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I have had this steel wok for about ten years. After the original seasoning and a little touch up it has been a great tool. Then I used it last night and the seasoning completely broke down. I didn't notice any problem before I used it and no, I don't clean it with soap.

Any ideas why this happened? More importantly what do I do now? Can I re-season it in this condition or do I need to strip it first somehow? Or is it a total loss?

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I agree with @phatch . Sometimes, the seasoning builds up to the point where it can no longer hold and it breaks down. It usually takes quite a while or a metric sh*t ton of use over a relatively short period of time for this to happen.

But, the wok is not trashed. Like phatch said, some steel wool and some elbow grease will go a long way. I would recommend boiling some lemon juice and vinegar diluted with a splash of water (don't breathe it in lol) in the wok and then scrub it while its still hot, but, cool enough so you won't burn yourself.

When you re-season the wok, its perfectly fine to use mild soap and water to clean it. The "seasoning" is literally when the oil used in the wok is heated to the point where the oil's chemical makeup changes. The oil polymerizes and bonds with the metal. The polymerized oil hardens and fills the tiny nooks and crannies of the metal which gives the metal non-stick properties. Mild soap and water will not harm the seasoning. If the wok has stuck on bits, you can boil some water in the wok and it that will help release the stuck on bits without having to scrub. Repeated scrubbing can remove the seasoning.

Good luck. :)
 

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Worst case take it back to bare metal and re-season a few times. Treat it likea brand new carbon steel wok and go from there. I have done that to mine twice now...

if just a little bit peels off just reason that area but yours looks like it needs a do over...
 
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