Written by Author: Chef Raven Lee, Blog

How to Clean a Burnt Carbon Steel Wok in Just Minutes?

If you think, cleaning a burnt carbon steel wok is a difficult and time-consuming job, then there are huge chances that you rely on all the wrong methods of cleaning it.

This article is, therefore, your savior. 

With my years of experience being a chef, I will teach you some easiest tricks to clean a burnt carbon steel wok in just minutes.

Burnt carbon steel wok cleaning methods

Yes, we all agree that food is life and cooking is an art, but no one really talks about the effort that we put in cleaning the pans and pots after every meal.

And, the horror is doubled if the cookware we are talking about is a burnt carbon steel wok.

Things can get extremely messy if you are not aware of the tricks and tips on how to clean a burnt carbon steel wok effectively. 

Read on to know more about the various easy ways of cleaning a scary burnt carbon steel wok.  

How to clean a burnt carbon steel wok?  

If you want to extend the life of your carbon steel wok, you have to ensure that it is properly cleaned on a regular basis and seasoned.

No matter how severe the burn is, you can easily help return the luster of the wok following these simple steps. 

  • Step 1: Boil some water.  
  • Step 2: Rinse the wok gently with the hot water. If there are a lot of food particles stuck, soak the wok in the hot water for a few minutes before rinsing it off.  
  • Step 3: Scrub the food particles off the carbon steel wok with a gentle scrubber, specifically nonmetallic.  
  • Step 4: Rinse the food particles off the wok using warm water. Repeat the process until all the stuck food particles come off.  
  • Step 5: Pat the wok dry with a towel.  
  • Step 6: After the wok is clean, take some vegetable oil and brush a thin layer of it on the inside and the outer side of the wok to prevent it from rusting. You can choose to skip the coating part if the wok is used regularly.  
  • Step 7: Turn the oven on and set the temperature at 450 degrees (medium-high).  
  • Step 8: Place the wok upside down on the oven. Let the wok bake for almost an hour until you ensure that it is completely seasoned.  
  • Step 9: Take the vessel and keep it away until next use.  

You can repeat the process twice or thrice depending on how you want to season it.  

Watch this video to see the steps of cleaning the burnt carbon steel wok in action.

What are some other tips to clean a wok?  

Although the above-mentioned steps are one of the best ways to ensure that your burnt wok gets back its luster, there are also several other easy steps to clean a burnt wok. Some of those savior tricks are: 

Baking Soda and Water 

Baking Soda is considered as one of the best cleansing agents. The steps for cleaning the burnt marks with this method are: 

  • Make a paste of water and the baking soda.  
  • Dip the burnt vessel in the paste for some time, preferably around 20 minutes.  
  • To get better results you can also add lemon to the paste. 
  • Take any dish wash soap and gentle scrubber to clean the food particles stuck on the vessel.  

Lemon Juice 

The wonders of lemon are too many to count. It has always been a woman’s best friend for all the right reason since ages. Apparently, the acidic content of it also helps to get rid of burnt marks from a vessel. To use lemon as a savior, the steps are: 

  • Put a good amount of lemon juice on the vessel and let it soak for an ample amount of time.  
  • Scrub the food particles off the vessel using a gentle scrubber.  


How many of you knew that wine not only tastes like heaven but also does an amazing job as a cleansing agent too?

Wine carries cleaning properties like any other strong cleansing agents. Therefore, it can help in getting rid of stubborn food particles from the wok.

Keep the burnt wok soaked in wine for some time before rinsing it off and cleaning it like any other utensil and see the magic it does.  


Salt is one of the most effective ways to take the stubborn food particles off the wok. Just scrubbing salt on the wok gently for some minutes can help take the food off it and retain back its shine.

You can also make the scrubbing easy by keeping the wok soaked in warm water for some time before scrubbing it with salt. Once done, use any of your regular dish wash soaps to clean the remains. 

Cream of Tartar 

Another readily available and magic ingredient that will help to get rid of the burn-stains from your wok is Cream of Tatar.

The process is extremely simple. Add two spoons of cream of tartar and water in the wok and let it boil for some time.

Once the wok cools down, scrub it gently with your dish wash soap. Repeat the process until the whole luster of the wok is back.

The cream of tartar contains potassium hydroxide and tartaric acid. These ingredients have great cleansing properties and are also used by various dishwashing gels and cleansers.  


The properties of vinegar that make it one of the best cleansing agents is not unknown to anyone. The process of using vinegar to clean the burn stains is simple. The steps are: 

  • Keep the wok soaked in vinegar for a certain period of time, most preferably for around 30 minutes. This helps to loosen the hard food crusts making it easy to scrub it off.  
  • Boil some water warm.  
  • Take your regular dishwashing soap and scrub the stuck food particles gently from the wok.  


Onion is another easily available ingredient that can easily take food crusts and stains off your burnt carbon steel wok. The step by step process is, 

  • Put water on the wok and add some skins of onion in it.  
  • Put the oven on high flame and let it boil for a minimum of thirty minutes.  
  • Take your regular dishwashing soap and gently scrub the remains off.  

More information on cleaning your carbon steel wok 

There are certain things to keep in mind before you choose to clean your wok for it to retain its luster. Some of these are: 

  • Always use a non-metallic scrubber or sponge while cleaning your wok.  
  • The color change of the wok is normal. Sometimes it could be a result of seasoning the wok. The color change naturally occurs because of its reaction to the heating process.  
  • Avoid keeping your wok in the dishwasher because it may cause the wok to rust.  

Cleaning a burnt wok could be a real nightmare if you are not aware of these tricks.

Hence, these simple and easy steps on how to clean a burnt carbon steel wok are lifesavers.

It ensures that the wok retains its original luster and shine. Along with that, regularly seasoning the wok can help to extend the life period of the wok.  

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