How To Clean A Cast Iron Dutch Oven?

If you have ever wondered how to clean a cast iron Dutch oven, then you are in the right place. However, it can be daunting trying to find the correct information out there. Some people say to never, ever use dish soap.

They will also tell you that you have to re-season with vegetable oil. Finally, you must never use anything abrasive in your pan. However, what if you want to know how to clean a Dutch oven that is rusted? You are going to have a hard time if you believe cheesecloth is going to get rid of rust.

The fact of the matter is, cast iron is tough. Therefore, it can really take a beating. It has for generations with no signs of stopping. So, stop coddling your cast iron cookware and maintain it the easy and correct way.

That’s where this article comes into play. We will show you the best way on how to clean a rusty cast iron dutch oven. This will consist of cleaning off rust and debris from the cooking surface. Followed by, how to re-season a cast iron dutch oven.

It won’t be easy, however, it will be well worth the effort. Finally, we will focus on long-term maintenance of your cast iron Dutch oven. Specifically, how to clean a cast iron dutch oven after cooking.

This is because it is extremely important to thoroughly clean and re-season after each meal. Not only will this create good maintenance habits, but your meals will be of much higher quality. In conclusion, the time and effort you put in today will greatly benefit you and your family for generations.

How To Clean A Cast Iron Dutch Oven – A Brief Summary

If your cast iron Dutch oven is in bad shape and has major rust issues, fear not. That rust you see is more than likely simple surface rust. Which looks a lot worse than it actually is. However, like I said before, you must not be afraid of damaging your cookware. Cast iron can take some serious cleaning and scouring.

So, here is a simple list that breaks down the steps from how to remove rust from cast iron cookware. All the way to the re-seasoning process and beyond. We will first, start with a quick bulleted list followed by a more in-depth look at each step. Keep in mind, that these first few steps are for a badly rusted, badly maintained Dutch oven.

If your cast iron cookware is in good shape and only needs re-seasoning then jump down to the re-seasoning section of this list. It should be noted, that these methods have been tried and tested by T. Edward Nickens from As such, they are his procedures. A very special thanks are in order to him and his wonderful website. Please visit his site for more outdoor cooking and outdoor lifestyle ideas.

How-To-Clean-A-Cast-Iron-Dutch-Oven - picture of Dutch oven cooking over wood fire


How To Clean A Cast Iron Dutch Oven – Removing Rust:

  • Clean all debris from Dutch oven
  • Scrub with hot water and dish soap for 10 minutes
  • Place in oven at 300 degrees for 10 minutes to dry
  • Scrub inside of the pan with 1/4 cup oil and 1 cup coarse Kosher salt
  • Rinse out with water
  • Place 1 cup of white vinegar with 1 quart of water inside the pan
  • Scrub for 5 minutes with a clean cotton towel
  • Rinse pan out thoroughly
  • Place in oven at 450 degrees for 10 minutes to dry
  • Take pan out of the oven and let cool
  • Turn down oven temperature to 300 degrees

Detailed Cleaning Directions:

First, remove any large food particles, carbon deposits, and any other debris from the cooking surface. Then, heat up your Dutch oven to 300 degrees for 10 minutes. After that, let your pan cool enough to barely handle and scrub with a clean cotton cloth with hot soapy water. Next, towel dry, then place in the oven at 300 degrees for 10 minutes to rid the pan of moisture.

Remove the pan from the oven and let cool. Add one-quarter cup of cooking oil of your choice with one cup of coarse Kosher salt to your pan. Next, use a clean, dry cotton cloth to thoroughly scrub oil and salt into the cooking surface. This will act as an abrasive and lubricant all in one mixture. Simply add more oil as needed.

When finished, rinse with water then add one cup of white vinegar with one quart of water to your Dutch oven. Thoroughly scrub with a clean cotton towel for 5 to 10 minutes. Next, rinse your pan and place back in the oven at 450 degrees for 10 minutes to completely dry. Finally, turn down oven temperature to 300 degrees and continue down to the re-seasoning section.

