Investing in a rice cooker is a great way to seriously improve your quality of life if you’re someone who eats a lot of rice.
They’re convenient to use and produce consistent results, without the need to stick around by the hob with a watchful eye, desperately trying to make sure it doesn’t spill over or spoil by burning on the bottom of your pan.
To make sure your rice cooker keeps producing perfect rice, it’s important to maintain the quality by cleaning it after every use.
No one wants the lingering smell or taste of the last batch you cooked tainting the taste of your current meal, and it will also extend the lifespan of this handy kitchen appliance.
How to Clean: Step By Step Instructions
1. Allow to Cool Down
After you’ve finished cooking the rice and before you can start to clean your machine, first, you need to allow the appliance to cool completely.
That includes the inner lid, inner pot, steam pot, and if the exterior of your model heats up, then the exterior, too.
Ignoring this important step could result in you burning your hand when you get to step 2.
2. Remove The Parts
Take out the inner pot and detach the inner lid, steam cap, gasket, dew collector, and spatula if using these accessories.
Use both hands to lift the inner pot out, especially if you have a larger sized rice cooker, as this could be heavy and you don’t want to drop it or damage the cooker as you remove it.
Next, remove the lid, again with both hands. Remove any other detachable elements or accessories such as the steam cap. This can be detached by inserting your fingers into the space designed to release it and lift upward to pull it out.
3. The Solution
Using two tablespoons of chlorine bleach, 2 tablespoons of dishwashing liquid, create a solution that will help to sanitize your rice cooker. You’ll need to add this to enough water to submerge the parts in your sink or tub.
Leave them to soak for a few hours, preferably between 2-3, although it shouldn’t do any harm if you leave it a little bit longer by accident.
In fact, if you have some particularly stubborn rice or liquids that have hardened and stuck to the pan, you could even leave it to soak overnight, as this will soften the grains making them easier to remove.
Once they’ve finished soaking for the recommended amount of time, thoroughly rinse them off and give them a wipe over with a cloth towel until they’re fully dry.
Always put the rice cooker back together, but only when it’s completely dry. It’s best to let the individual components air dry naturally then you can reattach them to the rice cooker and place the inner pot back inside the appliance.
Using a damp towel or cloth, wring out as much of the water as you can and use it to wipe around the inside of your cooker once more to get rid of any streaks that may have dried onto the sides. Give it a wipe with a dry cloth afterwards to remove any excess water.
As well as the inside, you should also wipe down the outside of your rice cooker, as this can become dirty through general usage, spills, and dust. Wiping this down will keep the finish shiny.
Make sure you only use a dry cloth when you’re cleaning around the power cords, however. We all know that water and electrics don’t mix!
All About That Base
When cleaning down the exterior of your rice cooker, don’t forget to give the base a good wipe! It’s a breeding ground for stains and fingerprints from when you move your rice cooker around, so to keep it clean use a damp cloth to wipe any marks off.
It’s a good idea to use a cleaning solution that won’t leave streaks or spots, because this is almost as bad as the original fingerprints. To have it looking as shiny and streak-free as possible, try to avoid using cleaning products with ammonia as this will only worsen the look of your rice cooker base.
We recommend a solution of white wine vinegar and water in equal measurements with a bit of cloth.
If you don’t have any white wine vinegar to hand at home and you do end up using a chemical-based cleaning product, spray it onto the cloth directly instead of on your machine, as this will help with streaks and also ensures you don’t accidentally spay any into the inside of your rice cooker.
Non-Abrasive Cleaning Products
It’s worth noting that you shouldn’t ever use any abrasive cleaning products or materials when you’re cleaning the inside of your rice cooker pot, as this can ruin the finish and result in bits of the non-stick coating peeling off and being eaten in your next mouthful.
Another tip is to avoid washing up your other appliances or utensils inside the inner pot, as this could also cause scratches or paint to peel. Always wash your utensils separately and don’t put them back in the pot to dry, either. Instead, allow them to air dry on your drying rack.
What if Food is Stuck to The Hot Plate
Sometimes when you make rice, even in a rice cooker, individual grains (or sometimes even clumps of rice) get stuck to the bottom of the hot plate inside the pot. Most are manufactured with a non-stick coating to prevent this, but even then a few grains can get left behind.
We wouldn’t recommend trying to scratch it off with a spatula or other utensil, as this could also result in scratching or damaging the base of the inner pot.
We’ve already mentioned that you can soak the inner pot in water overnight for any particularly tough jobs, but another tip would be to use a bit of sandpaper to scrub away any leftover residue. Use this to dislodge or loosen any bits of rice, then use a cloth to wipe them away.