How to Clean Rancid Iron Dutch Ovens

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Things You'll Need

  • Mild dish-washing detergent

  • Plastic scraper or stiff nylon brush

  • Soft, dry cloth

  • Fine-grit sandpaper or steel wool

  • Solid vegetable shortening or vegetable oil

  • Small microwave-safe dish

  • Paper towels

  • Aluminum foil

Iron dutch ovens are useful for campfires or cooking for a lot of people.

Iron dutch ovens are large pots with a lid made of cast iron. They are useful in cooking soups or stews and other items at home or even cooking over a campfire. Improper care and cleaning can cause the iron dutch oven to develop a rancid or metallic taste that transfers to the foods you prepare in the pot. Cleaning the dutch oven properly and re-seasoning it will make it look new again and get rid of the rancid taste.


Step 1

Wash the iron dutch oven with hot water, a mild dish-washing soap and a plastic scraper or stiff nylon brush.

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Step 2

Scrub any rusted or discolored areas or pits on the surface with the sandpaper or steel wool.

Step 3

Rinse the dutch oven with hot water and dry it thoroughly with a soft, dry cloth.

Step 4

Melt about a 1/4 cup of solid vegetable shortening in the microwave for a 10 to 30 seconds until it liquefies. You can use vegetable oil if you don't have the solid shortening.


Step 5

Spread a thin layer of the melted vegetable shortening or oil over the inside and outside surfaces of the dutch oven and lid with a paper towel.

Step 6

Preheat the oven to 350 to 400 degrees F.


Step 7

Tear off a sheet of aluminum foil and place it on the lowest rack in your oven. This catches any drips from the oil.

Step 8

Place the dutch oven and lid on the top rack of your oven upside down.


Step 9

Bake the seasoned dutch oven and lid for one hour. Turn the oven off and leave the items inside until they are cool to the touch.

Step 10

Rub a thin layer of the melted shortening or oil over the cooking surface on the inside of the pot and bring it halfway up the sides.

Step 11

Place a paper towel in between the lid and pot and store it in a cool, dry area. This helps prevent rust in the future.


Never wash your iron dutch oven with any kind of detergent unless you are getting ready to re-season it. Wash it after each use with only hot water and a plastic scraper or stiff nylon bristle brush. Use a soft cloth to dry it. Letting the iron dutch oven air dry may cause it to rust again.

Remove stuck-on food from the dutch oven by putting about 1 cup of water in it and boiling the pot for a few minutes to loosen the residue.


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