The first step in cleaning your Dutch Oven is to remove any residual food particles and grease. Start by filling the Dutch Oven pot with warm water and adding a tablespoon of baking soda. Baking soda is a gentle yet effective natural cleaner that helps break down stubborn stains and odors.

Allow the Dutch Oven to soak for approximately 30 minutes or longer for more stubborn stains. The water and baking soda mixture will work magic, loosening up any stuck-on food, making removing it easier.

Gently Scrape off Any Stuck-On Foods

After the soaking process, use a non-abrasive sponge or a soft-bristle brush to scrape off any remaining stuck-on foods gently. Avoid using metal utensils or harsh scrubbers, as they can damage the enamel or seasoning of your Dutch Oven.

Take your time and be patient while scraping off the food particles. Applying excessive force can cause scratches or chips on the surface, compromising the integrity of the Dutch Oven.

Cleaning the Outside

While the inside of your Dutch Oven is the primary focus for cleaning, paying attention to the outside is also essential. Use mild dish soap and a soft sponge or cloth to clean the exterior surface.

If there are stubborn stains or grease on the outside, you can make a paste using baking soda and water. Gently scrub the affected areas of the Dutch Oven with the paste using circular motions until the stains are removed. Rinse thoroughly with warm water and wipe dry.

Final Wash & Rinse

Once you have removed the food residue and stains, give your Dutch Oven a final wash. Fill the Dutch Oven pot with warm water and a small amount of dish soap. Use a sponge or soft cloth to wash the inside thoroughly, paying attention to every nook and cranny.

Rinse the Dutch Oven with clean water to remove any soap residue. Ensure that you rinse it well, as soap residue can affect the flavor of your future meals. Proper rinsing also helps prevent the formation of soap scum.

Dry Completely Before Storing

After the final rinse, use a clean cloth or paper towel to wipe down the Dutch Oven, both inside and outside. Ensure that the Dutch Oven is completely dry before storing it to prevent the growth of mold or rust.

Allow the Dutch Oven to air dry naturally, or place it in a warm oven for a few minutes to speed up the drying process. Once dry, store it in a clean and dry location, preferably with a lid slightly ajar to allow proper airflow.

Dutch Oven care and use

Cleaning your Dutch Oven is a straightforward process requiring little time and care. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can maintain the cleanliness and longevity of your Dutch Oven, ensuring that it serves you well for years to come.


What is the best way to clean a Dutch oven?

The best way to clean a Dutch oven is by washing it with warm water and mild dish soap after every use. Avoid using harsh detergents or metal scouring pads as they can damage the surface. Dry it thoroughly to prevent rust.

Can I put my Dutch oven in the dishwasher?

It’s not recommended to put a Dutch oven, particularly cast iron ones, in the dishwasher. The intense heat and harsh detergents can strip away the seasoning and cause the oven to rust. Some enamel-coated Dutch ovens may be dishwasher-friendly, but always check the manufacturer’s instructions.

How do I remove burnt food from my Dutch oven?

To remove burnt food, fill the Dutch oven with water, add a bit of dish soap, and simmer for about 15-20 minutes. Afterward, let it cool, then scrape off the residue gently with a non-abrasive scrubber.

How can I get rid of rust in my Dutch oven?

If your Dutch oven has rusted, you can remove it by scrubbing with a mixture of vinegar and salt. After scrubbing, rinse thoroughly and re-season the oven.

Do I need to season my Dutch oven after cleaning it?

If you have a cast iron Dutch oven, yes, you should season it after each cleaning to maintain its non-stick surface and prevent rust. Enamel-coated Dutch ovens don’t require seasoning.