Love your Dutch Oven and want it to last forever. Read our comprehensive guide on how to clean this kitchen essential here.
So you’re a proud owner of a Dutch Oven? This incredible cookware has been grabbing everyone’s attention for a long while now, and it is certainly a must-have for every kitchen.
Just like with any cookware or item that you own, the key to keeping it around for as long as possible is by taking care of it. One of the biggest culprits of cookware with a short lifespan: cleaning it incorrectly. Are you interested in learning how to clean your Dutch Oven so that it sticks around for a long time?
Read on for a comprehensive guide.
What Is a Dutch Oven?
Before diving into the specifics of how you should clean a Dutch Oven, we should go over what the cookware is and the types that are out there, especially since that can determine what to avoid when cleaning it.
A Dutch Oven is a heavy cooking pot that often comes with two handles and a lid and can hold over five quarts of food. They operate in a similar way to instant pots, except that they aren’t electric. Dutch Ovens are extremely versatile. They are designed for a variety of cooking methods, including browning, simmering, and braising; it's no surprise that they are so well-loved.
If you have heard of or seen Dutch Ovens before, the one that you might be familiar with is a cast-iron Dutch Oven. However, there are other (and better) options available, including ceramic Dutch Ovens.
Here, we highlight some of their qualities and why it’s important to be mindful of the ways that you clean them.
Cast Iron vs. Ceramic
Cast iron Dutch Ovens tend to be a go-to for a lot of people because they are affordable and durable. That being said, a major downfall is that they don’t have non-stick quality.
With cast iron, though, you would need to reseason periodically to maintain this barrier and make the cooking product less difficult. They also require a careful cleaning process so as not to exacerbate the seasoning process while making sure stuck food fully falls off.
Ceramic Dutch Ovens are a little easier to maintain; they do not need to be seasoned to create a barrier.
Of course, some cast iron Dutch Ovens come with a layer of a hard, non-stick enamel coating. While this option wouldn’t require you to re-season your cookware every so often, the better and healthier alternative would be to go with ceramic instead.
At Caraway, our Dutch Oven comes with a non-stick ceramic coating. This is significantly better than an enameled cast iron one. With cast iron or metal materials, you don’t know exactly what chemicals are being used, which can end up posing a health hazard.
Our ceramic cookware is completely non-toxic and free of PTFE, PFOA, PFAS, lead, cadmium, and forever chemicals. The ceramic provides a natural slick surface that, just like enameled cast iron Dutch Ovens, reduces friction and prevents food from sticking—just without the harmful chemicals and the constant need to reseason.
While one material is more likely to naturally maintain its non-stick quality than the other, taking care of the cookware is extremely important to ensure its longevity and functionality.
Excessive scrubbing, for example, can result in scratches that can negatively affect the non-stick quality. The caution and gentleness that you put into cleaning and caring for your Dutch Oven can make or break how long it remains in use in your kitchen.
How To Clean a Ceramic Dutch Oven
So then, how exactly should you clean a Dutch Oven? Like we mentioned before, gentleness is a key player in keeping your cookware around for as long as possible.
This doesn’t just mean scrubbing lightly but also taking a closer look at the products you are using to clean it. For example, a general rule of thumb is to avoid cleaning Dutch Ovens with a dishwasher.
For the cast-iron Dutch Ovens, even the ones with enamel, a dishwasher could cause your cookware to rust or lose its seasoning (and, therefore, its non-stick ability). Plus, there is no reason to run ceramic cookware through the dishwasher; warm water and dish soap are all you need.
Let’s go over how to clean a Dutch Oven. It’s important to note that these cleaning instructions are for ceramic cookware. The process for cleaning another material, such as cast iron, would be quite different.
Follow these steps to clean your Caraway Dutch Oven:
1. Wipe Down Your Dutch Oven
After you use any kitchen utensil, like a bowl, plate, or spoon, it’s best to clean it sooner rather than later so that food doesn’t dry up and stick to them. For this same reason, it’s a good idea to wipe down your Dutch Oven after you’re done using it.
This simple pre-cleaning process can be done using a dry paper towel. If you find that some of the food has already started to harden, you can also use a moist paper towel followed by a dry one. That way, the residue can loosen up, and your cookware can thoroughly be wiped down.
2. Soak the Cookware
When cooking with messier or stickier foods, you might find that there is a little excess residue left over. In those cases, you need something stronger than just a paper towel.
Soaking your Dutch Oven with warm water is a great way to break those stubborn bonds. This can be done in multiple ways, but for ceramic cookware, we recommend simmering soapy water on low heat and gentle scrubbing with a sponge.
From there, you can rinse and repeat as needed until the residue has loosened up.
3. Warm Water and Dish Soap
The cleaning process for your Dutch Oven is actually quite easy, and it saves you both time and water. To keep your cookware in optimal condition, all you need is some warm water, dish soap, and a gentle sponge or cloth.
It’s important to make sure that your sponge or cloth is specifically non-abrasive, as that can help prevent scratches to the surface. Non-abrasive cloths and sponges have a gentler touch to them than steel wool, for example. Non-abrasive cloths get the job done without compromising the non-stick coating.
A sponge combined with warm soapy water is all you really need to achieve a spotless Dutch Oven that looks good as new. Once it has been cleaned thoroughly, make sure to dry it fully with a soft or paper towel before storing it away until its next use.
Cleaning the Dutch Oven with a non-abrasiveness sponge is just half of the equation to keep the surface pristine. The other part is how you store your cookware. Storing your cookware properly plays a key role in ensuring that no damage is caused to it. After all, if you put in the effort to protect it in the cleaning process, you might as well continue it now.
Our Cookware Set comes with two storage units: a Magnetic Pan Rack and a Canvas Lid Holder. These kitchen tools can help store your cookware in a more organized way than tossing it into a cabinet. It provides easy and convenient access without the fear of damage to your new kitchen beauty!
Squeaky Clean and Ready To Go
Cleaning a Dutch Oven can be just as simple as using one.
With just a few mindful cleaning steps, your cookware is sure to be squeaky clean and ready to go for another round of cooking in no time.