Did you chip the enamel on your Le Creuset dutch oven? Don’t worry! The company has a lifetime warranty policy that is very reasonable and there is a good chance that Le Creuset is going to help you out.
Here’s what to do and what worked for me.
Le Creuset Enamel Basics
Le Creuset dutch ovens are made of iron and then coated in enamel. Enamel is tough but, at the end of the day, it’s a glass-like material that can chip. Just like glass, enamel can be very tough at times and very fragile at others. By following some simple rules (below) you can take advantage of enamel’s strengths while avoiding its weaknesses.
Importantly: Do not use an enamel pot, pan, or dutch oven with a chip in the cooking area! The area with the chip could continue to chip, which means small, sharp pieces of enamel can get in your food. So if you see a chip, stop using the pan and assess the situation.
Le Creuset Lifetime Warranty
Here’s what happened after I mailed in my chipped Le Creuset. I had used it for about 5 years before it chipped.
Le Creuset USA has a limited lifetime warranty on their enamel. What this essentially means is that if the chip was not your fault, they will replace the piece with a new one.
That’s right: it’s a full replacement because enamel cannot be repaired. Eligible warranty claims will be ones where the item was defective or the enamel chipped during normal usage due to wear-and-tear. If you drop a dutch oven or chip it through rough use with a metal utensil then the claim will likely be denied.
How To Use A Le Creuset Warranty
A replacement will involve…
- Filling an RMA ticket
- Getting the replacement approved by a Le Creuset representative
- Sending the item to Le Creuset at your own cost (this will cost you at least $20)
- Getting an inspection of the item
- Waiting for the replacement.
The RMA claim can only be done through the phone: 1-877-CREUSET (877-273-8738).
If your dutch oven’s size, style, or color is no longer made then the company will let you know what options are available. For example the green in our first video was no longer in production so I get Le Creuset my top three color options. Ultimately I received the flame (orange) color from them, in the same size and oval shape that I had originally purchased.
For more about the Le Creuset warranty policy you can check out their site.
How to Extend The Life Of Your Le Creuset (Or Other Enamel Cookware)
If you want to get the maximum life out of your enamel dutch oven, pots, and pans there are some pretty simple rules to follow. These may or may not be worth following for you, as they will make your enamel last longer, but they will also make using enamel products more of a burden.
- Never ever use Brillo or steel wool to clean enamal
- Avoid Scotch-Brite Heavy Duty and other rough scouring pads/sponges. Non-scratch sponges are OK.
- Don’t use metal utensils. Opt instead for wooden or silicone.
- Soak before cleaning
- Avoid using high or maximum heat settings. This is less bad if Le Creuset is filled with water, soup, or another liquid, but generally you want to focus on cooking with low and medium settings. Avoid actions like dry frying.
- Avoid temperature shocks (like putting cold water in a hot pan). Similarly, don’t pull your enamel dutch over from the fridge and put it right on the range.
- Let it cool before cleaning
- Avoid dishwashing.
These are enamel rules to live by. They apply equally to Le Creuset, Lodge, Cuisinart, Staub, and all other brands.
Can You Repair Le Creuset Enamel?
This is the first question most people ask when faced with a chip in their Le Creuset.
Basically, no, you cannot repair cooking enamel. You should work with your dutch oven, pan, or pot’s manufacturer in order to find out what to do with your enamel cookware. In all likelihood you’ll have to send the piece in and and have the company send you a new one.
That’s right, as in the situation above, you’ll get a new piece, not your old one back so be careful if the piece is an heirloom or has sentimental value!
Enamel can technically be “repaired” and enamel repair kits do exist, but it seems unlikely that any of these are food-safe. They are generally aimed at fixing enamel cook tops, sinks, bathtubs, and iron stoves, not cookware. This is not a method I’d suggest entertaining.
In any case, your enamel fix would be a patch, not a repair. It would create a raise area in the interior of the item that could chip again.
There is such a thing as re-enamaling, but this is neither convenient nor practical. This is a procedure that would cost more than buying a new pot or pan, so it’s not something worth investigating.
Chips Outside Of The Cooking Area
What about if your enamel piece chips on the lid, lip, or outside of the cooking area? This is your call. If there is no chance that the place could chip and get into your food, then this isn’t necessarily a problem, you just want to be careful with the piece.
The main thing do to is watch the spot! A chip is a weakness that can, and often will, lead to more chipping. As such, you’re going to want to keep an eye on it. If the chip expands it’s probably time to call your manufacturer.
Enamel Warranty Information
Here are some major enamel-coated cast iron manufacturer’s and their warranty policies.
Amazon Basics Enamel
1-year limited warranty
Limited lifetime warranty for home users.
120 day replacement program on new items. For older items Dansk will offer a replacement of the item — if it’s still being made — for half of the original price plus shipping, processing fees, and taxes if it was broken. If the item was proven to be defective Dansk will replace it with no fees or cost.
10-year warranty against manufacturer defect when used in a non-commercial setting
Ikea Senior Enamel
25-year Limited Warranty
Lifetime warranty so long as the piece was not misused. No proof-of-purchase required.
Lifetime warranty for non-professional users as long as the cookware was not misused (overheated, etc.). Proof-of-purchase required. The same piece and same color is not guaranteed but you will get one of equal value.
Limited lifetime warranty from Macy’s, no further definition available though
Lifetime warranty so long as the item was not abused and was non-used in a commercial setting or heated excessively. Items are not to be used over a wood-burning fire or charcoal. Product must be registered to use warranty.
Lifetime warranty given that the manufacturer was at fault
30 year guarantee for “domestic” (non-professional) users, starting from the purchase date. A proof-of-purchase is required.
Lifetime limited warranty with any item being replaced at no fee with one of equal or higher value if the damage was caused by manufacturer defect. Non-commercial use only.
Now Read: Best Cast Iron Enamel Brands