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How To Clean Carbon Steel Wok – [7 Methods & Tips]

Knowing & understanding the cleaning and maintenance of a carbon steel wok has an essential impact on how long the pot will last.

Cleaning your carbon steel wok might sound like a daunting task, but it’s actually pretty simple and only takes 15 minutes if you implement any of the below mentioned methods.

What’s more, it significantly improves your cooking experience, too.

Below we will answer the above mentioned questions and will give you some very easy to follow methods on how to clean carbon steel wok, whether greasy, burnt, or rusty. 


How To Clean Carbon Steel Wok!

1. How to clean a carbon steel wok with rust?

The most common reason why carbon steel woks catch rust is that they need seasoning. Seasoning is the process of sealing the surface of the wok with oil.

As this layer of seasoning washes away with time, the body underneath becomes exposed and starts to rust.

If your wok gets rusty, you can clean the rust from carbon steel wok and season it again, and there are multiple easy ways to do that:

  1. Start by rinsing the wok and scrubbing off the rust using soap and a pad of steel wool. 
  2. Make sure all the rust comes off and then rinse the pan again. Preferably use hot water. 
  3. Leave the pan out to dry completely.
  4. Now, start coating the wok with unsalted fat. 
  5. Melt it on the stove with low heat. 
  6. Swirl the oil around to cover all sides of the pan.
  7. Let the fat cool and then rub off the cold, excess fat off the wok’s surface. 
  8. There you have it-your wok should be looking good as new!
  1. Start by heating approximately one cup of regular salt in your rusty wok. 
  2. Turn the heat high for 1 minute and then reduce it gradually. 
  3. Use a metal spatula to push the salt around. Move it onto the rusty areas of the wok and be very careful not to burn yourself. 
  4. Do this procedure for about 5 minutes. 
  5. Let the wok cool down to a warm state and try scrubbing the salt using a double-folded rag. Make sure this piece of cloth is soft and clean. 
  6. Wipe the pot clean and then put it back on the stove. 
  7. Turn the heat to high again and let the wok set until it starts to smoke. 
  8. Apply a little bit of oil to the pot’s inner surface and spread it around with a small piece of paper towel. 
  9. Let the pan cool down again and then rinse the wok.
  10. Place it back on the stove once more over low heat to dry all the pan’s moisture.

Let’s assume you don’t have a steel wool pad in the kitchen. Here’s what you can do: 

  1. Run some hot water into the pan and add a few drops of dish washing liquid into the pan. 
  2. The alternate tool for steel wool pads is a bamboo brush. 
  3. Depending on the size of your wok, you can get a big or small bamboo brush. 
  4. Gently use the brush to scrub off the rusty patches (or the residual food) from the bottom and the wok’s sides. 
  5. Once you’re done, dump the water out, rinse it, and wipe it clean. 
  6. Make sure the wok is entirely dry before you store it away.

2. How to clean a dirty wok?

If you had your carbon steel wok stored away somewhere or used it several times and it is dirty now, the best way to clean it would be the following: 

  1. Soak the wok in some hot water and leave it to cool down for at least 30 minutes. 
  2. Use a regular kitchen sponge to scrub the dirty surface generously but not too harshly. 
  3. Using just warm water is enough most of the time, but you can also use a tiny amount of dish soap on the sponge if you want. 
  4. Rinse the pot and wipe it clean and dry. You can also put the clean wok on the stove to make sure all the moisture is gone. 

3. How do you clean a greasy wok?

Greasy pans can be tricky to wash. But if you utilize the right tools and supplies, you’ll be done and over with it in less than 10 minutes. Here’s how you can do it: 

  1. Thoroughly rinse your wok using hot water. 
  2. Gently scrape off any leftover food using a non-metallic scrubber. 
  3. If you feel like the residue is a little too stubborn, soak the pot in warm water for at least fifteen minutes. Then, try again. 
  4. Rinse the pan again thoroughly until it is spotless.
  5. Use paper towels to make sure the wok is completely dry. 
  6. Put the wok on the stove to dry out any remaining moisture on the pot. 
  7. Use a small paper towel or a tissue to wipe the pot’s insides using a tiny amount of vegetable oil. Doing this will prevent rusting of the wok. 
  8. And you’re done! Store the wok away until you use it again.

4. How to clean wok with baking soda?

Baking SodaBaking soda has always been a popular and effective home remedy for cleaning purposes. Not-so-surprisingly, it is also a great way to clean your dirty wok with patches of burnt food here and there. 

Check our list of Best Carbon Steel Wok Here


  1. Place the empty wok on the stove and turn the heat up to the maximum. 
  2. Pour some water into the wok; make sure it is at room temperature. 
  3. Sprinkle some baking soda into the wok.
  4. Let the mixture boil. 
  5. Then, turn off the heat and let the pot soak in the solution for a couple of hours. 
  6. Now, clean the wok thoroughly by gently rubbing off the burnt food or residue using a scrubber. 

5. How do you clean a wok with salt?

SaltSometimes, because of regular usage and improper cleaning, the wok develops a brown-black sheen on the inside, which affects the taste of the food and appears to repress heat move from the wok to the food.

But it can be fixed easily and you don’t need to buy a new wok.

Here we will discuss how to clean a wok and also how to maintain it that will make your pan look good, in a very few simple steps.

  1. Set the wok on a burner over high heat until it is completely dry, and every drop of water evaporates.
  2. Lower the heat to medium and put 1-2 tablespoons of oil and heat it.
  3. Add a tablespoon of salt, and after five minutes, turn off the burner.
  4.  Let it cool down and then take a steel scraper or a thick pad and scrub it properly.
  5. Add some warm water and washing detergent to give it a quick, smooth scrub using a soft sponge and dry it with a paper towel.
  6. Lastly, put a bit of cooking oil and spread the oil in the inside of the wok to keep it from rusting.

