Enamel has been extremely popular for many centuries, in all sorts of things! One of the most common uses for enamel nowadays is in cookware.
Enamel cookware is fantastic – it’s very durable and has great non-stick properties. However, owners of enamel cookware will know that it can be very susceptible to staining! How can you deal with these stubborn stains?
Enamel Stains – A Real Problem?
Enamel is often thought of as one of the most attractive coatings for cookware. It can come in a wide variety of different colors and is as durable as it is aesthetically pleasing.
It’s an extremely tough glass/ceramic compound that’s actually completely fused to the metal underneath, rather than being simply bonded with an adhesive.
It’s actually expected that enamel will discolor over time, sadly. It doesn’t affect the way your cookware works – so a discolored enamel pan will still get as hot and cook as well as a newer one that hasn’t had a chance to get stained yet.
However, if you remember when your enamel pan was fresh looking, you’re probably missing those days! It’s actually not a huge problem to shift some of those stubborn stains.
However, it’s definitely going to take a little bit of work – but the results should be better than you expect, and it could save you a lot of money buying fresh cookware! So, let’s have a quick look at some ways that you can clean up stubborn stains on your enamel cookware!
The first thing you’ll have to do is scrub, then scrub again, then scrub some more! Enamel stains are one thing, but caked on food is quite another, and therefore before you can even think about cleaning stained enamel you’ll have to make sure that the surface of the cookware is otherwise spotless.
Enamel has great non-stick properties, but over time scratches and small bits of damage to the enamel (even if it can’t be seen at all!) can affect these properties, and as such it’s possible for food to get stuck on the cookware.
Likewise, every so often even a great chef burns something – and aside from the bad taste, it’s doing no favors for your cookware either!
So, after you cook, make sure that you give your enamel cookware a proper clean. Sometimes you have to leave things to soak overnight to make cleaning easier, of course – but the longer that cooked food is left on the enamel surface, the higher the likelihood of an unwanted stain appearing is.
Abrasive cleaners are often the first things many reach for when cleaning enamel. Indeed, they can be absolutely fantastic ways to make sure your enamel cookware gets well cleaned, and stripped of stains!
Before starting, of course, you need to make sure that the cleaner you’re using is appropriate for the cookware you’re trying to clean.
In general, most standard abrasive cleaners for cookware should be totally fine. Don’t be tempted to use something that’s not intended for cleaning cookware, however.
Not only are you running the risk of damaging your pots and pans, but you could also be leaving very dangerous chemical residues on their surface. You don’t want any of this in your food – so make sure only to use appropriate cookware cleaners!
Likewise, avoid anything that’s a really harsh abrasive, such as scouring pads or strong powders. It’s better to live with an unsightly but harmless stain than it is to ruin a perfectly good pan by destroying the enamel with the wrong cleaner!
Simple Home Cleaning Solutions
There are actually a few home solutions that you can try cleaning stained enamel with. Using simple household products that you likely already have, or can easily get, there are things you can do to help clean your stained enamel cookware without using special cleaners.
Of course, home remedies aren’t always the best, but for many people, they work perfectly – and they’re often easier and cheaper to try than buying special products!
Many people have tried using standard liquid laundry detergent to soak their enamel pots and pans! This doesn’t take a long soak – just a few minutes of immersion in hot/boiling water with a small amount of liquid laundry detergent built in can help.
Of course, make sure to only take the pans out of the water once they’re cooled, as you don’t want to hurt yourself in very hot water!
Other people swear by a mixture of lemon juice and salt. The combination of acid and abrasive work much like many store-bought cleaners – and the lemon scent left over is 100% natural too!
Simply sprinkle coarse salt onto the stained cookware, and add enough lemon juice (vinegar can be a substitute, as it’s the acidic quality that we’re looking for) to make a sort of paste. Rub it in with a cloth, and see the results! Leave it on to soak for a while for tougher stains.
As with all things, prevention is far better than solving the problem! The best way to deal with stubborn enamel stains is to make sure that they don’t happen in the first place, of course.
So, make sure to clean (or at least soak) any used cookware as soon as possible. Don’t leave things overnight if you can avoid it at all, as the longer food stays on the enamel, the higher chance of staining.
And, of course, don’t worry too much about stains! They’re unsightly and annoying, but as long as they’re not getting in the way of your cooking, they’re not really a problem at all.
You can’t expect to use tools without some wear and tear, and it’s far better for you to have used cookware that’s made a lot of delicious meals, than it is to baby your pots and pans, never letting them leave the cupboard.
Enamel stains might be a pain, but hopefully, our handy guide has helped you learn how to deal with them! Remember, a little bit of prevention is better than a lot of scrubbing and soaking!