Cleaning Enameled Cast Iron With Vinegar - The Cookware Spot

Cleaning Enameled Cast Iron With Vinegar

To clean enameled cast iron with vinegar, mix equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle and spray onto the surface. Then, wipe with a soft cloth or sponge.

Vinegar is an effective and natural cleaner for removing stains and grime from enameled cast iron. Enameled cast iron cookware is durable and versatile and requires proper cleaning and maintenance to preserve its quality. While various cleaning methods are available, vinegar is popular due to its effectiveness and natural properties.

Vinegar is a gentle yet powerful cleaner removing stains, grease, and grime from enameled cast iron surfaces. This method eliminates the need for harsh chemicals, making it safe for everyday use. We will explore cleaning enameled cast iron with vinegar, including the appropriate steps to achieve a spotless and well-maintained cookware collection.



The Necessary Supplies For Cleaning

Cleaning cast iron cookware can be daunting, but with the right supplies and techniques, it doesn’t have to be. This section will discuss the necessary supplies for cleaning enameled cast iron with vinegar and why each is important for an effective cleaning process.

List Of Supplies Needed For The Cleaning Process

To clean enameled cast iron with vinegar, you will need the following supplies:

  • White vinegar: White vinegar is a natural and effective cleaning agent that helps remove stains and residue from enameled cast iron. Its acidity helps break down grease and dirt, leaving your cookware clean and shiny.
  • Water: While vinegar is great for cleaning, it must be diluted with water for optimal results. Water helps create a milder cleaning solution that is safe for your enameled cast iron, preventing any damage to the coating.
  • Soft sponge or cloth: A soft one is essential for gently scrubbing the enameled surface. It helps remove stubborn stains or food particles without scratching or damaging the coating.
  • Soft-bristle brush: A soft-bristle brush comes in handy for hard-to-reach areas or stubborn stains. It allows you to apply a bit more pressure without harming the enamel.
  • Mild dish soap: Although vinegar is effective on its own, mild dish soap can be used as a pre-soak or as an additional cleaning agent if needed. It helps remove grease and grime, leaving your cookware spotless.
  • Towel or drying rack: Proper drying is important to prevent moisture-related issues after cleaning your enameled cast iron. A towel or drying rack allows your cookware to air dry thoroughly before storing it away.

Why each supply is important for effective cleaning:

  • White vinegar: The acidity in vinegar helps dissolve stains, grease, and residue, making it an ideal cleaner for enameled cast iron. It is a natural alternative to harsh chemicals and does not leave behind any toxic residue.
  • Water: Diluting vinegar with water ensures the cleaning solution is gentle enough for the enamel coating, preventing potential damage. It also helps rinse off any remaining vinegar and soap residue after cleaning.
  • Soft sponge or cloth: Using a soft sponge or cloth minimizes the risk of scratches on the delicate enamel surface. It allows for effective cleaning without compromising the integrity of the coating.
  • Soft-bristle brush: Some stains or food particles may require extra scrubbing power, but using a soft-bristle brush ensures you don’t damage the enamel surface. It provides the right amount of pressure without scratching.
  • Mild dish soap: While vinegar is usually sufficient for cleaning enameled cast iron, a bar of mild dish soap can help tackle tougher stains or heavy grease. It can be used as an additional cleaning agent or as a pre-soak to loosen stubborn residue.
  • Towel or drying rack: Proper drying is essential to prevent moisture-related issues like rust or mold. A towel or drying rack allows your enameled cast iron to air dry completely before storing it, ensuring longevity.

Cleaning enameled cast iron with vinegar is a simple and effective method. Using the necessary supplies, you can keep your cookware in great condition, ready for all your culinary adventures.

