How To Clean A Carbon Steel Pan?

by Evelyn Brown | Published On

Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team, is reader-supported. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission, at no extra cost to you.

A mainstay in commercial kitchens, carbon steel pans are more well-liked than ever for domestic use. They are robust, versatile workhorses that can be utilized both in the oven and on the cooktop and require little upkeep. Additionally, carbon steel cooks evenly cool down rapidly and heats up quickly. It also has outstanding non-stick properties that, like fine wine, get better with age.

Carbon steel, like cast iron, can withstand high heat and over time acquire a naturally nonstick patina, but unlike stainless steel, it is very light and heats up quickly. The only thing you need to be a bit cautious of while cooking in carbon steel is acidic substances.

If you’ve been having trouble with food that sticks to your pans and pans that are difficult to clean, it might be time to switch to a carbon steel pan. Although carbon steel pans have many advantages, they do require a little extra care in order to maintain their superpowers. You must have to read carbon steel pan and cast iron cookware buying guide before purchasing cookware. So, the following are some Do and Don’t for cleaning a carbon steel pan.

Clean A Carbon Steel Pan

Steps To Clean A Carbon Steel Pan


Here are some easy, step-by-step instructions for maintaining and cleaning your pan. It could seem difficult to clean a carbon steel pan. However, after a few tries, it will become a routine for you and just require a small amount of extra time.

Step-1: Wipe Off Food Residue

As soon as you’re through using your pan, it’s a good idea to clean it down. After using your carbon steel pan, you should scrape off any leftover food. After cooking with carbon steel, rinse the pan immediately to remove any remaining food particles and to prevent them from burning into stains that will be challenging to get out later. By doing this, you can stop bacteria on the pan’s surface from proliferating. So, it’s probably time to re-season your pan if you realize it’s no longer as non-stick as it once was.

Try to carefully wipe the food remnants away. Make use of a cleaning tool with gentler bristles. Be cautious when using your carbon steel pan to avoid ruining the seasoning. Use a brush that you know will perform effectively for cleaning cast iron cookware.

Step-2: Let Cool

Next, place your carbon steel pan on the stovetop or the counter in your kitchen. The succeeding cleaning process will go more efficiently if you let it cool. No matter how much food is stuck to the pan’s cooking surface, always remember not to soak the pan.

Step-3: Scrub And Rinse With Warm Water

The next step requires cleaning the pan with warm water, a sponge, or a paper towel. You may exert much more pressure on a sponge to ensure that all of the remaining food particles are removed because sponges are often softer than bristle brushes. Keep in mind, however, that seasoned carbon steel pans are still more susceptible to deterioration than stainless steel!

Remove Stuck-on Food Particles- Add coarse salt to cooking oil and wipe the mixture with a rag or paper towel to remove stubborn food areas that won’t come off the surface. The abrasion from the salt will help you get rid of any food residue that is particularly difficult to remove from your pan.

Eliminate Rus- The above-mentioned technique utilizing kosher salt and steel wool pads can also be used to remove minor patches of rust. However, if your pan is extremely corroded, it will require additional assistance. One such technique involves bringing water and vinegar to a boil over medium heat in equal parts. The greatest solution for this is frequently rice vinegar. After adding the mixture, clean the pan. Rinse well with soap and hot water. Unfortunately, vinegar will completely erase all of the built-up seasonings on your carbon steel, so you must re-season the pan.

Step-4: Let Air Dry, Or Give It A Hand

Dry your pan over a burner set to medium heat once you’ve gotten rid of all the food leftovers. It shouldn’t take more than a minute or two for any remaining water to entirely evaporate. When it’s finished, you may switch off the burner and let the pan cool in its current location. Before putting your carbon steel pans away, it’s crucial to make sure they are fully dry inside because moisture may produce rust, which will destroy your pan for electric stove after all this effort. Instead, allow them to dry naturally for an hour before covering and storing them for later use. It’s crucial to let your carbon steel pan dry naturally.

Step-5: Apply A Light Oil Layer

After your pan has dried and cooled, brush a very thin layer of cooking oil or seasoning spray onto the surface. To spread the oil uniformly, brush it throughout the pan. Remember to coat the pan’s bottom, handle, and cooking surface. This will aid in defending it from any environmental dampness. This will add still another layer of defense against airborne moisture. If you never omit this step, the likelihood of having a rusted carbon steel pan to deal with is greatly reduced.

Generally speaking, you should steer clear of keeping your carbon steel pan under your sink or any other location where water could accidentally get on your cooking surface.

The Don't Of Cleaning A Carbon Steel Pan

Cast iron cookware and carbon steel can be cleaned similarly. Although it typically requires very little maintenance, there are a few things you should avoid if you want your pan to last a long time:

  1. Don’t Soak It In Warm Water

    Carbon steel is soaked in running water on your pan for an extended period of time, whether you’re using soap or not, will also harm it and spoil the seasoning and cause it to rust. In fact, if you wait long enough, water may seep under your pan’s surface, compromising the structure.

  2. Don’t Use Abrasive Brushes

    Cleaning your carbon steel pan with excessively abrasive products risks scratching the surface and destroying the seasoning. An abrasive scrubber is one of the most typical objects that can harm carbon steel pans. Steel wool, really stiff brushes, and rough sponges can all seriously harm your cooking surface. The explanation is that, like cast iron, carbon steel pans have thin oil coatings that keep their surfaces slippery. These brushes should only be used if you’re trying to fix a poor seasoning job. And only if you do it immediately after washing the pan.

  3. Don’t Use Dish Soap

    Your cast iron skillet/pan should be safe to use with a little amount of mild dish soap, especially if it has had time to develop a thick layer of oil. But you shouldn’t need to use it very often. Don’t try to wash the oil off of a carbon steel pan; it should be stored with a little oil still on it. Additionally, putting a carbon steel skillet in the dishwasher will unquestionably destroy it.

  4. Don’t Store When Wet

    Your carbon steel pans will rust quickly if you store them while they’re still wet. Before storing your carbon steel pans, make sure they are fully dry. When in doubt, use paper towels or a microfiber dish towel to blot the surface dry. Make sure your carbon steel pan is totally dry before storing it. That will lessen the chance of corrosion, perhaps. Additionally, rust is somewhat unavoidable if you reside in a more humid area, so be sure to store it somewhere as dry as you can and re-season it frequently if rust does develop.


The key to a carbon steel pan’s performance over time is adequate maintenance. It’s wise to keep your pans clean at all times, regardless of the type you’re using. However, keeping your pan clean is much more crucial when working with carbon steel. In comparison to ceramic, Teflon, or stainless steel, this kind of pan is far more likely to rust. Therefore, keeping your cooking surface clean is the greatest method to extend the life of your pan and avoid irreversible harm. For those seeking a healthy alternative to conventional nonstick cookware, carbon steel is a great option.

You may benefit from all the advantages of carbon steel without any of the hassles by knowing how to properly clean a carbon steel pan, and this article discusses that, which will undoubtedly help you all.

Rate this post
Evelyn Brown

Evelyn Brown is a housewife and spends most of the time at home taking care of her infant son. The time that she has left after cleaning the house and taking care of the son and the daddy is dedicated to making her mark on the internet. She loves to write about the kitchen appliances that she uses in her daily life. She also likes to spend quality time with her husband and drink aged wine and scotch.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *