How Can I Remove a Hard Water Stain on Enameled Cast Iron?

This question is from the comments on How to Clean Stained Enameled Cast Iron

Q: I just used my Tramontina dutch oven for the first time to attempt to cook some peas. Steam from the simmering beans condensed and ran down the outside of the pot and left what looks like hard water stains. No amount of scrubbing will remove them. Any advice on what to do would be highly appreciated.

The inside was another story. It cleaned up beautifully. Bar Keepers Friend was used on the inside and outside.

A: I would have tried Bar Keeper’s Friend first, too. Did you use the same technique on the outside as the inside? I only ask because it’s an easy thing to miss. Did the outside get cleaned with the BKF for the same amount of time or did you spend the majority of the time working on the inside where it’s easier to clean/soak?

If not, give it one more chance, but be sure to rinse it thoroughly.

If a little more effort didn’t make a difference, it’s time to change tactics. Since an acid didn’t work to remove the stain on your dutch oven, your next step is to try a base that is probably hanging out in your cupboards. 

Make a paste of baking soda and water, apply it to the stain and then use a nylon scrubber or a scrubby sponge to remove the paste. Rinse well.

You’ll often see it recommended to make a paste of vinegar and baking soda. That’s more of a fun science project than useful trick. Adding vinegar to the baking soda creates a reaction that makes a neutral salt. If you use a lot of vinegar, you’re still using an acid and if you use a little, you’re just using a weaker base. 

If the stain is still there, it’s time to call the manufacturer for further advice. 

Best of luck!

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