How To Properly Prepare The Enameled Cast Iron For Cleaning

Before cleaning your enameled cast iron cookware with vinegar, preparing the cookware properly is important. This will help ensure that your cleaning efforts are effective and the cookware remains in good condition. Follow these steps to prepare your enameled cast iron for cleaning:

  • Step 1: Allow the cookware to cool. After using the enameled cast iron, let it cool down completely before cleaning. This will help prevent accidental burns and ensure safe handling of the cookware.
  • Step 2: Remove any large food particles. Take a soft brush or sponge and gently remove any large food particles or debris from the cookware. This will make the cleaning process easier and more effective.
  • Step 3: Rinse with warm water. Give the enameled cast iron a thorough rinse with warm water. This will help remove any remaining loose food particles and help prepare the cookware for the vinegar-cleaning process.
  • Step 4: Inspect for stubborn stains or residue. Carefully examine the cookware for any stubborn stains or residue requiring additional attention. If you notice any, make a mental note of their location for targeted cleaning later.
  • Step 5: Protect the surrounding area. Before you start cleaning with vinegar, protecting the surrounding area is a good idea, especially if you’re working on a countertop or table. Vinegar can have a strong odor and may cause damage to certain surfaces, so use a protective barrier like a towel or placemat.
  • Step 6: Ventilation: Ensure that the area where you’ll be cleaning your enameled cast iron is well-ventilated. Open a window or turn on the exhaust fan to help reduce any strong vinegar smells.
  • Step 7: Gather cleaning supplies: Before you begin the cleaning process, gather all the necessary cleaning supplies, including white vinegar, water, a soft cloth or sponge, and gentle dish soap. Having everything ready will make the cleaning process smoother and more efficient.
  • Step 8: Protect your hands: Enameled cast iron cookware can be heavy, so it’s important to protect your hands while cleaning. Consider wearing rubber gloves to prevent any skin irritations or allergic reactions that may arise from the cleaning solutions.

Following these steps, using vinegar, you’ll prepare your enameled cast iron cookware for effective cleaning. Taking the time to prepare the cookware properly will ensure optimal results and help prolong its lifespan.

Creating The Vinegar Cleaning Solution

Cleaning enameled cast iron with vinegar is a popular and effective method to remove stubborn stains and build-up. But what is the perfect vinegar-to-water ratio for this cleaning solution? Let’s dive in and find out.

Here are the key points to keep in mind when creating the vinegar-cleaning solution for your enameled cast iron:

  • Equal parts vinegar and water: The ideal vinegar-to-water ratio is 1:1. Mix equal amounts of vinegar and water to create the cleaning solution. Using too much vinegar can be harsh on the enamel, while using too much water may reduce the cleaning effectiveness. So, strike the right balance by combining equal parts of vinegar and water.
  • White vinegar: White vinegar is the most commonly used type of vinegar for cleaning purposes. It is readily available and affordable. Besides, it is highly effective in breaking down grease and removing stains from enameled cast iron. So, opt for white vinegar when creating your cleaning solution.
  • Distilled or filtered water: To ensure a clean and streak-free finish, it’s important to use distilled or filtered water instead of tap water. Tap water may contain minerals and impurities that could leave spots or residue on your enameled cast iron. So, go the extra mile and use distilled or filtered water for the best results.
  • Mix thoroughly: Once you’ve measured equal parts of vinegar and water, pour them into a container and mix them well. This will ensure that the vinegar and water are evenly distributed, maximizing the cleaning power of the solution.

Now that you know the perfect vinegar-to-water ratio for cleaning enameled cast iron, let’s explore some additional ingredients you can add to enhance the cleaning power even further.

Other Ingredients That Can Be Added For Extra Cleaning Power

While vinegar and water form the foundation of your cleaning solution, you can add a few other ingredients to boost its cleaning effectiveness. Here are some options to consider:

  • Baking soda: Adding a tablespoon to the vinegar cleaning solution creates a powerful paste that can scrub tough stains and residue. The gentle abrasiveness of baking soda helps to lift dirt and grime without damaging the enamel.
  • Lemon juice: The acidic properties of lemon juice make it an excellent natural cleaner. Squeeze the juice of one lemon into the vinegar-cleaning solution to enhance its stain-fighting abilities and leave a refreshing scent behind.
  • Essential oils: A few drops can do the trick if you prefer a fragrant cleaning solution. Popular choices include lavender, tea tree, or lemon essential oils. They will add a pleasant aroma, and some essential oils also possess antimicrobial properties, further aiding the cleaning process.
  • Hydrogen peroxide: Mix a small amount of hydrogen peroxide with vinegar and water for particularly stubborn stains or discoloration. The hydrogen peroxide acts as a bleaching agent, helping to restore the original shine of your enameled cast iron.

