Written by Author: Chef Michele, Blog

How to Clean a Cast Iron Wok to Maximize Durability?

In this article, I will give you the proper cleaning, maintaining, and caring techniques of a cast iron wok to increase its durability and efficiency for years.  

Cast iron wok cleaning methods

The goodness of cast iron wok is many and hence the demand is huge.

If you give efforts to clean a cast iron wok properly, it can actually provide service for a long time.

But there are very few people who actually are aware of the tips and tricks to clean their cast iron wok. And then there are others who simply avoid properly cleaning it.  

However, as an experienced chef, I personally recommend regular cleaning and proper seasoning of the cast iron wok. And these are my reasons of doing so: 
 

  • Cleaning a cast iron wok properly will improve its longevity.  
  • Effective seasoning will increase the non-stickiness of the wok.  
  • The wok gets adequate and uniform heat while cooking.  
  • Not cleaning the wok lets a thick crust form on the surface of the wok, and it loses its efficiency. 

Now that you know why you must make cleaning your cast iron wok a priority, read on to know in details about how to clean your cast iron made wok in various situations.  

Table of Content: 

  • How to clean a new cast iron wok? 
  • How to clean a cast iron wok after cooking? 
  • How to clean a burnt cast iron wok? 
  • How to clean a rusty cast iron wok? 
  • How to care for a cast iron wok? 
  • How to maintain a cast iron wok? 

 How to clean a new cast iron wok from A to Z? 

You cannot purchase a brand-new wok from the market and start using right away. You have to ensure that you properly clean and season it. But why?  

  • The wok usually comes coated with a factory oil to protect it from rusting 
  • Seasoning the wok will give you a smooth surface to cook your food with less oil 

Hence, here is the step by step guidance on how to clean a cast iron wok after you purchase it:  

  • Step 1: Warm some water and add some soap to it. Sink the wok in the soapy water and keep it for some time.  
  • Step 2: Take a gentle scrubber and your regular dish wash soap and scrub the wok gently. This would help to get the chemicals or vegetable oil off the wok that the factories use to prevent it from rusting.  
  • Step 3: Rinse the wok properly. Keep it aside and let it dry for some time.  

Once dry the next step is to season the wok.  

  • Step 4: Turn the stove on to medium-high flame. Place the wok on the stove and heat it properly. 
  • Step 5: Once the wok is hot, put two drops of oil in it. You can use any oil. Some options are canola oil, peanut oil, sunflower oil, grape seed oil etc.  
  • Step 6: Put garlic, ginger and chopped onion on the oil and spread it evenly throughout the wok. This helps to spread the oil evenly and also releases a good scent.  

Let it continue for about 20 minutes. Check if the ingredients are burning. In that case, add some more oil.  

  • Step 7: Once done, keep the wok aside and let it cool after dumping the mixture.  
  • Step 8: Take hot water and a soft scrubber or sponge and rinse the wok. Keep in mind to not use soap.  
  • Step 9: Turn the gas/induction on again in medium to high flame. Keep the wok on it and let it dry.  

If you want to season the wok better, you can repeat the process for another three to four times.  

How to clean a cast iron wok after cooking?  

Cast iron wok really needs a good cleaning after cooking. This is essential to ensure that the wok lasts longer. But unlike what people generally fear, cleaning, and taking care of a wok is not troublesome. Hard to believe? Here are the easiest ways to clean a cast iron wok.  

How to wash a cast iron wok?  

If you are aware of the tips and tricks to clean a cast iron wok properly, you would not want to shy away from doing so. These tips are: 

  • Take some mildly hot water and keep the wok soaked in it for a while. This helps to loosen any crust or food particles stuck on the wok.  
  • Take a soft scrubber and your regular dish wash soap to gently scrub off the food particles.  
  • Let it dry.  

Repeat the process until the wok is completely clean. If the seasoning is chipped, then season the wok to keep it safe from rusting. 

How to clean a burnt cast iron wok?  

