I purchased my first Le Creuset Dutch Oven (5½ quart, or 26 cm) 20 years ago and have used it regularly through the years. As one might imagine, the interior enamel has become quite discolored through use.
The same thing has occurred to my other Le Creuset Dutch Ovens. Although the discoloration doesn’t impact the functionality of the Dutch Oven, it is a bit unsightly.
Over the years, I’ve tried many different approaches to eliminating the discoloration. These approaches included the Le Creuset cleaner, baking soda, vinegar, mixture of baking soda and vinegar, soft-scrub, and a dilute mixture of bleach and water (1 teaspoon of bleach to 2 cups of water as recommended by the manufacturer). Nothing seemed to work.
Then I came across a method from Cooks Country that suggested using a mixture of 1 part bleach to 3 parts water. According to Cooks Country, this ratio of bleach to water was OK’d by the manufacturer. I tried it. It really works!
Given the size of the pan, I ended up using 1 cup of bleach and 3 cups of water. After about a hour, the stains on the bottom were significantly reduced. However, the stains on the sides remained.
I tried swirling the pan, but it seemed obvious that I needed to do something that would allow the bleach/water mixture to actually remain in contact with the sides of the pan. Then it hit me – why not line the sides of the pan with paper towels, and swirl the pan so that the paper towels soaked up some of the solution?
Guess what? It worked! After another hour and 30 minutes, the discoloration was gone. The pan didn’t look quite new, but it did look way better than before. Judge for yourself!