How To Safely And Effectively Submerge The Cookware

Cleaning enameled cast iron with vinegar is an excellent way to remove dirt, stains, and built-up residue. Knowing the proper method of submerging the cookware in a vinegar solution is essential to ensure the process is safe and effective.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you get the best results:

  • Choose the right container: Select a large container to hold the cast iron cookware without being too snug. This will allow the vinegar solution to reach all cast iron areas.
  • Mix the vinegar solution: In a mixing bowl or bucket, combine equal parts white vinegar and water. For example, if you use 1 cup of vinegar, add 1 cup of water. This dilution helps prevent the vinegar from being too harsh on the enamel coating.
  • Place the cookware in the container: Carefully place the cast iron cookware in the container, ensuring it is fully submerged in the vinegar solution. If the cookware is too big to submerge completely, you can soak it in sections, rotating it periodically to expose all surfaces to the vinegar solution.
  • Let it soak: Allow the cookware to soak in the vinegar solution for at least 30 minutes. This gives the vinegar time to break down any stubborn stains or grime.
  • Scrub lightly: After soaking, use a soft brush or cloth to gently scrub the cookware, focusing on areas that require extra attention. The vinegar solution helps to loosen the dirt, making it easier to remove.
  • Rinse thoroughly: After scrubbing, rinse the cookware thoroughly with warm water to remove any remaining vinegar residue. Ensure you rinse both the interior and exterior surfaces of the cookware.
  • Dry completely: After rinsing, use a clean, dry cloth to wipe the cookware and remove any excess moisture. Drying the cast iron thoroughly is crucial to prevent any potential rusting.

The Benefits Of Soaking The Cast Iron In Vinegar Solution

Soaking cast iron cookware in a vinegar solution offers several advantages, contributing to its effectiveness as a cleaning method. Here are the key benefits:

  • Easy removal of stubborn stains: The acidic nature of vinegar helps break down and dissolve tough stains, making them easier to remove during cleaning.
  • Gentle on the enamel coating: Diluting the vinegar with water ensures that it is less harsh on the enamel coating of the cast iron, preventing potential damage that can occur with stronger chemicals.
  • Natural and non-toxic: Vinegar is a natural cleaning agent, making it a safer alternative to chemical cleaners. It is non-toxic and environmentally friendly, ensuring a healthier cleaning experience.
  • Cost-effective solution: Compared to specialized cleaning products, vinegar is an affordable option for cleaning enameled cast iron cookware, saving you money in the long run.
  • Versatile cleaning agent: Vinegar is effective for cleaning enameled cast iron and can also be used to clean various household items like stainless steel, glass, and more.

You can effectively clean and maintain its pristine condition by safely submerging your cast iron cookware in vinegar. Enjoy the benefits of this natural cleaning method while keeping your cookware in top shape.

Scrubbing And Removing Stains With Vinegar

Utilize some techniques and harness the power of vinegar to effectively scrub away stains and remove discoloration from your enameled cast iron. So roll up your sleeves and let vinegar do its magic in restoring the beauty of your beloved cookware.

Techniques For Scrubbing Away Stains And Build-up

When cleaning enameled cast iron, vinegar can be a powerful ally in tackling tough stains and discoloration. Here are some techniques you can use to scrub away stains and build-up effectively:

  • Start by rinsing the enameled cast iron under warm water to remove loose dirt or debris.
  • Create a cleaning solution by mixing equal vinegar and water in a spray bottle or a bowl.
  • Apply the vinegar solution directly to the stained cast iron areas, ensuring they are thoroughly saturated.
  • Allow the vinegar solution to sit on the stains for a few minutes to loosen the dirt and grime.
  • Use a non-abrasive scrub brush or sponge to scrub the stained areas, applying light pressure gently.
  • Pay special attention to any tough stains or build-up, working the vinegar solution into these areas.
  • For stubborn stains, sprinkle baking soda onto the affected areas and continue scrubbing.
  • Rinse the enameled cast iron thoroughly with warm water to remove any vinegar residue.
  • Inspect the surface for any remaining stains and repeat the process if needed.
  • Finally, dry the cast iron completely before storing it.