We have all burnt our food while cooking, and that is okay. Although it is easy to freshly cook another meal, what is not easy is to clean a burnt cast iron wok. Or is it?  

With the mentioned tips you would not have to be scared of a burnt cast iron wok anymore. The steps are:  

  1. Put your wok in the oven and let it warm for some time in medium-high flame.  
  2. Once it reaches the medium-hot stage, put some oil in it.  
  3. With the help of a paper towel wipe the wok off.  
  4. Keep the wok away and let it cool.  
  5. Once cool, put some baking soda in the wok and with the help of a gentle scrubber, scrub the food particles off.  
  6. To ensure that all the burnt food particles are clean, put some water on the wok and let it boil.  
  7. Once done, put the wok in the oven in medium-high flame and let it dry.  

You need to season it again, to bring back its smooth non-stick surface. 

Follow the below steps – 

  • Turn your oven on in medium-high flame and let the wok bake in it.  
  • Take any oil such as soya bean oil, peanut oil, vegetable oil etc. and coat it evenly in the wok.  
  • Keep the coated wok back in the oven. Let it heat for almost 15 minutes on low to medium heat. 
  • Let it cool. 
  • Use a kitchen tissue to wipe out extra oil from the surface if any. 
  • Store it in a dry place. 

How to clean a rusty cast iron wok?  

Cast iron wok is likely to form rust if exposed to water or kept in a wrong place. Hence, cleaning the rust of the wok following these simple and easy steps can ensure to return the luster back. The steps are: 

  • Take a scrubber put some dishwashing soap on it and scrub the rust off the wok. This need serious labor but try to clean as much as possible. 
  • Put some baking soda on the wok and scrub it gently. It will take off the tough rusts. 
  • Once done, wash the wok with water. Repeat the process until the wok gains back its luster. 

Once done, the next step is to season the wok. For that, 

  • Turn your oven on in medium-high flame and let the wok bake in it.  
  • Take any oil such as soya bean oil, peanut oil, vegetable oil etc. and coat it evenly in the wok.  
  • Keep the coated wok back in the oven. Let it heat for almost an hour on low-medium heat. 
  • Let it cool. 
  • Use a kitchen tissue to wipe out extra oil from the surface if any. 
  • Store it in a dry place.  

How to care for a cast iron wok 

We already know by now that taking proper care of the cast iron wok can actually have various benefits. Hence, here are some of the tips to do so.  

  • Clean the wok: There is a common myth that suggests not using soap to clean the wok as it takes the seasoning away. But like I mentioned that is just a myth. Rough scrubbing and harsh detergent will surely take off the seasoning. But if use a soft scrubber and a gentle liquid dish soap, the seasoning will be fine.  

Also, to prevent a layer of crust forming on the wok, the first and foremost step is to clean it properly.  

For cleaning, soak the wok in mildly hot water for some time. Take few drops of gentle liquid dish wash soap and a soft scrubber or sponge to scrub the leftover food particles off the wok.  

  • Season the wok: Seasoning the wok makes it non-sticky and increases its life. Seasoning is easy unlike what people generally think. If the wok is seasoned not too long ago then skip this. Else, do this. 

After you have cleaned the wok, put it in the oven with medium-high flame, put oil in it and let it heat slowly. Once done, scrub off the remains using a mild scrubber. 

How to maintain a cast iron wok?  

Here are some tips to maintain the cast iron wok that can ensure good results: 

  • Never put the wok in a dishwasher.  
  • It is normal if the color of the wok changes during seasoning.  
  • Use a gentle scrubber to scrub the cast iron wok.  
  • Do not put the wok in cold water when it is hot. That is because doing so can cause it to warp. 
  • Put the wok where there is fresh air to prevent it from rusting. 

Taking proper care of the wok can help retain the luster of it and increase its longevity to a great extent. These different steps to clean a cast iron wok can thereby do wonders in keeping the wok rust-proof, durable and efficient. 

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