How to Clean a Wok: Our Top Tips

How to Clean a Wok: Our Top Tips

27 October 2022

Learning how to clean a wok doesn't need to be complicated. However, thanks to a plethora of woks on the market, there are misconceptions when it comes to their maintenance.

Even if cleaning your wok seems daunting, it's simple once you've learned the best tips and tricks. We'll explain how to effectively look after your wok with as little effort as possible – not just when it comes to cleaning it, but also keeping it pristine through every sauté, spice, and season.

  • Cookware care

How to Clean a Wok Before Use

Only just treated yourself to a new Circulon Wok? Before you get going with fresh, stir-fried vegetables and decadent sauces, it's worth giving your new wok pan a good clean.

  • Start by rinsing the wok with warm water, and then make a mild soapy solution
  • Using a cloth, sponge, or soft-bristled brush, wash the wok gently with a circular motion before rinsing it with clean water
  • Wipe the wok and then leave it to dry before getting stuck into your first recipe

How to Clean a Seasoned Wok

Whether they're carbon steel, cast iron, or aluminium, most woks should be seasoned before being used in the kitchen.

Traditionally, this process involves treating the pan using oil at a high heat to form a natural non-stick cooking surface – called a patina – that prevents your pan from rusting. You can learn more about the process in our guide to seasoning a wok.

Just like other types of metal, aluminium should be seasoned and properly treated to preserve its functionality and appearance. So, whether you've chosen the Infinite 36cm Wok or any other quality wok made using hard-adonized aluminium, it's still a good idea to season it before cooking.

You might have heard that a seasoned wok doesn't need to be cleaned, but that's not the case. To care for your seasoned wok over time, you should:

  • Wait until your wok is cool enough to handle, and then carefully move it to the sink
  • Add warm water to lightly scrub your wok clean – only use dish soap for heavier, saucy dishes
  • Rinse your wok clean with water
  • Gently pat the wok clean with a towel, and once cool, wipe it down with paper towel and a drop of vegetable oil

How to Clean a Wok after Cooking

Knowing how to clean a wok after use is a vital step towards ensuring the pan's longevity. Regular care might feel time-consuming, but the effort you put into maintaining and caring for your wok will be reflected in the quality of the meals you cook.

One hard and fast rule is that you should clean a wok as soon as possible after you've removed the food from it. However, you'll only need to use dish soap if you've cooked a heavier meal that's left a stubborn, oily residue around the inside of your wok – like authentic Pad Thai, for example.

Cleaning a wok is straightforward – the more mess you leave inside the pan, the more thoroughly you'll need to clean it.

How to Clean a Carbon Steel Wok with Burnt-on Food

Sometimes, it's easy to forget about a pan you don't cook with often. If you've found an old carbon steel wok at the bottom of the drawer, don't worry – it's not too late to salvage it.

You can still create wonderful meals with burnt wok pans if you give them careful attention first. To clean a burnt wok that you'd forgotten about, you should:

  • Scrub it thoroughly with dish soap and a scouring sponge, making sure to cover the entire surface area of the pan
  • Dry the wok with paper towel and heat it over the hob, then let it cool
  • Repeat this process once more, and leave the pan to dry again
  • Now, re-season your wok with oil – then you're ready to go!

If you discover rusty spots on your wok, it's likely that you didn't use enough oil to wipe it down or didn't remove all the moisture. Occasionally, damaged woks will need to be replaced by a newer, non-stick wok for your kitchen.

How to Clean a Non-Stick Wok

Even though all non-stick wok pans for sale online with Circulon are dishwasher-safe, we'd always recommend washing them by hand.

Dishwasher cycles can reach high temperatures and high water pressures too, and over time, this becomes abrasive on delicate, non-stick coatings. To keep your non-stick wok at its best, you'll just need warm water, mild soap, and elbow grease.

Buy Incredible Wok Pans with Circulon

If you're thinking of replacing your wok pan or buying one for the first time, we've got you covered. Our innovative range of woks has been developed with your convenience in mind, helping you to cook with confidence.

Our Total woks boast a next-generation, triple coat, non-stick interior, proven to last 15 times longer than competitors. Or, for chef-level performance, our Infinite wok combines practicality with innovative design, using our patented Hi-Low Non-Stick to boost its longevity.

If you have any questions about our cookware or you'd like to learn more about your wok, we're always here to help – so please don't hesitate to get in touch.