Can Woks Rust? (Guides, Tips, Preventions, and When to Give Up)
Woks are a fascinating invention, but they are immune to the issues of general pots and pans. They can rust!
In this article, we’ll explore the potential causes and solutions to wok rusted pots being used in kitchens across America.
Can woks rust?
Woks are susceptible to rusting if they are not used and maintained properly. This means that the wok must be dried thoroughly after each use and should be stored in a dry place. If these precautions are not taken, the wok may start to rust over time.
In general, it is recommended that you avoid or take extra care to wash and dry your woks after cooking with acidic sauces, especially for cast iron or carbon steel woks. If you do not use your wok for an extended period of time, make sure to coat it with a layer of oil to prevent rusting, a process also known as seasoning.
It is a common misconception that woks cannot rust. In actuality, if food is burned and left on the wok, it will create a layer of carbon that can be difficult to remove. This layer can eventually eat away at the surface of the wok, exposing the area underneath. The introduction of water to this area after a long time can lead to rust. To clean the wok, soak it in hot water and use a special brush or soft sponge. If the rust has already formed on the surface of the wok, use a wire brush to scrub it off and then season it with some cooking oil.
There are a few things you can do to prevent your wok from rusting. Do not keep the wok in high humidity, stack it multiple times, or oil it outside and inside.
How to properly clean a wok to prevent rusting
A wok can rust from any number of issues, but most of them are because it is not properly seasoned and dried after each use. In order to keep that wok looking great and working the way you want it to, you do need to clean it properly and season it after each use.
The first step in this process is to wipe it out with a paper towel after you use it. You do not want to use any sort of scouring pads or abrasives, as this can damage the surface of the wok. After you have wiped it out, use warm, soapy water to remove any food and oil from the surface.
You then want to dry it completely. Do not leave any water on it, as this is how they rust. Rust is the result of corrosion and that means a damaged pan. You can either put your dried pan away and wait until the next use, or you can use a paper towel to rub a very thin layer of oil over the surface to help season it. Make sure your wok stays dry until you need it again.
How to remove rust from a wok?
If you have a wok that has rusted, you do need to remove it to restore the integrity of the pan. Here are some steps to help you get the rust off of your wok so you can use it again.
- Soak your wok. This is going to help loosen up the particles that are on the surface so that they can be gently removed. You should soak your wok for at least 5 minutes, perhaps more depending on how extensive the rust is.
- Clean your wok as you usually would at this point. wringing it out and gently scrubbing it in soapy water with a sponge.
- Use steel wool or an abrasive scrubber to target the areas that are rusted.
- If you have a particularly difficult rust spot, you can add equal parts salt and vegetable oil to the bottom of the wok and use it as an abrasive. Rub the area until the rust is gone and then repeat as needed. Make sure you rinse and wash the pan thoroughly afterward, and then season the pan again to prevent more rust.
- Aluminum foil is also a great cheap scrubber that can help to dislodge the rust and remove it from the surface of your wok. You do not want to use a wok that has rusted as it is going to cause damage to the wok and it is going to make your food taste strange as well.
- Seasoning is key. After you remove the rust, you may need to fully season the wok again to make sure that it is sealed and so that the rust does not come back.
- If you notice that there is any damage on the surface of your wok, you need to make sure that you take care of it and get rid of it before it becomes too widespread and causes too much damage. Rust can go entirely through the sidewalls of your wok and can cause holes.
How do you properly store a wok to prevent rusting?
When it comes to keeping your wok rust free, storage is a must. You should keep your wok in a dry area that does not get humid and that does not get wet. You need to make sure the wok is stored away from other pans that might introduce water to the wok as well. If you have an area where the wok can be sat up on its side, that is ideal. If you are using a wok that has been seasoned, make sure you wipe it out and keep it seasoned after each use. Though you may be tempted to put it away dirty, you really do need to keep it clean to prevent rust and damage.
How to prevent a wok from rusting
If you want to prevent your wok from rusting, you need to make sure that it is cleaned and seasoned after each use. To clean a wok properly, you need to wipe out any residue, put it in warm, soapy water, and then scrub gently to remove any food that is in the wok. You can then dry it fully. You want to remove all the excess water from the wok as any water that is left on the wok can cause rust spots. After that, you need to use a paper towel to rub a very thin layer of oil on the surface of the wok to keep it sealed. This thin layer of oil is going to work to repel water and to keep the surface of the wok sealed so that it does not get wet and so that it does not get rusted or damaged.
How to season a wok to prevent rusting
Woks are often made of carbon steel, which can rust if not properly taken care of. In order to prevent rust, it is important to season your wok before using it. This involves coating the entire surface of the wok with a thin layer of oil and heating it until the oil smokes.
