Soap, Water, Dutch Ovens

Cooking with a dutch oven is one of my most favorite past times. There is nothing better than a dutch oven peach cobbler or dutch oven ribs. I know you're mouth must be watering already. However, this article isn't going to be focused on how to cook tasty meals, the main focus of this article is to let you know what to do with your dutch oven after the cooking. In other words, I'm going to give you a few ideas on what needs to be done in order to ensure that your cast iron dutch oven can be used for many more times without becoming rusted and useless.

Cleaning a dutch oven is done in a variety of ways. Some people try to burn them out. Some clean them with salt and others wash them out with only water. Don't you dare try to clean my dutch ovens though, unless you just use soap and water.

I know, you are probably saying to yourself, "This can't be right, I've heard that water makes your dutch ovens rust and using soap ruins all of the seasoning!". I'm going to inform you on a true story about this: About 20 or so years ago, I attended a presentation about Dutch ovens given by an old cowboy. He had used Dutch ovens on the range as he herded cattle. He told about sheepherders who took a dutch oven on their trip to bake their tasty food. He said that they had 2 reasons to bring along a dutch oven; for both cooking and cleaning. They would leave it on the fire to heat up the water. Right after, they would do their dishes right in the dutch oven and they used soap. Now this is the key. After they finished doing that, they would take the dutch oven and grease it all up so that it would be ready to be used for the next time they needed it.

Now, let's say you don't have any water and still are certain you are going to clean the dutch oven. What do you do? If it was me, I would probably try to burn it out, if not, you can always try to rub salt in it.

Now, if you ever let someone borrow your dutch oven, make sure you tell them how you want it cleaned! I learned the hard way with this one. In fact, my dutch oven was nearly ruined by the people I let borrow it. They tried to burn it out because they weren't sure if I would be okay with them using soap and water. What a horrible consequence! I nearly had to bury my dutch oven and never see it again. Nevertheless, I worked long and hard to get the yucky black charcoaled mess out of it. After a few hours of endless torment I was able to get it back to a fairly good condition. Well, at least it was good enough to cook in again.

Many people prefer salt, including an old friend of mine. His Dutch ovens are terrible looking and he spends lots of time burning out the rust before he can use them.

When I am done cleaning my dutch ovens they are good to look at and store free of rust, ready for my next campout. I have restricted myself to using the old cowboy way. I heat water right into the dutch oven. By heating water in the dutch oven you can allow for easier cleaning of the dutch oven itself. No more hassle with stuck food, the hot water and steam should take it right off. Of course you should remember to leave the lid on so that the steam can't escape and the inside of the dutch oven remains moist. Then comes the most important part; the oil.

You should lightly oil it by using a paper towel and rubbing it into the cast iron. By doing so, you eliminate any chance it has of becoming rusted and it will be ready for your use anytime you need it.

Sometimes I have also stored a sheet of paper towel inside to absorb any moisture that may happen to come along.

This way has worked wonders for me. My dutch ovens have lasted a lot longer than those of the people I know. Don't you want the same for you? Whether it be over a fire or a gas camping stove, this method will always work..

So there you have it. Whether you knew it already or not, soap and water is the only right way for cleaning a dutch oven. The only thing you have to worry about when using this method is that the oven is always dry and oiled when it is stored away. That is the biggest secret. If you forget to oil it, well, good luck and don't come asking me to help clean it.

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About The Author, M.a. Luke
M.A. Luke is an independent writer for ioVentures, Inc. Find the most durable dutch ovens at DutchOvenPro. They also have a large selection of camping stoves and cast iron cookware.