Enamelware is such a classic product. I remember seeing plates, bowls, and mugs floating around in my parents & grandparents kitchen when I was young. Or in the garage with all of the camping gear. It's the reason why this product appealed to me so much - especially once my Happy Camper design was applied to it. A match made in retro heaven!
Traditional enamelware is made through a multi-step process by coating cast iron or steel with a layer of enamel & fired in a kiln. This prevents rust and helps evenly distribute heat throughout the surface.
Enamelware, in general, is great for cooking as it's a neutral surface so it doesn’t react with any acids in the food and, if properly cared for, will last a long time.
For the mugs I offer, I use a company in Poland that uses traditional, handmade methods to create their mugs. It's also a family-run business that prides themselves on quality work and ethical production, which is a huge plus.
Recently, I've had a few questions and concerns crop up about the mugs I offer so I thought it might be a great opportunity to offer some more detailed care instructions and some tips and tricks to keep your enamelware looking top notch.
Due to the fact these mugs were handmade, each one has a few small imperfections due to the organic nature of production. While it may not be ideal, you might be hard pressed to find one without a little something. But luckily it does not affect the integrity of the product and only adds to the character.
As for the design, it is a ceramic decal applied to the enamel surface and fired in a high-temperature industrial kiln. This process bakes the artwork in so that it won't peel and another clear enamel coating is put on top for extra protection.
These were made to last if you stick to some basic rules:
You can use this mug on the induction cooker, gas, & electric stove, in the oven, the bonfire, fridge, or freezer without damage to the coating or design.
100% food safe, so long as the mug is in tact. See below for details on chips & rust.
If enamelware becomes heavily damaged after a period of time, do not use for food or drink. Repurpose as a planter or candle holder. See below for details on chips & rust.
Dishwasher safe, with some exceptions. See below for cleaning instructions.
Do not use abrasive cleaning pads or product as it can damage the coating. See below for cleaning instructions.
Do not use vinegar to clean. See below for cleaning instructions.
Tea, coffee, and food may stain the enamel. This is natural. See below for cleaning instructions.
Not microwave safe. It's metal.
Before cleaning your enamelware, allow it to return to room temperature -- this prevents warping and improves the longevity of your product.
For everyday cleaning, you may wash by hand. These are dishwasher safe, meaning the coating or design will not peel unless abrasive dish washing powder is used or if the mug is crowded with other dishware. If you choose to use a dishwasher, be sure to arrange the pieces so mugs won't bang against other dishes and chip. After washing, dry enamelware thoroughly inside and out, because water can encourage corrosion especially if there is an area that is exposed.
Over time and with use, enamelware can show signs of age and wear. This is normal in a product like this. But it can be cleaned! Here are some cleaning tips. *
Enamelware is sturdy but like any piece of enamelware (or dishware for that matter), it can get chipped or dented if dropped, knocked, or mishandled. If you're worried about damaging it, it's recommended using it indoors only and hand wash after each use.
Chips & Rust
If your mug happens to chip, rust may form in this area but will benefit from an application of naval jelly left on for 10 minutes. To stop further rust, coat with cooking oil. If you intend to eat or cook with enamelware, just be sure that all surfaces that come in contact with food are intact.
If chips happen where food or drink may come into contact, it is recommended to discontinue use as these small chips can turn into more that you end up ingesting. However, you can try to repair chipped enamelware by following these instructions. *
I hope this little guide helps clarify process and care so you can have a product that will last you a very long time.
* Test small area first. Repair at your own risk.