How To Clean A Cast Iron Dutch Oven – Re-seasoning:

  • Heat up the pan to 300 degrees then let cool until still very warm
  • Apply Crisco or similar shortening oil inside of Dutch oven and coat evenly while the pan is still warm
  • Place a cookie sheet on the bottom of the oven to catch excess oil falling from the Dutch oven
  • Place Crisco coated Dutch oven upside down in the oven at 300 degrees for 1 hour
  • Pull out the pan and let cool
  • Remove excess oil from the bottom of the pan
  • Repeat Crisco coating step and place back in the oven upside down at 300 degrees for 1 hour
  • Take out of the oven, and remove excess oil once again
  • Enjoy your newly restored, re-seasoned cast iron Dutch oven

Directions Continued:

After the cleaning process has been performed, the re-seasoning process can begin. This is an incredibly important step in maintaining your cast iron Dutch oven for years to come. If you came directly to this section because your Dutch oven simply needs reasoning, then continue reading.

First, heat your oven to 300 degrees and place your pan in the oven for 10 minutes. Then, take your pan out and let cool until it is somewhat comfortable to hold on to. Your Dutch oven should be warm to slightly hot to the touch. Rub Crisco or your favorite shortening with your fingers into the cooking surface of your pan.

Next, place your pan in the oven at 300 degrees for one-hour upside down. Make sure to place a cookie sheet underneath, to catch the excess oil that melts down from the Dutch oven. Then, remove the Dutch oven and let it cool.

Remove the excess oil from the pan with a clean, dry towel. Finally, repeat this step once more, coating with Crisco and placing it back in the oven for an hour at 300 degrees. Then, wipe out excess oil and enjoy your newly restored cast iron Dutch oven for many meals to come.

How-To-Clean-A-Cast-Iron-Dutch-Oven - picture of a man sturring a Dutch oven over a fire


Some Important Cast Iron Cookware Tips:

There are a lot of common misconceptions about how to properly clean and maintain a cast iron Dutch oven. You also might be wondering how to season a new dutch oven. While most new cast iron Dutch ovens come pre-seasoned from the factory.

It is extremely important that you always re-season your new pan before its first use. There is no telling how long your Dutch oven sat on the shelf. Another common issue is that people are afraid to use dish soap.

While dish soap may eventually strip a lower quality oil coating, a well-seasoned pan can easily take it. On top of that, if your pan is rusty or in disrepair, there is probably not much seasoning left anyway.

Finally, as long as you are always re-seasoning your pan after every wash, you will be fine. Just be sure to never soak your pan in soap or water. You’ll be asking for stripped seasoning and rust issues for sure. With that said, here is a simple list to recap the issues and add some more tips to follow.

  • Dish soap is not always the enemy
  • Use dish soap to clean your rusty, dull cast iron cookware
  • Never soak your cast iron cookware in water or soapy water
  • Always re-season new cast iron cookware before its first use
  • You should always re-season your cast iron before each use
  • Thoroughly dry your cookware after washing

How To Clean A Cast Iron Dutch Oven – Conclusion:

Well, there you have it. Our tips for How To Clean A Cast Iron Dutch Oven. We hope we cleared up some common misconceptions. On top of that, we hope we inspired you to go out and restore your own cast iron Dutch oven.

The benefits will be incredibly rewarding, both to you and your family. If you are interested then you can go to our companion article on How to clean enameled cast iron dutch oven. In this article, you will learn the best practices for ensuring your enameled cookware has an equally long life.

Furthermore, if you are in the market for a top-notch cast iron Dutch oven you may check out our full review of the Lodge L8DD3 Cast Iron Double Dutch Oven.

We would like to thank you for reading our article on How To Clean A Cast Iron Dutch Oven. We know your time is extremely valuable. Our hope is that you gained meaningful knowledge about cast iron Dutch oven cleaning and maintenance.

Cast-iron is one of the greatest cooking materials ever invented. It has been a top favorite with families for generation and will continue to be so for generations to come. Thanks again, have a great day and please take care. One last thing, if you would like to compliment your Dutch oven, check out our article on the 16 Dutch Oven Accessories You Need Right Away. Hope to see you soon.


Our Source:

How to Restore and Season a Cast-Iron Dutch Oven