The best time to season your wok is right before you use it for the first time after purchasing it. Seasoning involves using a very thin coating of oil that is polymerized. When you heat up the oil molecules, they go from being scattered to becoming linked and bonded to each other. It becomes a dry plastic solid that covers the surface of your pan.
- Start by cleaning and prepping your brand new wok by pouring some water into it up to 75% full.
- Place it on your stove.
- Turn on your stove and boil the water for 5 minutes. This will get rid of any grease and oils created during the manufacturing process.
- Dump out the water.
- Wash your wok with soap and water.
- Put it back on the stove with the heat on until it completely dries from the heat.
- Use a neutral oil such as vegetable or canola oil and soak a towel with it.
- Use the oil-soaked towel and wipe a layer of it all over the surface of the wok while it’s hot.
- Season and scrub through the entire wok, inside and out.
- You’ll start to see the color change from silver to brown.
- You can continue adding more layers once the smoking stops after the previous wipe.
- We recommend repeating this step at least 3 times.
The only types of wok pans you really need to season are those made of carbon steel and cast iron.
To season a wok and prevent rust, coat it with about 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Use a paper towel to spread it out in a thin coat. It’s best to use a thin layer. Try to be as thin as possible. If you put too much oil into every cycle of seasoning, you’ll find these areas of your walk that are sticky because the oil is so thick that it could not pull in her eyes and harden. Instead, just do multiple layers of really thin oil.
Heat it slowly over a low heat until the pan is hot but the oil is not smoking. You’ll know when you’re done with a seasoning cycle when the oil stops smoking. Wipe out any excess oil with a paper towel.
After seasoning your wok, you will find that it turns from a dull color into an extremely shiny and dark brown color. That is when you know it is seasoned. It shouldn’t feel greasy at all after you’re done, it should be dry to the touch.
Once in a while, after using it for a long time, you’ll see some dry spots on your wok, and this can only mean that the seasoning has perhaps rubbed off.
Should you re-season your wok?
It is important to season your wok before using it for the first time. But the seasoned ones won’t last forever. After a while of cleaning and scraping and scrubbing food to clean your wok you’ll start to see that the protective layer begins to rub off. That is when you are going to need to re-season your wok.
Woks are a great addition to any kitchen, but they need to be properly cared for in order to prevent rusting. The best way to do this is by re-seasoning the wok every 2 to 4 months, depending on how often you use it. Re-season every 2 months if you use your wok at least 2 times a week. Re-season your wok at least every 3 to 4 months if you only use it once a week. This will help keep the work in good condition and prolong its life.
The more you re-season your wok, the more you create these layers upon layers of oil film. You will also notice that your work becomes a little darker with each added layer.
Re-seasoning a wok is a simple process that can be done at home. The process of re-seasoning your wok is no different from the first time you did it. A wok should first be heated to a high temperature and then allowed to cool before being used. This will help to ensure that the wok is properly seasoned and will not rust.
What are the dangers of using a rusty wok?
Woks are a great tool to cook up a delicious stir-fry, but must be cleaned properly in order to avoid rust. If not cleaned and dried thoroughly after each use, the metal can start to corrode and form rust. This can cause the wok to become pitted and discolored, and also affect the taste of your food.
If you cook with a rusty wok, there’s a big possibility that the rest will end up leaching into your food. Not only will you experience the slight taste of rust, being acidic and distinct, but if you ingest a large amount of iron, you could experience symptoms of iron poisoning. These symptoms include:
- Joint pain
- Abdominal pain
These symptoms are usually reserved for really extreme cases. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that if you accidentally ingest a small amount of rust, you are not in any danger. You would have to ingest a whole lot of iron and rust to experience these issues. Your body should be able to get rid of these unknown invaders unless you have a rare disease such as hemochromatosis, which causes your body to retain iron.
Can you get back the original shine on a rusty wok?
For a variety of reasons, rust can form on the surface of a wok. One way to remove rust and restore the shine of your wok is by cleaning it with dish detergent and hand-drying it. Make sure to avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasives, as these can damage the surface of your wok.
When should you throw away a rusty wok?
According to a community of chefs, the average lifespan of a wok may be anywhere from 7 to 12 years before it is deemed unusable and needs to be thrown away.
A rusty wok is not necessarily a lost cause. If the rust is only on the surface, it can be removed with some simple steps. However, if the rust has penetrated the metal, it is best to discard the wok and buy a new one. Stainless steel is resistant to rust, so a rusty wok can be salvaged by cleaning and re-seasoning it.
People say that a wok can only get better as time goes on. This is as long as you use them properly and maintain them well. Seasoning your wok may be one of the most important things you can do to protect it from rusting with age.
When you use your wok, you begin to produce a stronger patina overtime. A patina is a layer that is automatically produced and builds up over time around a pan. It’s basically a natural way of seasoning that occurs every time you cook with fat and oil. This is a good thing because it generates a protective layer over the surface of your pan.
Other interesting articles: