As I am writing this post, I am recovering from an Achilles tendon repair surgery. (You can read more about that story here.) I have been anxious to bust out of the house for a little while, and my #1 request was to head to the closest thrift shop for some treasure hunting!


Thift Find!

During my brief shopping trip, I was very excited to find the Instant Dutch Oven Slow Cooker that is sold exclusively at Williams Sonoma. It was priced $9.99 at the thrift store. The regular retail price online is $229.95! How is that for 95% off?!? And look at this picture! Isn't she a beauty?

Product Image and Product Link: Williams Sonoma Web Site

Is There Anything Wrong With It?

As with many thrift purchases, the lid was taped closed, so I could not check the condition of the cast iron pot while in the store. I also could not check to see if the device was working as expected. Thankfully, there is a 14-day return policy on electronic goods, so I had plenty of time to test it at home.

As soon as I was home, I ripped the tape to unveil the inside of the cast iron pot. It was mildly stained, especially around the top edges. I also tested the electronic components, and everything seemed to be working perfectly.


Removing Stains from a Dutch Oven with Water/Bleach Mixture

I was determined to remove the stains from this Dutch oven! After doing a little internet research, I placed the pot in the kitchen sink and filled it with 6 quarts of water. I then mixed 3 teaspoons of bleach in the water. The internet articles encouraged me that, after 12-24 hours, the water/bleach solution would return the pot to a sparkly white condition. Fingers crossed!



Fast-forward about 18 hours later. When I lifted the lid, I was greeted with streaky red water! I immediately thought “rust.” Yep! I had not noticed the night before, but now it was quite visible that the lid of this Dutch oven had some minor rusting on it. Even minor rusting on a pan lid would certainly stop you from using the pan/lid because who wants rust mixed with their dinner?!?

Oh, and I really do not think that the water/bleach mixture did much to help with the stains that were inside the pot. I resorted to scrubbing these spots with a little bit of Bar Keeper's Friend Cleanser on a cloth. That removed the existing stains, but I still had to figure out a solution for the newly discovered rust problem.


Rust on the Rim of the Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven

A few quick Google searches later, I found this very helpful article: Can Enameled Cast Iron Cookware Rust?

The tricky thing with cast iron dishware is that the rims of many pans are left bare. The article warns that “if left unseasoned and exposed to moisture for extended periods of time, these rims can rust.” BINGO! I think this is the problem with my lid. If you look closely at the picture of the rim, you’ll see that rust appears on the bare non-enameled part of the lid.


Removing Rust from the Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven

I was convinced that this problem could be solved!

First, I had to clean any rust from the pot and lid. I scrubbed most of the rust away with a sponge, but I could still see a little bit of leftover rust. I resorted to using some super fine (#0000) steel wool to remove the leftover bits.

This part was so easy and satisfying!


Preventing Any Future Rust on Enameled Dutch Oven Cookware

Once I was confident that the rust was removed, it was time to protect the bare rims of the dutch oven in hopes of preventing future issues with rust. Thankfully, the helpful Can Enameled Cast Iron Cookware Rust? article included a video link from Pajama Mama that details the process of seasoning the rims of an enameled cast iron dutch oven. (Video below.)



I followed the instructions in the video exactly!

  • I applied grapeseed oil around the rim of the pot and the rim of the lid.

  • I wiped off any grapeseed oil drips.

  • I then placed the lid and pot upside down in a 350° F oven and set a timer for 60 minutes.

  • After an hour, I removed the pot and lid from the oven and placed them on the countertop to cool.

  • After the pot and lid were cool to the touch, I began removing any oil spots. This was my least favorite part of the project! It took me about 30 minutes of using a scrub sponge to return my white dutch oven to a clean condition. I wish that I had tried a magic eraser during this step to see if it would be more successful than a scrub sponge. My internet research (after the fact) indicates that a magic eraser can be used on enameled cookware for cleaning.


The Final Test

At this point in the process, I was 90% confident that I had solved the problem! I had to perform one final test to ensure that I would not have any leftover rust drippings in my next slow cooker meal. ☺️

  • I placed the dutch oven in the Instant slow cooker device.

  • I then put about three quarts of water in the dutch oven.

  • I turned the slow cooker on and set the timer for four hours.


The goal of this experiment was to see if any rust would appear on the lid or to see if something gross would drip into the water while "cooking" on high heat. The experiment was successful! After the four-hour slow cooking cycle, there was no sign of rust on the lid or in the water.