How To Use Vinegar To Remove Tough Stains And Discoloration

Vinegar is known for its acidic properties, making it an effective natural cleaner for removing tough stains and discoloration from enameled cast iron. Here’s how you can use vinegar to restore your cast iron to its former glory:

  • Fill a sink or basin with equal parts vinegar and warm water to submerge your enameled cast iron fully.
  • Place the cast iron in the vinegar solution and let it soak for approximately 1-2 hours.
  • The acidity of the vinegar will help break down the stains and loosen any stubborn build-up.
  • After soaking, use a sponge or non-abrasive brush to scrub away the stains, applying gentle pressure.
  • Rinse the cast iron thoroughly with warm water to remove any vinegar residue.
  • Inspect the surface for any remaining stains and repeat the soaking and scrubbing process if necessary.
  • You can create a paste using vinegar and baking soda for stubborn stains.
  • Apply the paste to the affected areas and let it sit for a few minutes before scrubbing.
  • Once the stains are removed to your satisfaction, rinse the cast iron again with warm water.
  • Ensure the cast iron is completely dry before storing it to prevent moisture-related issues.

Removing Residue And Odors With Vinegar

With these tips and the power of vinegar, you can effectively remove stubborn residue and eliminate odors from your enameled cast iron cookware. It’s an inexpensive, eco-friendly solution that will help keep your cookware looking and smelling fresh for years.

How Vinegar Can Help Eliminate Lingering Odors

Vinegar is not only a versatile kitchen staple, but it can also work wonders when it comes to eliminating lingering odors from enameled cast iron cookware. Here’s how vinegar can help freshen up your pots and pans:

  • Neutralizes odors: Vinegar has natural odor-absorbing properties, which can help eliminate any lingering smells that may have seeped into your cookware. It’s particularly effective at neutralizing pungent odors like fish or garlic.
  • Simple and cost-effective: Using vinegar to remove odors is simple and budget-friendly. You don’t need to invest in expensive cleaning products when vinegar is readily available in your pantry.
  • Safe for food contact surfaces: Vinegar is a safe and non-toxic option for cleaning your enameled cast iron cookware. It’s food-safe and doesn’t leave behind any harmful residues, ensuring your pots and pans remain safe for cooking.
  • Versatile: Vinegar can eliminate odors from cast iron cookware and other kitchen items like cutting boards or plastic containers. Its versatility makes it a go-to option for odor removal in the kitchen.

Tips For Removing Stubborn Residue And Build-up From The Cookware

Over time, enameled cast iron cookware can accumulate stubborn residue and build-up that can be challenging to remove. Luckily, vinegar can come to the rescue! Here are some tips to help you effectively remove stubborn residue using vinegar:

  • Create a vinegar soak: Fill your sink or a large basin with equal water and vinegar. Submerge the cookware in the solution and let it soak for at least an hour or overnight. The acidic properties of vinegar help loosen and dissolve the residue, making it easier to clean.
  • Scrub with a gentle brush: After soaking, use a soft-bristle brush or sponge to scrub away the residue. The gentle scrubbing and acidic vinegar will help break down the build-up without damaging the enamel surface.
  • Use a paste for tough stains: Mix vinegar with baking soda to form a thick consistency for stubborn or burnt-on food. Apply the paste to the affected areas and let it sit for a few minutes before scrubbing with a brush. The baking soda acts as a mild abrasive, removing tough stains.
  • Rinse thoroughly: Once you’ve scrubbed away the residue, rinse the cookware thoroughly with warm water to remove any traces of vinegar or residue. Ensure that all the vinegar is washed away before using the cookware again.
  • Dry completely: After cleaning, it’s essential to dry the cookware completely to prevent any moisture that can lead to rusting. Use a soft cloth or towel to thoroughly dry the cookware before storing it.

Rinsing And Drying The Cast Iron Properly

When cleaning enameled cast iron with vinegar, rinsing is a crucial step that should never be overlooked. Here are the key points to keep in mind:

  • Rinsing helps to remove any residual vinegar from the cast iron surface.
  • Vinegar is highly acidic, and if left on the enameled cast iron, it can eat away at the enamel over time, causing damage.
  • Proper rinsing ensures the vinegar is completely removed, leaving the cast iron clean and ready to use.
  • Rinse the cast iron thoroughly under running water to ensure all the vinegar is washed away.
  • Avoid using soap while rinsing, as it can leave behind a residue that affects the flavor of your food.

