Cheap off Ebay. Oh I do love a challenge!
How do you fix them?
A very good question. She’s currently sitting outside holding a 1:3 bleach/water mix (Cooks Illustrated’s idea). I’m expecting this to take a couple of days, and I’ll report progress. 7 1/4 quart from pre-1990 for $50. They’re north of $300 new, so I couldn’t resist the temptation!
It all depends the enamel is still there or already gone.
That makes sense
The enamel appears smooth and intact. It’s just stained. No cracks or bare metal that I can detect (yet!). These things are only really bought by people who enjoy cooking, and look after their pans, so it beats me how any keen cook could allow this to happen to such a costly beauty.
A bit of soaking w/ Barkeep with no scrubbing initially. Then a four day soak of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide over low heat each day turned our piece from very dark to light grey inside. Its very useable but not likely to ever be lighter after cleaning going forward.
Great find. I’ll be interested in your success bringing the piece back.
As a veritable “Second Hand Rose”, i have considerable experience with discolored Le Creuset. I have finally put them to use once I’ve determined they are hygenic. Nothing I’ve found takes them back to anything close to new. Just know that they are safe and enjoy.
Baked on grease ON THE OUTSIDE is a different matter, and can be removed with oven cleaner like Oven-Off. Make sure to use lots of newspaper under the pot when spraying and use with proper ventilation.
Did you ever try washing soda on the outside of your Le Creuset? I have a small skillet that I call superpan because I use it constantly. I had pretty good luck cleaning the outside enamel with washing soda and water. Not perfect but much better.
I can’t use oven cleaner because the stuff doesn’t get along with my allergies.
What is washing soda?
Sodium carbonate, which you can read about here. I learned about it last year.
Turns out it’s been in my supermarket cleaning aisle forever. I especially like washing soda for soaking chrome oven racks.
This is after 24 hours in a strong bleach solution. Progress of a sort I suppose. Despite its appearance the surface is smooth, but not glossy. Next for the oven cleaner spray.
I used the bsoda and hperoxide method. It removed the stain but also some of the finish. I have also sent old Le Creuset back to the company and received brand new cookware.
Good to know. How badly the stain/what type of stain/location/etc is what really matters. The company is also an obvious resource for how to address a deep stain. Troubleshooting their own products. I have never gotten a pc replaced due to buying a second hand piece with a deep stain. Good for you!
Note that oven cleaner will remove the small amount of black grease build up on the handles and similar black stuff on the outside of the pot, but will not do anything for the inside enamel wear.
I heard a story like this, someone sent a mail asking how much the company charge to repair a cast iron pot, the company (don’t remember if it was Staub or le Creuset) just sent a brand new pot for free!
I did it this year. You call their number, they give you a case number and you ship your old
one back to them. it took a while but they sent me a new one. I had a wonderful little sauce pan that had a lid which was also a small frying pan. I bought it in the 80s, I think it was the first one I ever owned and I bought it at an outlet. They don’t make that model anymore so they sent me a slightly larger one - still had the nice frying pan lid.
I used to use bleach too. The problem is that the bleach does a good job removing the stain, but also etching the surface. The surface felt different later. It is almost making it worse depending your view.
I don’t think I’ll attack it any more. Oven cleaning spray is still coming off a little discoloured, and I’ve tried a gentle rub with a stainless steel scrunchy scourer. The only weapon I really have left is caustic soda (lye), and that runs the risk of ruining a perfectly useable pot. The outside has come up to an okay look too.
The next thing is to actually cook something in it. I feel an oxtail stew coming on next weekend!