How to Remove Lacquer From Carbon Steel Woks

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Uncoated carbon steel woks are silver-colored.
Uncoated carbon steel woks are silver-colored. (Image: Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

Uncoated carbon steel woks are prized by amateur and professional chefs alike for their strength and accurate heat transfer. This feature makes them ideal for stir-frying vegetables, fish and meat. These woks are usually shipped with a clear, nontoxic lacquer coating that prevents scratches and protects the surface, until you season the wok by oiling it and heating it. You can remove the protective lacquer with warm, soapy water. Some manufacturers recommend that you use a scratch-free scouring pad to fully remove the lacquer.

Things You'll Need

  • Dish detergent
  • Non-scratch scouring pad
  • Soft, dry cloth or paper towels

Fill your sink with hot water, and add about a tablespoon of liquid dish detergent while the faucet is on.

Immerse the wok in the filled sink for five minutes. Drain the sink, and wash the wok with warm water and detergent, as you would wash any dish.

Scour the inside and outside of the wok with a non-scratch fiber scouring pad -- soaked in warm water and detergent -- until you remove all traces of the lacquer coating.

Dry the wok thoroughly with a soft cloth or paper towels. The wok is now ready for seasoning with oil, according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Tips & Warnings

  • This procedure is necessary only for uncoated steel woks. For a nonstick carbon steel wok, which is usually black inside, just wash with detergent and water before you first use it.
  • Do not use steel wool or soap-filled scouring pads to remove lacquer from your carbon steel wok.

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