Avoid thermal shock – you’ll hear this a lot but what does it mean? Essentially, you should protect your pan from sudden changes in temperature – running cold water into a hot pan or taking it out of the oven or off the hob and placing it straight down on a cold surface like a stainless-steel bench top. Cast iron and enamel will expand and contract at different rates under stress (like cold water into a hot pan) and this can cause your enamel to ‘pop’ or come away from the cast iron beneath (and this is irreparable). To guard against this, always allow your pan to cool before washing and use warm water, not cold. When removing your pan from the oven or hob, place onto a wooden chopping board or silicone matt or trivet.
Treat stains as they occur – always clean your pan thoroughly inside and out after use. Fill it with warm water and let it soak for 15 to 20 minutes before washing. Soft nylon abrasive pads or brushes can be used to remove stubborn deposits. To avoid damaging the enamel, never use scourers, wire pads or abrasive cleaners and for tough stains, we recommend Le Creuset’s Pots and Pans Cleaner which will safely remove heat stains, discolouration, grit and grime while preserving and enhancing the shine of the sand coloured enamel. Light stains or metal marks caused by metal tools can be removed with Le Creuset cleaner too. An occasional cleaning with this product will also retain the new appearance of your pan.
Alternatively, you can boil 1 litre of water with one glass of household bleach in the pan, wash in hot soapy water then wipe the surface with a little white vinegar (this will give the interior coating a smooth, shiny surface).
Cleaning in the dishwasher – Le Creuset advises that all their pans with integral cast iron, phenolic handles or stainless steel knobs can be washed in the dishwasher. However, constant dishwashing may lead to some dulling of the enamel finish. This is not harmful and will not impair the performance of your pan however it will affect the ‘showroom shine’ and for this reason we don’t recommend you use your dishwasher for your cast iron often. When using the dishwasher always allow the cycle to finish before opening the door as this will ensure your pan is completely dry before storage.
And finally … enamelled cast iron is extremely durable but it may be damaged or chipped if dropped or knocked against a hard surface. Never use knives and other metal tools in your pan and, of course, avoid potential thermal shock wherever possible.
These pans are versatile investment pieces and most that we stock are warrantied for the lifetime of the purchaser against manufacturing faults – a ringing endorsement from these companies about their confidence of the durability of their pans - you may purchase with confidence knowing that you will pass your favourite cookware down to the next generation!