Our definitive guide on how to wash a wok. Soap or no soap? What kind of scrub brush? Does it need oiling afterward? We have the answers!
carbon steel wok (or cast iron)
scrubbing sponge or wok brush
neutral oil (optional)
Step 1: Cool your wok slightly
Once you are done cooking, let the wok cool down to a manageable temperature before you transfer it to a sink. Generally, it’s best to clean a warm wok while grease, oil, and food bits are still soft.
Don’t let the wok sit for very long with sauce or excess food in it, as it may begin to rust. This is especially important when cooking with acidic ingredients (citrus juice, vinegar, etc.). These acidic ingredients can begin stripping your wok’s patina within minutes!
Step 2: Scrub your wok
Once it’s in the sink, if there is a thick residue of sauce or crusty bits, use your metal spatula to gently scrape them off with some water. This helps avoid gunging up your sponge. Don’t worry about any minor scratches to the wok.
Grab a scrubbing sponge, and using light yet firm pressure, scrub the wok in a circular motion, starting in the middle of the wok and continuing up the sides. Make sure to clean the entire surface. If your wok is extra greasy, you can use a small amount of mild dish soap.
The goal is not to make the wok one even color or to shine it up. The wok surface should simply be smooth and free of residue. Run your fingers along the surface of the wok to check! The wok may still feel slightly greasy. This is okay. But if you feel any bumpy bits, keep scrubbing.
Give the wok a good rinse. Pour off any standing water, give it a quick shake, and return it to the stovetop.
Step 3: Dry Your Wok
Heat your wok on the stove until it's completely dry. You can use a paper towel to wipe off any standing water to speed the process.
Step 4: Oil Your Wok
This step is somewhat optional if you cook with your wok daily, but it’s recommended if you use your wok less frequently, or if you want to build your wok’s patina more quickly. Spread 1 teaspoon vegetable oil around the perimeter of the heated, dry wok, and wipe the entire surface down with a paper towel. Make sure you get every spot!
The paper towel may have a light brownish color on it, which is normal. If the towel is dark brown, you probably could have done a bit more cleaning. Just fold the paper towel to a clean side and re-wipe, or return it to the sink for another light washing.
How to Wash a Wok by The Woks of Life. Recipe URL: https://thewoksoflife.com/how-to-wash-a-wok/