Is it safe to leave rust on your wok?

How did your wok got rusty in the first place

You bought your new wok, you are happy, the wok is happy, you just wanted to start cooking and you made a mediocre job at seasoning it because you didn’t had that much experience on how to do it

You made that awesome dish and then you cleaned and …

Brow rust spots that wouldn’t go away even after scrubbing like your life depended on it.

Maybe it was just stains from the dish you cooked, só you didn’t fret it, but the stains wouldn’t go off and also they got a strange look and even an odd surface, yeah, you guessed it.


Is it safe to leave rust on your wok?

It wasn’t that much rust, but here is the burning question, is it safe to cook food even if you leave rust on your wok?

This article is from more than 4 hours of research, so if you are looking for an informed answer on the internet, this is probably your best bet(disclaimer, I am not a doctor, so take this advice and use on your own responsability)

The short answer is… probably yes

Examining iron oxide effects on our body(rust)

But I am here to give you the answer you actually need to read

Rust is not really that harmful unless you eat it in large quantities, because your body cannot or will have a really hard time absorbing rust, and it would be extremely distasteful to eat it in toxic amounts

Iron and iron oxides are some of the most non-toxic metal compounds, also, iron it’s the most prevalent metal in your body, it is even advised to prepare food in iron skillets or similar equipment when a person is shown to have iron deficiency as a treatment help.

Let’s examine some numbers, the recommended daily allowance of iron is of about 18mg, it wouldn’t be so harsh to considerate that an adult could ingest even more.

The taste iron oxide(rust) has isn’t pleasant

That overly metalic taste is an indicator that your food has rust particles on it, we all had this sensation in the food we eat from time to time, now imagine cooking with a really rusty wok, that wouldn’t be so pleasant.

How do I know if it really is rust?

That is simple, if it rubs of on your fingertips or a sheet of white paper with an accentuated dark color, then it is rust

Also, the surface colors and texture may give that away too, use your intuition

But we should always strive to be safer, and in this case, it ain’t that hard

First step it to scrub the wok clean, there are several methods of getting rid of the rust, we will discuss some for various cases

I had a never used wok, i used it unseasoned and now it has a crust of rust, what should I do?

So you were a total newbie to world of woks and you used it unseasoned, you just ripped it out of the package and got on with it, and to top it off, you burned the food, it was really hard cleaning it so you left it for the following day, you got up and it was a scary movie

What should you do?

1. Okay, this is bad, but first thing, pour some watter and let it simmer for it to lift some of the burnt stuff off, let it soak in vinegar too if that doesn’t solve the problem.

2. Scrub and scour the wok the best you can to remove the rust, use a steel wool, barkeeper’s friend, anything you have at hand until the surface is smooth.

3. Season it with plenty of heat and oils.

I seasoned my wok according following the right guidelines and I still ended up with patches of brown after seasoning, what is wrong.

It started like that, but now it’s getting worse and the whole bottom of the wok is with this weird brown tone, you left it air drying on the stove and you used the method we gave you to know if it rust or not, and it is, this is an more extreme case, so what is the solution to this ?

Well, treat with a hot borax solution

1. Pour half a cup of water in the wok

2. Mix 1 ounce of borax to make the solution

3. Get the solution to a medium heat inside the wok,

4. Pour the solution out of the wok

5. Scrub thoroughly with a steel wool or barkeeper’s friend

6. Reseason as usual

Extra tip: NEVER skip re-oiling after the cleaning process, also, do not use detergent or any kind of soap to clean after you are done cooking, just use hot watter and a good stiff wok brush.

Real seasoning is a process that occurs over time with use.

Woks are cheap, yes, that is true, but they only get better with time, like the sound of a guitar made of high quality wood produces over time, or an aging wine, the more you season it over time, the better your wok gets.

A good wok reseason process you can follow right now

Okay so there is a series of steps to make a good seasoning on your old or newly bought wok, so let’s give it some love the right way this time

Let’s get our woks ready!

1. Clean it using the methods you learned in this article

2. Heat up your wok fully before adding any kind of oil to it.

3. After you made sure you gave it the proper heat, add the oil

4. Toss some left over vegetables on it and be sure to scrape it on sides of your wok

5. Re do steps 2 through 4, do them at least 3 times


That’s it, now you know the most important basic things to treat your wok right, now that you have this new information, be sure to always apply it and prevent the headaches of having a rusty wok

We all know how unpleasant and disgusting it is to see rust on our kitchen babies

Be well, thanks for joining us.

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