Silvery/grey coating on my wok. What is it?

Joined Sep 4, 2012

I've received a wok as a gift from a Chinese lady which has a silvery/grey, sort of graphite-y coating. By graphite-y I mean it's similar in colour and shine to lead from a pencil. I can't seem to remove it! The coating comes off pretty easily onto my hands and paper towels. I've tried to clean it off by cleaning it with hot soapy water and a green scourer,  heating it on a high flame for a few minutes and swishing some vegetable oil around for ten minutes or so (producing a LOT of smoke), then washing it again with boiling water and the scourer, and finally wiping dry with paper towels. The coating still persists! I haven't cooked anything in it yet.

The brand is KTL Kitchenware (can't find anything online), and looks quote rustic; round bottom, fairly thin and reasonably light — my guess it's steel (not cast iron) but I'm not sure. It looks almost hand-hammered, the texture being quite rough on the inside, with what *looks like* paintbrush strokes. Both handles are welded on and have no plastic or wooden parts.


1. I've never come across a coating such as this on any cookware, but I'm only a home cook. Does it sound familiar?

2. Do you think I need to scrub it harder/longer/burn it in more to remove it? I'm concerned about getting it in my food.

3. Does it sound safe?

Any thoughts and advice is appreciated!

*The paper towel image below was after about half-dozen rubs with a dry towel on a dry wok, after my attempted seasoning.

Last edited:


Staff member
Joined Mar 29, 2002
Give it a good scrub inside and out with a green scotchbrite pad or steel wool. Rinse well, dry, oil and season again.

To me, that looks like a cast iron wok. At least I've never seen a steel wok that thick. Thinly cast iron is what woks were before the carbon steel took over and they can still be found. I've read good things about such woks but never encountered one personally. They are supposed to cook well and be light enough to toss food with. Just more brittle so no sudden shocks.
Joined Sep 4, 2012
Thanks for the quick reply.

I guess I've never seen steel that thick and be light enough to toss, nor have a seen cast iron that thin :) it does feel a bit brittle. 

So you think the residue is part of the cast iron process? Nothing to worry about in terms of dodgy carcinogenic chemicals?

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