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How-to Guide: How to Clean Carbon Steel Wok

IN THE May 15 ISSUE

FROM THE 2020 Articles,
andFood Fun
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by staff

If you have a wok in your kitchen, you will agree that it is quite a fundamental tool in the cookware family. Carbon steel woks are regarded as the best kitchen tools mainly due to their ability to conduct multiple tasks. However, due to its frequent use, they tend to get dirty fast. As a result, you need to know how to clean them.paid post

Note that cleaning your wok is not just about giving it a good scrub. There are a few protocols that should be adhered to, to ensure they perform at their top-notch condition. Read on as we have prepared a step-by-step guide to help get insight on how to go about cleaning your carbon steel wok.

What is carbon steel?
As the name suggests, it is merely steel with a little carbon content. Typically, it can get a bit technical when talking about different metal compositions. But all you need to know is that they have a carbon content of around 0.2 to 2.2%. Besides, how does it differ from stainless steel? Well, the difference is still in its composition.

Stainless steel has a little chromium added to it, which gives it a shiny sheen and makes it immune to rusting.

What are the benefits of carbon steel?

As compared to stainless steel kitchen tools, carbon steels are less shiny and have a lived-in appearance. Regardless, what makes them a better option? Below are some of the critical benefits of carbon steel woks:

They can take high heat – This is perhaps the best thing about carbon steel woks, they are designed for high heat. You can burst them with as much heat as your cooker can muster, and they will take it.
They heat quickly – Carbon steels absorb heat super fast. Their ability to take up the heat in the shortest time makes the ideal tools for many dishes that require hot blasts for cooking.
Stick resistant – Over time, carbon steel woks tend to develop a non-stick coating. However, that does not mean your food might not stick at all. As long as you use cooking oil and high heats, they are likely not to stick. What’s more, it is possible to damage that lovely non-stick layer if you don’t clean it properly.
Lightweight – Carbon steel woks are light compared to the majority of kitchen tools made of cast iron. It is a great cooking tool, especially when preparing fast dishes. You can easily lift it and give it a good toss when cooking under hot temperatures.
Does not chip or scratch easily – As compared to the majority of tools in the cookware family, carbon steel woks are quite hard and do not chip or scratch off quickly in case they are dropped or washed with hard scrappers.

Note that carbon steel woks need to be seasoned with some oil to keep them in good condition. After you’ve cleaned and dried them, ensure you add a layer of oil on top. If you don’t keep them seasoned, they’ll likely rust or become sticky. As long as you clean your wok after use and give them a good rub of oil, you will also get the best results out of them.

Even so, how do you go about cleaning a carbon steel wok to produce exceptional results? Below is an insight into the cleaning process:

How to clean your carbon steel wok

Step #1 – Let it cool before you start washing
Washing hot dishes with cold water can ruin your kitchen tools. Although carbon steel is less prone to warping as compared to other materials such as aluminum, they can still be affected. Leave it to cool for some time before dipping in cold or warm water.

Step #2 – Rinse with cold or warm water
After leaving them to cool, you can rinse them with cold or warm water. Notably, do not use detergents or soaps. They might mess the non-stick coating you have worked so hard to achieve. You can use a soft brush or sponge with some water to scrub off the dirt. Also, avoid using harsh brushes. They might damage your coating.

Step #3 – Wipe off dirt or stuck-on food
Gently wipe off food stuck on the wok with a sponge or soft brush until everything is done. In case something more is required, you can leave the mess to soak in warm water to soften for easy removal.

Step #4 – Rinse it once more
After going through the above steps, give it an extra rinse to ensure all bits of food are gone. Again, do not use a detergent- water will be enough.

Step #5 – Leave it to dry
Now, it is time to let it dry. Wipe it with a clean towel and place it over low heat to dry up. Its primary purpose of letting it dry after washing it to prevent it from rusting. What’s more, we want a dry pan where we can add oil and start cooking any time after you are done with the cleaning.

Step #6 – Season it with cooking oil
After going through all the above steps, drizzle a tablespoon of vegetable oil on your wok and rub it over the exteriors with a napkin or paper towel. Remember, seasoning is critical to ensuring your season layer is retained, and your wok is protected from rust.

Final thoughts
Regardless of the type of cookware you are using, keeping them clean and at their top-notch condition is fundamental. Put the above factors into consideration when cleaning your carbon steel wok, and there is no doubt that you will get the result you deserve. What’s more, apart from using it often, cleaning and re-adding of oil, as well as regular cooking at high temperatures, significantly works on retaining the natural non-stick layer.

If knowing all the tips/useful info we’ve provided you with, you’re still puzzled what to look for when shopping, here is a nice buying guide on carbon steel woks.

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