Like a mandoline slicer or a vegetable peeler, a cheese grater is one of those kitchen tools that comes with an extra touch of danger. Sometimes, a little extra danger is a fun thing, like how one out of every 10 shishito peppers turns out to be spicy, and you don't know which one. But in the kitchen, where I’m already contending with fire and knives, I don’t need the extra stress.
I’m talking about how annoying it is to be able to clean a cheese grater without a) the shredded cheese getting stuck everywhere, making the process take way too long and b) putting my knuckles in danger. And spare a thought for your poor sponge!
There are already some clever approaches that address the issue, including running a lemon wedge over the grater before rinsing, or grating a raw potato after you grate the cheese to dislodge the soft, fatty bits. Either one might work for you, but they don’t quite work for me because when I remember to buy lemons, I’m not planning on sacrificing one to my cheese grater and the same thing goes for the potato—no offense to anyone who makes their own hash browns.
Now, onto the good stuff. My favorite answer is not to turn to your produce, but to utilize a resilient bristle brush like this vegetable scrubber with natural bristles, or even a cheaper nylon brush. The bristles are short and mobile enough not to get stuck in the grates, and you don’t even need to brush that hard, so those grates will stay sharp. Just run under warm water immediately after, and you should be left with a gunk-free grater.
Best of all, there’s a healthy amount of distance between your fingers and the grater’s danger zone. If that’s not worth adding a cleaning brush to your shopping list, I don’t know what is!
Have a trick for cleaning out your gunky cheese grater without sacrificing your fingers? Let us know in the comments below!