How to Clean Discolored Enamel Cookware?

Enamel cookware is quite versatile in what it does. And it also provides you with an excellent experience while making sure that there’s no risk to your health, even with extended usage.

While enamel coatings ensure that your cookware is all clean and free of leaching, it might need some cleaning itself. Especially if you have been using your cookware for a while, you might even find that they look discolored and somewhat stained.

Well then, how to clean discolored enamel cookware? The task might seem daunting depending on what you have been doing with the cookware and how long you haven’t done any cleaning. But don’t worry, for we’ll get everything squeaky clean.


Types of Enamel Cookware

enamel cookware

Before you get to know how you can clean your cookware, let’s talk about which products count as enamel cookware and whether yours counts as one. As you might know, the enamel on these products is a form of glass.

And essentially, this category of cookware has one thing in common – a hardened layer of enamel on them. That means any products that have this bit would be a part of this list.

Therefore, if you have a cast iron with an enamel layer on top, you can follow this guide. Or if you own something like an enamel pot or Dutch oven, you can also use this as a reference. That said, let’s move on.


Discoloration – The Why and How

Let’s get something cleared up at this point – discoloration isn’t an uncommon thing with this kind of cookware. Moreover, these things can even last for decades, so it’s not unexpected that you would need to do some cleaning.

And the enamel coating is not a layer of paint, so there’s no need to worry if you see that beautiful pot slightly losing its color. You can effortlessly clean things up with a bit of work without harming the beautiful finish.


How to Clean Discolored Enamel Cookware

cleaning up enamel cookware

Before we apply any method to get rid of the discoloration, there’s a task you need to go through regardless of your preferred method. And that is cleaning things up, so get a sponge that doesn’t have anything too abrasive and scrub the cookware (e.g., nylon).

Ensure that you don’t use something too abrasive – for instance, a metal spoon, as it might damage the enamel if you are not careful. If you have a stubborn stain, you could use a wooden spoon to scrape it off without harming anything.

And if it still doesn’t work, consider leaving some warm water in it or putting it on the stove (with water in it, of course; we don’t want to make things worse). This bit might help you get it off much more effortlessly.


Non-Abrasive Options

The term abrasive means that the solution might contain some coarse material to get those stubborn stains off with ease. But you need to ensure that you’re not going overboard with things.

Moreover, if the stains aren’t that hard to remove in the first place, there is no need to opt for the coarse options. That’s why we will first try to get things done with the comparatively non-abrasive options.

Salt and Lemon Juice

A popular way to clean many kitchen appliances and cookware is using lemon juice. Thanks to the slightly acidic property of this juice, stains often come off quite effortlessly. Another option is vinegar, which does a pretty good job as well.

  • Therefore, you could first try by simply pouring some water and boiling it with vinegar or lemon juice. This procedure alone can cause weak stains to loosen up, which might be enough in some cases.
  • If that step doesn’t do the trick and you can’t scrub the stain off yet, then we are going to move on to using a combination of lemon juice and salt. Throw in some salt on the area that has the stains at first.

Once you have done that, squeeze some lemon juice onto that portion. Doing this will result in a slightly coarse solution, and you can probably see where this is going.

  • Get a piece of cloth or a sponge at this point and start scrubbing that area. Now, this might require quite a bit of elbow grease, but it’s certainly worth the effort. You can also try leaving the solution right there for a few hours.

That’s it. You can try going over this method a few times to get the best results. But don’t worry if it isn’t enough to get rid of all the discoloration and stains since we have a few more tricks up our sleeve.


Baking Soda

Anyone that has done some cleaning with their cookware probably saw this coming from miles away. Baking soda is surprisingly effective for ‘healing’ the discoloration issues caused by even years of usage. Let’s get to the cleaning step, then.

  • We will first resort to our usual part – boiling some water on the pan or pot you will clean. Once you have done that, add a few tablespoons of baking soda, depending on the product’s size.
  • Afterward, leave the water in there for one or two hours. Once the time is up, see if that did the job and whether the stains are coming off somewhat quickly. If that does not do the job and you are still having a hard time getting rid of the discoloration, try the next step.
  • At this point, we are going to perform the same paste method as the lemon juice and salt step. As you can probably guess, we first need to put some baking soda near the discolored or stained area. And then, add in a little bit of water to create a thick solution.
  • Take a piece of cloth or sponge and start scrubbing until your pan or pot is all cleaned up. Yes, we are back to the elbow grease portion, but we cannot avoid that at this point. And you might need to scrub that area for a while.
  • Since the paste is not abrasive, you can try adding a little salt to the solution. This bit will add some coarseness to the paste, which might come in handy to get the stains off more effortlessly.

And that’s the whole method. When it comes to combating discoloration issues, this is one of the handiest techniques. And not only is it convenient, but you can also get through the whole process without spending much money or going out of the house to get the ingredients.

Watch the following video tutorial to learn how to clean stained enamel cookware.


Abrasive Solutions

If you don’t want to follow the methods mentioned above, or if they failed to prove sufficient (although that’s not very likely), you can get abrasive cleaners. Essentially, these products will add some coarseness and more aggression to the cleaning method.

Therefore, it is also necessary to know whether or not you are going overboard. It is best to avoid a highly abrasive product, as that might end up doing more harm than good. Hence, ensure that the product is suitable for enamel cookware.

These products might come in the form of creams or powder, depending on which one you buy. And once again, we cannot stress it enough to choose an option labeled as safe for enamel cookware. Let’s talk about the cleaning process then.

  • The cleaning method does not have much to it. If it’s a powder, you might need to turn it into a paste (refer to the product’s instructions). Otherwise, it might need no preparations at all.
  • If there are no preparations required, put the solution on the problem area and start scrubbing. Other than that, leaving the product there for a while might also come in quite handy. So, there’s not a whole lot to learn here.

Abrasive cleaners can come in handy with cleaning your pot or pan, and the only thing you need to ensure is that it’s suitable for products with enamel.


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Things to Keep in Mind

While the process of cleaning itself is pretty simple, there are a few things that you should keep in mind. These tiny points might save you some extra bit of work in the future as well.

Don’t Procrastinate

The first thing to remember – you should not wait too long before cleaning your enamel cookware properly. If you wait too long without cleaning and let the stains build-up, it might get more and more challenging to get rid of.

And that same principle applies to discoloration, too, as you can imagine. Therefore, try to clean it before it gets too stained. But then, don’t get worried about cleaning too frequently either.


Scrubbing Is a MUST

Another bit that you should keep in mind is that you might need to go through quite a bit of scrubbing to rid yourself of the discoloration or stains. So, don’t worry if it seems like you can’t get them off at first.

Make sure that you are not using a scrubber or solution that’s way too abrasive. The enamel coating on your cookware is surprisingly durable, but there’s a limit to how much it can sustain without taking any damage.


Avoid Drastic Temperature 

When using your cookware, try not to introduce it to extreme changes in temperature. This tip might come in handy to extend the lifetime of the product.


Final Words

Enamel cookware is vastly renowned for its durability and ability to ensure there are no reactions to the food or issues like leaching. And therefore, they last for years without a problem, which also means cleaning them would be necessary at some point.

If you have been asking how to clean discolored enamel cookware, the guide above is your friend. Not only will it help you maintain the looks of that beautiful pot or pan, but you will also be able to make sure that you can use it for years without worries.

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