Cleaning carbon steel is very similar to cleaning a cast iron pan. It generally is very low maintenance but there are some things you will need to avoid to ensure the longevity of your pan.
What to Avoid:
1. Do not put it in a dishwasher.
Carbon Steel pans are not dishwasher friendly and putting one in a dishwasher can ruin both the seasoning and the pan itself.
2. Do not soak in water.
Soaking carbon steel in water can ruin the seasoning and lead to rusting.
3. Avoid using Steel Wool or other abrasive materials to clean carbon steel.
Using overly abrasive materials to clean your carbon steel pan can scratch the surface and ruin the seasoning.
Now that we have covered what not to do, here are some methods for cleaning carbon steel:
1. Wipe it out with a rag or paper towel.
Since your seasoning is dependent on clinging onto those delightful oils that come off foods during the cooking process, wiping excess oil lightly with a rag or paper towel is enough to keep your pan clean and happy.
2. Rub with salt and oil.
For tricky patches of food that won’t detach themselves from the surface, add coarse salt to cooking oil and use a rag or paper towel to wipe the salt, and oil combination. The salt will provide some abrasion to assist with removing any stubborn bits of food from your pan.
3. Simmer water in the pan.
Another method for large chunks of food is to bring water to a simmer in your pan and then lightly scrape off food residue with a wooden or rubber spatula.
4. Add a tiny amount of soap and water
If all else fails, add a small amount of soap and lightly scrub with a sponge
Always, always dry your carbon steel pan off after cleaning it to avoid rust.