Remember: You don’t need to do it too often, you need to repeat this method only when you have some sticky spots, or when the wok becomes uneven in cooking sometimes, then you can scrub it like this.

6. How to clean a carbon steel wok with burnt food?

Cleaning the burnt carbon steel wok has always been an irritating task, but it gets a lot easier if the cookware is nonstick.

Let’s look at some easy to follow methods for cleaning a wok when the food gets burnt on the it’s surface, for the sake of good health, and hygiene, it is necessary.

Baking soda and water mixture!

  1. Place the wok in the sink and add a tablespoon of baking soda.
  2. Pour a half cup of water and mix it, then leave it for some time. The baking soda will soften the solid particles.
  3. After that, wash the wok simply using a Nylon pad, all the particles will come off easily.
  4. Rinse it properly, dry, and save it for next use.

Beware not to leave the soda paste somewhere specifically as it can leave a mark on the surface of the wok.

Vinegar and water mixture

  1. Place the wok on the stove and add a cup of water in it.
  2. Pour a 1/2 cup of vinegar and boil it for 10 minutes approximately.
  3. When the oil and food particles rise on the surface use a paper towel and collect them.
  4. Lastly, hand wash the wok with the dishwasher using a smooth sponge.

You can also soak a cloth into the vinegar and put it on the burnt area and leave it for some time.

It will break the solid particles, and then you can easily remove the debris using a wet cloth.

Wash it simply with the detergent, dry it immediately and save it for the next time

Soap and water mixture!

  1. Place the wok on the stove and fill it with water.
  2. Let the water to reach the boiling point.
  3. Add a few drops of the dishwasher and mix it.
  4. Turn off the heat, and let the wok cool, this soapy mixture will soften the burnt food.
  5. Use the scrub pad, if required, and wash the wok as usual.

That is the easiest way to clean the burnt surface of a wok, but you may have to repeat it sometimes for the stubborn burnt food.

Salt and oil mixture!

  1. Place the wok on the stove and add two tablespoons of olive oil in it.
  2. Add a tablespoon of salt in it, and heat it for five to ten minutes.
  3. Let the wok cool for some time while the salt is warm and use a scraper scrub to remove the burnt particle.
  4. Wash the wok with cool water and scrub it with a smooth sponge.
  5. Rinse it thoroughly and save it for the next time.

Always try to coat the wok with a bit of oil before saving it for the next time. That will prevent the wok from getting rusty.

7. How do you remove black stains from a wok?

Cutlery items of stainless steel add a beautiful touch to your kitchen. Due to improper cleaning, you will notice that there are dark or even black spots.

It is necessary to clean your wok precisely to make it last longer.

Sometimes we do not wash the pan immediately after cooking. As a result, the burnt food and solid particles get dry and become hard to remove.

If you want to prevent black spots from appearing on metal cutlery and cookware in your home, there are a few ways you can do this.

Using Onions for black stains!

Onion rings

  1. The most effortless approach to remove black stains that build up over time is to fill it up with water and put it on the stove for 10-15 minutes on slow heat.
  2. That will loosen up all the food bits, and you can wash it later easily.
  3. Drop 5-6 onion skins and close the lid.
  4. Let the water and onion skin boil for 20 to 30 minutes.
  5. Let cool and gently scrub the surface with a dishwasher and rinse it thoroughly.

Using Cream of tartar for black stains!

Cream of Tartar is only a tartaric acid in the form of a powder. It is found at the base of the barrels and utilized for making wine. 

  1. Fill the wok with water, put 2-3 teaspoons of tartaric, and put the wok on the burner.
  2. You can likewise crush the juice of two lemons for their acidic activity on the surface, and obviously, the scent. Heat it till the water starts boiling.
  3. After a few minutes, you will notice that the black stains will start to disappear.
  4. Remove the wok from the burner and wash it normally to maintain the shine and coating.

Using white vinegar & baking soda!

White VinegarUsing vinegar with baking soda will easily remove the stains. The process is very simple.

  1. Put the wok on the burner and add 2-3 tablespoons of vinegar in it.
  2. Turn the stove on high until it boils and then switch off the flame, let it bubble for at least 30 seconds. Add up to 2 tablespoons of baking soda gradually as it will foam up and put it on aside for some time.
  3. That will loosen up the burnt food and lighten the black stains.
  4. After that, use a bit of baking soda to scrub the wok with a scouring pad and wash it properly.

Caring Tips - How to care for your carbon steel wok?

Now you get some knowledge on how to clean black stains from a wok, and these easy tricks will help you to clean the wok.

Here are a few tips for regular cleaning and maintaining the wok to enhance the performance of it.

  1. Clean your wok immediately after every use.
  2. Seasoning wok will keep food from sticking and rusting.
  3. Do not use steel scrapers to scrub on the nonstick wok. It may remove the patina of the wok.
  4. Avoid overheating, while preparing food it may lead food to burn.
  5. Don’t use harsh brushes or abrasive cleaners on the wok. They’ll do more damage than good. 
  6. Don’t leave your wok wet and moist. Dry it as soon as you can.
  7. Your wok is not dishwasher-safe. Don’t put it in there. 
  8. Don’t skip seasoning the pot if it is needed. Procrastination on this task can lead to damage and a shortened lifespan of the wok.


Cleaning your carbon steel wok the right way can help you increase its lifespan by several folds. It will improve the quality of the food you prepare in the wok and make your cooking experience much more satisfying.

If not, you can end up damaging the wok yourself.

Hence, this guide will help you avoid mistakes and blunders, so you can use your wok to the fullest potential and get the maximum use out of it!