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5 Kitchen Tools That Are Much Easier to Clean Than They Look

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It's always the turmeric that does it.

I was making a turmeric-spiced ginger-carrot soup and transferred it to the bowl of my food processor to purée it (an immersion blender is on my wish list). I whirled it. I emptied it. Gold, gold, gold—and, on the walls of my plastic food processor bowl, an especially stubborn gold, even after a good scrub.

Luckily, even stained food processors can essentially clean themselves—as can blenders, automatic drip coffee makers, French presses, and coffee grinders. No elbow grease involved.

Here's how:

Photo by Mark Weinberg

How to Clean a Food Processor or Blender

This is as simple as boiling a pot of water and adding something a little stronger to it.

Heat your water and pour it into your processor or blender. (You don't want to fill the thing completely with hot water—leave some room for it to splash around when you turn the machine on.) For every cup of hot water, add:

  • A 1/4 cup of white vinegar, OR
  • A few tablespoons of baking soda, OR
  • The vinegar and baking soda in the amounts above. Add them to the bowl of the machine, let the bubbling subside, then add hot water on top.
  • The Kitchn suggests whirling half of a lemon!
  • A few drops of bleach—this is a good resort if your machine is really stained, but vinegar should do the trick.

Put the lid on the machine, cover the top in a thick dish towel lest any hot water leak out of it, turn it on, and let it blend for 20 to 30 seconds. Empty out the solution, give the bowl and top a good swipe with a soapy sponge and then a rinse.

How to Clean a Spice Grinder (or Coffee Grinder)
How to Clean a Spice Grinder (or Coffee Grinder)

How to Clean a Coffee or Spice Grinder

Unless you want your cinnamon to also taste like cumin (or your coffee to taste like both), cleaning your blade grinder is an important step.

We have a whole article about how exactly do to do this, but here it is, distilled: Fill a grinder with uncooked rice, grind it up until the rice is powdery, then empty the rice powder out and wipe the inside of the grinder with a damp towel. Tada! The rice absorbs the oils from the coffee or spices.

One of the commenters on that piece, Andy Paysinger, says that you can use a few broken up saltine crackers and a few tablespoons of baking soda to the same effect. A good alternative if you just used the last of your pantry stock of rice.

Double-Walled French Press

Double-Walled French Press

From $75
Glass Brush

Glass Brush


How to Clean a French Press

It's one of the easiest ways to make coffee, but unless you are extremely diligent about cleaning your press as soon as you've finished your coffee (and kudos to you if you are), the oils in your coffee grounds—and some of the coffee grounds themselves—will embed themselves in the wire mesh of the press. And once they've hung out there for a while, they'll start to get sort of stale, and that will affect how your coffee tastes.

First, eliminate any grounds. Really give the mesh filter a good scrub—a brush is handy here. Then fill the French press with hot water and add baking soda, vinegar, or bleach (just a little, as you would with the food processor above). Put the top on, submerge the filter in the solution, and let it sit for a few minutes. Pour out the solution, rinse it, and give it a quick wash with a soapy sponge.

How to Clean an Automatic Drip Coffee Brewer

Drip brewers are prone to both coffee residues and buildups or stains from hard water. Happily, it's maybe the easiest to clean of all.

Add a cup or so of vinegar to the water reserve and fill the rest of the way with water. Make sure the carafe is beneath the drip, and then let it run through a brew cycle (but without, you know, coffee).

What are your tips for getting stains and residues out of your tools? Share them in the comments.

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Tags: Cleaning, Tips & Techniques