Cleaning up the kitchen utensils may not be the most enjoyable part of your day but it certainly protects you from worse enemies like bacteria and rust.
However, not all of our cookware items are made to be cleaned up the same way! That is because each material of such pieces has a different set of physical and chemical features.
For instance, carbon steel pans need to be cleaned up in a different way from other usual pans for its unique reaction to moisture. Here we discuss how to clean carbon steel pan in the most effective ways, why we use it and more!
What Is Carbon Steel And Why Should You Use It?
Carbon steel is one of the many variations of steel where the original material is combined with about 0.05% to 2.1% of carbon content. These portions have been defined by the American Iron and Steel Institute or AISI.
It is different from stainless steel since it can provide better heat distribution, higher durability and more malleability. Carbon steel has risen in popularity for the cooking enthusiasts because it excels as a non-stick cookware. Besides, they are oven-safe, lightweight and easy for you to toss the ingredients.
How To Clean Carbon Steel Pan Easily?
1. Right After Cooking
There are some differences between cleaning a pan right after cooking and doing it after a while with the other dirty dishes. If you just got done with cooking on a carbon steel pan, you can follow the steps below to clean up the fresh food residuals right away!
A. Let It Cool Off
It would be a mistake to put the hot pan under running water right after you take it off the stove. Doing so would set off a thermic shock which can damage the pan’s functionalities.
That is why you will need to let it have enough time to cool down a little before you can start the cleaning process. However, it can also not be completely cold since water might damage its seasoning then.
For the best results, just put it aside for a while after cooking to let the immediate high heat get cooler with time and then proceed to the next step when it is still slightly warm.
B. Wipe With Paper Towel
Take a clean paper towel to gently wipe the pan’s inner surface. You can also use a clean dish-towel to remove most of the dry residuals from your carbon steel pan, as well as unused oil or grease. This can make the subsequent steps easier since you will not have to deal with the majority of leftover particles.
C. Scrub Off Excess Residual
There can be some residual on the pan which is tougher than the rest. Normally, you could just take some highly effective dishwashing liquid and rub it in the respective spots. However, carbon steel should not be drenched or soaked in water since it can lead to the formation of rust.
That is why you can take only a little amount of warm water and gently scrub the pan surface. A brush with soft bristles would provide the most satisfactory results.
D. Dry And Heat
Since the contact between carbon steel and water should be minimum, you will need to dry it up right away. The remaining water content left on it after the last step should not stay there for too long. So the best course of action to take here is heating up the pan on your stove at low flame.
2. Regular Cleanup Tips For Carbon Steel Pan
A. Pour Warm Water
It is tricky to clean up and restore carbon steel pan during the regular dishwashing routine because of the abundance of water all around.
So set aside this pan from the rest and then you can begin the cleanup by pouring a small amount of warm water on its inner surface.
Alternatively, you can dip a soft towel in warm water and then use it to transfer the warm moisture on your pan’s surface which can loosen up the debris.
B. Clean With Sponge
Now take a sponge or a brush with soft bristles to clean up the moist pan. Scrubbing a carbon steel surface like this roughly can lead to damaged features.
That is why you will need to be as gentle as possible while also ensuring removal of the residual or dirt present there.
After getting rid of all the leftovers and other such particles, you will need to dry up the carbon steel pan as efficiently as possible. This will help to shorten the length of its contact with moisture significantly.
As we mentioned before, the best way to achieve this is to put the pan on a stove to heat it up and vaporize the remaining water. Alternatively, you can make use of a paper towel or a lint-free cloth to gently but firmly wipe out the moisture.
D. Oil Your Pan
Properly concluding your cleanup routine of the carbon steel pan is as important as the other steps. After drying the pan, you will need to take another paper towel and fold it. Then apply a few drops of vegetable oil or a similar neutral oil to it through the multiple layers.
Now wipe this oiled towel over both the inner and the outer surfaces of your pan. It should make a paper-thin layer of the oil which will work to protect its seasoning. Besides, it will also prevent further contact with water.
3. Special Cases
A. Salt For Stubborn Proteins
It is harder to get rid of certain stubborn proteins from the pan than other usual leftover pieces. However, salt can emerge as the superhero you need in these situations. clean carbon steel pan with salt is very effective method.
This will only work when you are just done with cooking a dish on the pan and it is still hot. Firstly, it should be dried off effectively with low heat on the stove. Then you will need to spread half a cup of salt there and use a paper towel on it like a mild abrasive.
Here is the video guide that you can follow:
B. Way To Remove Rust from Carbon Steel Pan
If your carbon steel pan has already developed a rust formation on its surface, you can still get rid of it in two ways. The first one involves gently scrubbing off the rust stain. It is recommended to apply it in circular motion to cover each point. This method works only if the stains are still surface-level.
In order to get rid of tougher rust stains, you will need to use a mixture of water and vinegar in a 1:1 ratio. Put it in a container and boil. Then pour it on the affected areas so that the vinegar can dismantle the molecular bonds present in rust and make it possible for you to remove the dirt.
Tips To Maintain and Clean Carbon Steel Pan
1. No Dishwasher
It is absolutely crucial to never clean your carbon steel pan in a dishwasher. This puts the cookware in jeopardy since water or moisture is deadly to its most valuable features. For the same reasons, you should refrain from using dish soap or steel wool on the delicate surface of this pan.
2. Don’t Soak
Typically, when we think of dishwashing, we automatically imagine a sink where we can clean all the dirty utensils and cookware one by one.
This often involves soaking each piece in water or a cleaning solution. Carbon steel pans differ in this area since it should be miles away from water or moisture.
That is why you should NEVER soak it in water or any other solution. Doing so will definitely lead to rust formation on the cookware.
3. Store In A Dry Place
As you are well aware by now, carbon steel can easily form rust if it has been in contact with water for a long time.
That is why, you should find a dry place to keep it when the pan is not being used. If there are other pans with similar features and restrictions, you can store them together with this carbon steel pan in the area.
While it may initially seem like the details of how to clean carbon steel pan are more complicated than others, you will soon realize that it actually makes the dishwashing session easier! That is because you no longer have to worry about water splashing on your clothes for this kind of pans.
You can complete the entire cleaning process without dealing with the moisture at all! It only needs a clean paper towel or similar soft piece of cloth, along with the low heat of stoves to be cleared off the residuals.
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