How to Clean Discolored Enamel Cookware?

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A common misconception people have with enamel cookware is that they’re mostly useless once they’ve discolored or started to show stains. But they can surely be brought back to their old state, looking like a new one. Knowing how to clean discolored enamel cookware isn’t that hard though.

We’ll talk about some tips you can follow to fix the discoloration of enamel cookware in this guide. Also, we’ll talk about some factors that cause discoloration and stains. Once you know all these, you’ll get a clear idea of how to use and maintain your enamel cookware in the best way possible.

But before we talk about cleaning ideas, it’s a good idea to know what enamel is and how it is composed in metal cookware.

A Brief about Enamel Cookwares

You’ve noticed that enamel is not actually an element itself. The enamel pots you see are actually made of metal. And the enamel is just a layer on the outside. At least that’s what it seems, right? This isn’t wrong yet not totally correct either.

The coating isn’t unlike other metal coatings that are simply sprayed or painted on. Enamel coating consists of porcelain, ceramic, and a mixture of glass. All three elements are fused into one and applied to the metal body of the cookware.

Because the enamel is after all just a coating on the metal, it can get stained and scratched with use. This is normal, and the marks don’t mean the pot is damaged or has gotten old. It’s just that the pot won’t look good anymore. The damage you see is only on the enamel coating and not inside the metal underneath.

All that is needed is to maintain the pot well and remove the strong stains to make it look new. Let’s talk about how to do that.

How to Clean Discolored Enamel Cookwares?

You should try to maintain regular cleaning works with your enamel pots to get the best cleaning results. The less often you clean a pot, the stronger the stains will get, and that’s how your cleaning task gets complicated and time-consuming.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is quite strong and works similarly to commercial cleaning agents. If you don’t have any cleaners at hand, baking soda can be a good, solid alternative.

But know this: only use baking soda when the stains are tough. Don’t consider this as a regular cleaning solution or an alternative to sponge cleaning.

To start with – take the pan or the pot you want to clean. Pour water on it and start boiling. Once the water has been boiling for some time, turn the heat off. Mix some baking soda in the water and let it rest for a while. The baking soda, along with hot water, will quickly soften up even the hardest of stains.

Once the water has cooled up enough, pour it down. Now scrub the cookware thoroughly with a soft sponge. This should be enough for most of the stains.

If even after scrubbing for some time, the stains don’t seem to come off, then you need some thicker mixture. Make a baking soda and water paste and coat the enamel up with this mixture. Let the mixture stay and dry off. Then repeat the scrubbing. If the previous step wasn’t enough, this one should likely be.

What you have to know is you’re using soda to create a thick, harsh mixture to remove the stain marks. But you might be thinking that adding metal scrubbers will make the scrubbing much better, right? You’re right. It’s going to be super harsh that it’s going to take the enamel layer off of the metal. Don’t do it.

One alternative idea you can follow is to use a laundry detergent instead of baking soda. Some people like to use it, and it’s known to be quite useful with enamel. This is a hacky idea, and you can try it yourself.

Lemon and Salt Mix

Lemon is acidic, and when it’s combined with salt, it becomes a strong solvent that can take away super-strong stains.

Follow the same boiling method we mentioned in the baking soda procedure. But instead, use vinegar or lemon juice here. These are similar in their acid levels and will give similar results.

Mix salt and lemon into a paste. Apply the paste to the enamel, and once it has dried up, take a soft sponge and rub the mixture off. Consider this as an alternative to baking soda since you may not have it in your house all the time.

Commercial Cleaning Agents

You’ll realize baking soda cannot clean all the stains. Some stains are going to be super hard, and baking soda will hardly do anything to soften them up. In that case, you can use a commercially available cleaner.

But cleaners come in many forms, and some of them claim to be universally usable, meaning you can use them for many items. How do you choose the right one?

One easy way is to see whether the cleaner is marked safe, especially safe for enamel cookware. Other things you can look for are if it’s moderately acidic, which makes it not too harsh for the enamel coating. Highly acidic cleaners aren’t good to use with enamel cookware as they will damage the metal layer.