How To Effectively Dry The Cast Iron To Prevent Rusting

After rinsing the cast iron, it’s essential to dry it thoroughly to prevent any rusting. Follow these steps to dry your enameled cast iron effectively:

  • Gently pat dry the cast iron using a clean or paper towel. Avoid rubbing, as it may scratch the enamel.
  • Allow the cast iron to air dry completely before storing it. This not only helps to prevent rusting but also ensures that no moisture is trapped inside.
  • You can use a low heat setting on the stove to speed up the drying process. Place the cast iron on the stove and let the residual heat dry it thoroughly.
  • Never store the cast iron while it’s still damp, as moisture can lead to rust formation.
  • To further protect the cast iron from rust, apply a thin layer of cooking oil or a cast iron conditioner after it has dried completely.

Tips For Properly Caring For Enameled Cast Iron

Properly caring for your enameled cast iron cookware is essential to maintain its performance and longevity. Follow these tips to prevent staining and build-up and keep your cookware in top condition.

How To Prevent Future Staining And Build-up:

  • Avoid using metal utensils: Metal utensils can scratch the enamel surface, leading to staining and build-up. Instead, opt for wooden, silicone, or nylon utensils that are gentle on the enamel.
  • Use low to medium heat: Enameled cast iron retains heat well, so soft to medium heat is sufficient for most cooking tasks. Avoid high heat, which can cause the enamel to discolor or chip.
  • Avoid sudden temperature changes: Rapid temperature changes can cause the enamel to crack or break. Allow your cookware to cool down gradually before washing or exposing it to extreme temperature changes.
  • Season regularly: As with traditional cast iron, seasoning enameled cast iron helps create a protective layer that prevents staining and enhances non-stick capabilities. Apply a thin layer of oil to the interior surface periodically to maintain the seasoning.
  • Clean immediately after use: To prevent stains and build-up, it’s important to clean your enameled cast iron cookware promptly after each use. This is particularly important for acidic or highly pigmented foods that can cause discoloration.

Recommended Cleaning Routines For Maintaining Enameled Cast Iron:

  • Hand-washing is recommended: While some enameled cast iron cookware is dishwasher safe, hand-washing is usually recommended to prolong the life of the enamel coating. Use warm water and mild dish soap to clean the cookware gently.
  • Avoid abrasive cleaners: Harsh or abrasive cleaners can damage the enamel surface. Instead, use non-abrasive cleaning methods such as baking soda or vinegar solutions.
  • Use vinegar for stubborn stains: Vinegar is an effective natural cleaner for removing stubborn stains on enameled cast iron. Create a solution of equal parts vinegar and water, and soak the stained area for a few hours before scrubbing gently.
  • Avoid soaking for long periods: While it’s recommended to soak your cookware to loosen stuck-on food, avoid leaving enameled cast iron immersed in water for extended periods. Prolonged soaking can cause the enamel to weaken and chip.
  • Dry thoroughly before storage: After washing, ensure your enameled cast iron cookware is completely dry before storing it. Moisture can lead to rust or mold growth, damaging the enamel.

Other Cleaning Methods For Enameled Cast Iron

There are various other cleaning methods that you can consider if you’re not a fan of using vinegar to clean your enameled cast iron. While vinegar is a popular choice due to its natural cleaning properties, these alternatives can also be effective in removing stains and maintaining the quality of your cookware.

Below, we discuss the pros and cons of different cleaning methods for enameled cast iron:

Lemon Juice

  • Lemon juice contains citric acid, which helps break down stains and stuck-on food particles.
  • It offers a fresh scent and leaves your cookware smelling pleasant.
  • Simply squeeze fresh lemon juice onto a sponge or cloth and scrub your enameled cast iron using gentle circular motions.
  • Rinse thoroughly with water and dry with a clean cloth.
  • Remember that lemon juice may not be as strong as vinegar and may require more effort to remove stubborn stains.

Baking Soda

  • Baking soda is a mild abrasive that can help remove tough stains without scratching the enamel coating.
  • Mix baking soda with water to create a paste until it forms a thick consistency.
  • Apply the paste to the stained areas of your cookware and gently scrub using a soft sponge or cloth.
  • Rinse thoroughly and dry with a clean cloth.
  • Baking soda is safe to use regularly, but it may not be as effective on heavily stained cast iron.

