How to Clean a Wok

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Keep a wok clean to prevent food from sticking and to maintain future good-tasting stir-fried meals. However, common cookware cleaning methods-such as throwing something in the dishwasher-results in a rusty wok. Follow these steps to properly clean a wok and to ensure quality stir-fried meals.

Things You'll Need

  • Sponge
  • Dish rag
  • Hand-wash woks made of cast iron or carbon steel in plain water. If the wok will not clean, soak it in plain water for several minutes and then attempt to wash again.

  • Use a soft sponge or dishrag to clean the inside of the wok. A more abrasive sponge may be used to remove grease and food particles from the outside of the wok.

  • Add a slight amount of dish soap to the cleansing water, but only if the wok is extra greasy and won't respond to a water-only washing.

  • Touch the bottom surface of the wok after cleaning to make sure it is smooth and food particle-free.

  • Rub a tablespoon of salt lightly on spots where stubborn food bits still adhere. Use a damp sponge to rub the salt and rinse the salt off thoroughly when finished.

  • Dry the wok completely by setting it on the stovetop over low heat. Allowing a wok to air dry on a dish rack may cause rusting.

Tips & Warnings

  • Traditionally, chefs use bamboo brushes to clean woks. However, for the average home chef, this tool is too abrasive and may damage the wok's delicately seasoned interior.
  • Use a sponge with a soft and abrasive side to clean a wok with a non-stick surface. These sponges are often labeled for use with non-stick pans.
  • Avoid adding cold water to a scorching hot wok, as this may warp the bottom of the wok.

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