LeCreuset Cookware: Damaged Unrepairable Pieces
DAMAGED LE CREUSET COOKWARE THAT IS USEFUL
vs THAT WHICH ISN'T AND CANNOT BE REPAIRED
Here are a few signs of damage or abuse for which to check before purchasing or selling used Le Creuset cookware:
Excessive or deep rusting around the rim of the pot/pan, around the lid or on the exposed cast iron on the underside/stove side of the cookware. Thick rust will be visible on cookware that has set for a long time in water or been stored unprotected in humid conditions. Under no circumstances should the rust be treated with WD-40 or any commercial rust removal. None of these products are intended for use with cookware or on any surface that comes in contact with food. Before you buy a rusted piece, contact Le Creuset and ask what they would recommend to treat or remove rust on their cast iron products.
Deep scratches in the enamel coating. Some scratching on older cookware is normal. But, the scratches should not be so deep that the grey cast iron is exposed or the enamel chipping off. Careful Le Creuset owners understand that both the inside and outside enamel surfaces are vulnerable and will take care not to store pieces inside of one another without some type of separation. Personally, I use felt sheets. But, a sheet of unbleached or bleached parchment paper large enough to protect all interior surfaces will also work in a pinch. You can find pot/pan separators here on eBay or in your local discount store.
Shiny light gray or silver-y looking marks on the enameled flat inside cooking surface. Light grey or silvery-looking marks are left behind whenever metal utensils are used with this cookware. The booklet which accompanies their cookware tells one specifically not to use metal utensils, ever. I've seen cooks do it on tv and so, I bet, have you. These marks can also be the result of stacking the pieces on top of each other with no protective pad/sheet in between. But, as long as the enamel is still intact, these marks will not affect the usability of the pot/pan.
Excessive accumulation of cooking grease outside where the enamel meets the cast iron on the bottom. The pot has not been cleaned regularly. Just as a carpenter respects his tools and keeps them clean and sharp, a cook who respects their cookware will keep it clean. The manufacturer includes cleaning instructions with the pots and has them on their website. I've used a product called "Sokoff" to dissolve the built up grease and dirt on the outside of used pieces. It did not damage the enamel.
Dark grey, dark brown or blackened areas on the enamel cooking surface inside. The pot has been burned and food residue scorched into the surface. These marks cannot be removed by cleaning or polishing. It does not look good. But, as long as the enamel is intact and not crazed the pot can be used. Use this pot with recipes that require oil. Otherwise, your food will stick.
Dark brown stain in a circular pattern on the inside flat cooking surface. This pan/pot was used repeatedly on over-high heat, burned and the enamel is now scorched. These marks can not be removed by cleaning, scrubbing or polishing. The pan is permanently marred. If you examine the enamel coating over the cast iron and it is crazed (tiny cracks on the surface that adjoin and overlap each other) the enamel will eventually bubble up and peel off in those spots.
Pockmarks, crazing, peeling, bubbling on the cooking surface or areas where the enamel coating is faded or missing and the cast iron is exposed. Watch for this inside of skillets/pans coated with Glissemail, (a glossy grey interior enamel coating) or the non-stick coating (used primarily in the 80's and early 90's). This is also a sign that the pot/or skillet has been burned or scorched. Once the enamel surface is scorched, it will eventually bubble up and peel off. Le Creuset told me that there is nothing that can be done to correct that condition other than to sand off/remove the enamel coating entirely and season the pan as if it were regular cast iron. Otherwise, every time you cook, you will get flakes of the coating or enamel in your food. This condition does NOT show in a photo. You need to ask and hope that the seller is savvy about Le Creuset cookware, honest enough to recognize this condition and be truthful with you.
Dullness on the flat inside cooking surface but the sides are still glossy. If the original enamel coating on the inside was glossy and that shine is now gone, the pot/pan was used on high heat or repeatedly scrubbed with an abrasive cleaner. The natural non-stick property of the enamel is gone. Once the gloss is gone, it can not be restored except by re-enameling. Use this pot with recipes that require oil. Otherwise, your food will stick.
White waterfall marks on the outside enamel running from top to bottom. This pot/pan has been the victim of what I call a "boil-over." If you look carefully, the marks form a pattern that look like a waterfall. Someone using the pot allowed food/ liquid in it to boil over and run down the outside of the hot pan, did not clean it promptly and now those marks are permanently set into the enamel. They can never be removed. They will not clean or polish out. The pot is still usable. But, it does not look good - on the stove top or if you store your pots by displaying them on a wall.
Fading of the color of the enamel on the pot/pan. Pot or pan has been used excessively on high heat. Check the inside enamel carefully to make sure that it is intact and not peeling, crazed, pockmarked or otherwise showing signs of permanent damage.
Chipping off, missing pieces or gouges in the enamel on the outside. Pot or pan has been dropped, bumped against a hard surface or repeatedly rubbed against other cast iron pots. Sometimes, second quality pieces come this way from the factory. And, if so, the chip is usually lightly covered with porcelain. Accidents do happen and the enamel on a first quality Le Creuset piece can be damaged while in transit to a store or warehouse. But, a lot of chips or gouges in the enamel could indicate improper care or storage.
Cracks, breaks in the pot/pan. Pot or pan has been dropped forcefully or from a great height. You cannot use it for cooking but, it can be used for some other creative use that does not require a leak proof vessel.
I spoke with a representative from Le Creuset who told me that badly damaged Le Creuset cannot be used for cooking unless one removes the porcelain coating entirely, down to the original cast iron and then seasons it appropriately. They cannot repair damaged porcelain and no one, that i could find, specializes in re-coating their cookware.
For more information about Le Creuset cookware, visit their website "https://www. lecreuset-usa.com" . It has their warranty, some use and care information and current colors and styles. Be sure to read my other discontinued e-bay articles with tips for caring and storing LeCreuset cast iron cookware. (c) 2010-present. -- Blessings from a Le Creuset lover/user.
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Tags: Damaged Le Creuset cookware, LeCreuset pots pans that cannot be repaired