Dish Soap

  • Dish soap is readily available in most households and can clean enameled cast iron.
  • Fill your sink or basin with warm water and add a few drops of dish soap.
  • Submerge your cookware in soapy water and use a soft sponge or cloth to scrub any dirt or stains gently.
  • Rinse thoroughly with water and dry with a clean cloth.
  • While dish soap effectively removes grease and grime, it may not be suitable for heavily stained cast iron.

Salt Scrub

  • Salt can be an abrasive to help remove stubborn, stuck-on food particles and stains.
  • Sprinkle coarse salt onto a damp sponge or cloth and use it to scrub your enameled cast iron.
  • The coarse texture of the salt helps to dislodge any residue without scratching the enamel.
  • Rinse thoroughly with water and dry with a clean cloth.
  • Remember that salt is not as effective as other methods for deep cleaning or removing tough stains.

Now that you are familiar with alternative cleaning methods for enameled cast iron, you can choose the one that suits your preferences and cleaning needs. Whether you opt for lemon juice, baking soda, dish soap, or salt scrub, carefully handle your cookware to preserve its longevity.

Regular cleaning and proper maintenance will ensure that your enameled cast iron remains pristine for years.

The Versatility And Effectiveness Of Vinegar For Cleaning Enameled Cast Iron

If you own enameled cast iron cookware, you already understand the importance of cleaning and maintenance. One highly effective and versatile cleaning agent for enameled cast iron is vinegar. This household staple is affordable and gentle yet powerful enough to remove tough stains and build-up.

In this section, we will recap the benefits and advantages of using vinegar for cleaning enameled cast iron and emphasize the importance of proper cleaning and maintenance for your prized cookware.

Recap Of The Benefits And Advantages Of Using Vinegar

  • Gentle yet effective: Vinegar is a natural and non-toxic cleaner, making it safe to use on enameled cast iron without worrying about harsh chemicals. Its acidity is powerful enough to dissolve stubborn food residue yet gentle enough not to damage the enamel coating.
  • Versatile cleaning agent: Vinegar works wonders in various cleaning scenarios, and enameled cast iron is no exception. It can tackle stains, grease, and even mineral deposits effortlessly, making it an all-around cleaning solution for your cookware.
  • Budget-friendly option: Vinegar is an affordable alternative to commercial cleaning products. A simple solution of vinegar and water can deliver impressive results, saving you money while keeping your enameled cast iron looking pristine.
  • Natural deodorizer: If your enameled cast iron has an undesirable odor, vinegar can help eliminate it. Its acidic properties neutralize odors, leaving your cookware smelling fresh and clean.

Final Thoughts On The Importance Of Proper Cleaning And Maintenance For Enameled Cast Iron

Caring for your enameled cast iron cookware goes beyond using vinegar as a cleaning agent. Proper maintenance is crucial to ensure its longevity and performance. Here are a few key takeaways to keep in mind:

  • Hand-wash only: Enameled cast iron should be hand-washed to preserve its enamel coating. Avoid using abrasive cleaners or scouring pads, which can scratch and damage the enamel surface.
  • Gentle cleaning techniques: Remember to dilute vinegar with water before applying it to your cookware. Also, use a soft sponge or cloth to avoid scratching the enamel. Gently scrub the surface to remove any food residue or stains.
  • Regular maintenance: Regularly check your enameled cast iron for signs of wear, such as chipping or discoloration, as these can affect its performance. Address any issues promptly to prevent further damage.
  • Proper drying and storage: After cleaning, ensure that your cookware is thoroughly dried before storing it. Moisture can lead to rusting or the growth of mold. Consider placing a paper towel between stacked pans to prevent any potential damage.


Vinegar is a fantastic and effective option for cleaning enameled cast iron cookware. Its acidic properties help to cut through grease, remove stains, and eliminate odors, leaving your cookware looking and smelling fresh.

Vinegar is a natural and affordable alternative to harsh chemical cleaners, ensuring you can clean your pots and pans without worrying about harmful toxins. Always dilute the vinegar with water to prevent damage to the enamel coating.

By using vinegar regularly to clean your enameled cast iron, you can extend the lifespan of your cookware and ensure that it remains in top-notch condition for years to come.

So, next time you’re faced with stubborn stains or grime, reach for a bottle of vinegar and easily give your enameled cast iron a sparkling clean.

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