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How to Clean a Flour Sifter

How to Clean a Flour Sifter

If you are a baker, you know how important it is to sift your flour regardless of the recipe. Sifting makes your flour lighter and easier to mix by breaking up any lumps present in the flour. It helps aerate your flour, giving it more volume and also removes any foreign substances. Sometimes you can sift flour with other dry ingredients like sugar or spices to mix them well. You will therefore require a flour sifter to meet these needs.

An ideal flour sifter has two mesh screen layers and is made from metal. On its side, there is a handle that you turn when you want to sift the flour. Your flour will pass through the first mesh into the second mesh when you turn the handle. At this point, your flour is ready to use. Using it is only one side of the flour sifter. Cleaning it is the other part.

How to clean a flour sifter

Cleaning a flour sifter can be easy or complex. It will require a different method of cleaning depending on its condition.

  1. Cleaning is as simple as holding your flour sifter over your dustbin and giving it a shake. You can also hit the sides to ensure you remove all the flour. This method is efficient when there is no flour stuck on your sifter.
  2. Sometimes you may feel like your sifter has stayed for an extended period without a thorough wash. You can wash your sifter with warm, soapy water. Ensure to use a soap with a mild scent and give it a good rinse to prevent your flour from picking scents from the soap. When you wash your sifter with water, you may experience some flour left in your sifter that forms a glue-like texture that clogs your sifter’s holes. To avoid such instances, you can soak your flour sifter in soapy water for about an hour before washing to dissolve hardened flour. You can then give it a gentle scrub and rinse it thoroughly.

Before use, ensure your flour sifter is completely dry. You can achieve this by drying it with a towel and then blowing it dry with a regular hair dryer set on low. You can also place your sifter in the oven on low heat to dry it thoroughly.

Check this too: How to Sift Flour Without a Sifter

Why it’s important to dry your flour sifter completely

It is essential to completely dry your sifter because a wet sifter will not sift. It will instead cause your flour to clump together, getting stuck at the center of your sifter. This will cause you to waste time trying to loosen the flour to get it out.

Another reason it is essential to dry your sifter completely is to prevent rust. When you do not dry your metal shifter promptly, rusting is inevitable. At this point, your sifter will require complex cleaning because you cannot use it as it is. If you sift your flour with a rusted sifter, your flour will get flakes of rust.

  1. Alternatively, you can use a bristled hose on your vacuum cleaner to vacuum your flour sifter. Vacuuming prevents your sifter from rusting as it does not get into contact with water. It is also a quick method of cleaning your flour sifter.

Cleaning flour stuck in a sifter

  1. Sometimes you will experience flour stuck in your sifter in spots that are hard to reach. The flour causes lumps that will require more effort to remove. You can use a sharp object like a toothpick or a bristled object like a toothbrush to help loosen the flour. After removing the lumps, you can then wash your sifter with warm, soapy water, give it a thorough rinse and dry it thoroughly.
  2. Alternatively, there are compressed air devices you can use to clean your sifter. The device works by blowing air into the flour sifter, which blows out the flour lumps. It is used to clean computer keyboards, and you can find it at an office supply store. This efficient cleaning method does not require getting your sifter wet, hence preventing it from rusting.

Why is it important not to wash a sifter?

Most times, simply shaking your sifter over a trashcan and hitting its side to remove all the flour is enough. If you store your sifter inside a drawer or a plastic bag after using it, you will not require additional cleaning. Again, its metal parts are prone to rust if not properly dried. To prevent your sifter from rusting, it is important not to wash a sifter.

However, it is advisable to get a plastic flour sifter; if you need a sifter you can wash as often as you require. With a plastic sifter, you dry it by leaving it on a rack until it is completely dry as it is not prone to rust.

Apart from rusting, it is advisable not to wash your sifter as the water may turn the flour particles into a glue-like substance that can clog the holes of your sifter.

How do you dissolve hardened flour?

  • Hardened flour will require more work. Start by scraping off as much flour as possible with a toothpick or toothbrush.
  • Pour a significant amount of hot water into your flour sifter to moisten the hardened flour. When it is moist enough, it will become easy to remove.
  • Let the water soak the flour for a few minutes for thorough saturation.
  • Use a toothbrush or any helpful tool to scrape off the moistened flour.
  • Moisten a kitchen cloth or brush and scrub your flour sifter. To avoid flour build up on your cloth, sprinkle some salt on it.
  • Sprinkle hot water where the hardened flour is yet to come off, and continue scrubbing until you get it all out.
  • Continue sprinkling water and scrubbing with a new part of the cloth each time until you remove all the flour.
  • For easy cleaning, you can add a few tablespoons of white vinegar to your water to boost saturation.

It is advisable to remove all flour from your sifter before it gets the chance to harden.

Can a sifter go in the dishwasher?

It is possible to clean your flour sifter in a dishwasher. The only problem is that if you put it together with other utensils, food particles may get trapped inside the mesh screen of your sifter. This will mean double work for you.

To avoid this tedious work, it is advisable to clean your sifter separately. Scrubbing it by hand will give you the best results. Although it will take time, you will achieve a sifter that’s as clean as possible. Use a coarse brush or a toothbrush to reach your sifter’s tiny holes and push out any stuck residue. 

How do you remove rust from a flour sifter

Rust is the enemy of all metal appliances as it reduces their longevity. To clean a rusty sifter, you can choose either of the following tips.

  • Soak your sifter in a mixture of a teaspoon of baking soda, a tablespoon of vinegar, and water. Use the amount of water that your sifter can fit into. Then scrub the sifter with steel wool.
  • Alternatively, soak your sifter in coca-cola for about an hour. Then scrub and wash.
  • If none of the above tips works, combine the two methods. Make a mixture of water,  coca-cola, vinegar and baking soda and soak your sifter overnight. Then wash with warm soapy water, rinse and dry thoroughly.
  • If your sifter is made from aluminium, you will need an alkali based cleaner like ammonia instead of vinegar.
  • If your sifter is heavily rusted and these tips do not work, it may be time to get rid of your sifter and get a new one.

It is advisable to avoid using any aggressive chemicals or degreasers to remove rust as they may cause contamination of your food.

Check this too: How to Cook Frozen Fries in an Air Fryer

How do you clean and restore an old flour sifter

To clean your vintage sifter, wash it in soapy water thoroughly, rinse and dry completely. In case of hardened flour or rust, follow the steps discussed earlier. A thorough wash is the quickest way to restore your old flour sifter and have it fully operational.


A flour sifter is undoubtedly an essential piece of kitchen equipment. As with other equipment, the more you take care of it, the longer it will serve you. Follow the cleaning procedure that best works for your needs.