Sponge Cleaning

You can use a soft, cloth-based sponge scrubber to clean enamel cookware. Don’t ever use metal scrubbers. They’re good, but since the cookwares are made of metal too, scrubbing will rub off the skin from the cookware.

Also, the less you use metal spoons with enamel pans, the better. Basically, the less metal to metal contact you can ensure here, the longer the enamel layer will stay in shape. Use plastic, wood, or other spoon types with enamel pans or pots.

When it comes to scrubbing, look for the stain type. If there are stuck or burnt food particles left on the pot, then don’t try to rub them off immediately. You might damage the enamel coating if you force too hard on the coating.
What you can do is fill up your sink with water and let the pot stay for some time. The harder the stain, the longer you should let it soak. There’s no fixed timing here. Once the burnt food has softened, it’ll come off easily. By letting the cookware soak in water for some time, you’re making the scrubbing safer for it.

The same procedure should be followed for regular maintenance cleaning as well. Don’t skip cleaning after each use. You’ll allow stains to strengthen, and as a result, the cleaning will take much more time and energy later. The scrubber should be cloth-based. It can be made of soft cotton mixed sponge or soft nylon — not metal.

You can use a soft, cloth-based sponge scrubber to clean enamel cookware. Don’t ever use metal scrubbers. They’re good, but since the cookwares are made of metal too, scrubbing will rub off the skin from the cookware.
Also, the less you use metal spoons with enamel pans, the better. Basically, the less metal to metal contact you can ensure here, the longer the enamel layer will stay in shape. Use plastic, wood, or other spoon types with enamel pans or pots.
When it comes to scrubbing, look for the stain type. If there are stuck or burnt food particles left on the pot, then don’t try to rub them off immediately. You might damage the enamel coating if you force too hard on the coating.
What you can do is fill up your sink with water and let the pot stay for some time. The harder the stain, the longer you should let it soak. There’s no fixed timing here. Once the burnt food has softened, it’ll come off easily. By letting the cookware soak in water for some time, you’re making the scrubbing safer for it.
The same procedure should be followed for regular maintenance cleaning as well. Don’t skip cleaning after each use. You’ll allow stains to strengthen, and as a result, the cleaning will take much more time and energy later. The scrubber should be cloth-based. It can be made of soft cotton mixed sponge or soft nylon — not metal.

Maintaining an Enamel Cookware in Good State

Now that we’ve seen some ways to clean stains from enamel cookware, let’s dive into keeping it in a clean state all the time.

Temperature Change

If you’re taking your enamel pot out of the fringe and putting it on high heat, it won’t live long anyway. Because of the way the enamel composition is created, it can’t handle extreme heat changes in a short period of time. If you need to increase the heat around your cookware, do it slowly. You won’t break the coating this way.

Washing after Every Use

You should try to wash your enamel cookware with warm soapy water after each use. Moreover, you don’t necessarily have to clean it with a sponge scrubber if you let the cookware soak for some time. Basically what causes the stains is the oil residues. Soaking in warm water will remove all the oils and other greasy food parts.

Oil Coating

If you’re about to fry in high heat or cook something for a long time, coat the cookware up with a little amount of oil. This will ensure no food will stick to the enamel layer and, in the process, save the coating from burnt food leftovers.

Using Metal Utensils with Enamel Cookware

Previously we mentioned that you should avoid using metal spoons or other metal-based items with enamel cookware. This isn’t completely true. You can, for sure, use metal spoons and a scrubber with enamel cookware. But you have to be very careful while using them. Don’t put pressure with metal spoons on enamel cookware. The more pressure you put on, the sooner the chipping will start.

Conclusion

Now that you’ve got some ideas about enamel and its safe cleaning methods, how to clean discolored enamel cookware shouldn’t be confusing to you anymore. However, know that even if you take careful measures like the ones mentioned in this guide, you can’t stop enamel from chipping out. It’ll probably be a little later.

But don’t worry. You can still use enamel cookware even after it’s chipped out. The metal underneath will last a long time. Though, it won’t look very nice. But that’s just the aesthetics. Performance-wise, everything will be the same.











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