The aroma from freshly ground spices is unbeatable. There have been several innovative ways of grinding spices with time, but the most reliable tool is the spice grinder. However, cleaning your spice grinder can be a bit of a headache. The oils from the spices build up and become stale and rancid over time.
A spice grinder cannot be washed under water as it may damage the machine’s mechanics, but there are several effective cleaning methods. You can dust off your grinder using a brush between uses; you can use rice or bread for a deeper clean and white vinegar and baking soda to remove smells. Read further to know how, when, why, and how to clean your spice grinder.
Signs that it’s time to clean your spice grinder
Ideally, it would be best to clean your spice grinder every 3 to 6 months to prevent build-up. However, the more you use it, the more it should be cleaned. You should also do some light cleaning after every use.
So why clean your spice grinder in the first place? Cleaning increases the longevity of its use. Like any other machine, spice grinders should be cleaned once in a while to maintain the grinder’s efficiency. The spices’ residue becomes sticky over time, which clogs up the moving parts of the grinder.
If you don’t also clean it regularly, you may find yourself with an odd combination of unwanted flavors in your food.
Clean your grinder frequently to prevent bacteria growth and keep you healthy. Spices stuck in your grinder become moist and turn into a breeding ground for mold and bacteria.
Below are some of the signs that time to clean your spice grinder:
- Clean your grinder when you notice a visible build-up of the spices.
- When your spice grinder grinds slower than usual or jams while grinding, it means that the spices are clogging up the moving parts of the grinder.
- Clean your spice grinder when it starts giving off an unusual smell. This smell comes from the residue becoming stale over time.
- When the grinder takes longer than usual to completely pulverize your spices, the spices and oils can cake up on the blades, making them dull.
Is my spice grinder cleanable?
There are many spice grinders in the market; we have table pepper mills, disposable plastic spice grinders, manual and electric grinders. Depending on the construction and design, all types of spice grinders are cleanable with the appropriate cleaning method.
The disposable spice grinders, which come as non-refillable and refillable, are considered single-use units. These grinders are inexpensive compared to other styles of spice grinders. Though not the most durable, they can be reused. They are washed under running water when you remove any metallic parts or use a damp cloth.
The electric grinders are the most reliable grinders, though high maintenance. They cannot be cleaned in water since this may damage its electronic parts. A good wipe down using a clean damp cloth with rubbing alcohol does an excellent job cleaning and disinfecting your grinder. Additionally, the most recent grinder models have dishwasher-safe containers and lids.
Check this too: How to Grind Spices Without a Grinder
Spice Grinder Cleaning Steps
There are several ways you can clean and care for your spice grinder using ingredients readily available in your kitchen.
Things You’ll Need
- Uncooked rice
- White vinegar
- Damp washcloth
- Rubbing alcohol
Using uncooked rice
- Pour a quarter cup of uncooked rice into your grinder and run it until it turns into flour. The crushed rice carries away the residue spices and absorbs the oils to eliminate any flavors left.
- Pour out the crushed rice.
- Unplug your grinder from the power source if it is an electric model.
- Carefully wipe the grinder with a clean damp washcloth to remove any remaining rice residue from all the nooks and crannies. Be aware of the blades when cleaning with a washcloth.
You can use dry bread as a substitute for rice.
- Put a couple of dry bread slices into your grinder and run it for a minute or two. Avoid using fresh bread as it may turn gummy when grounded.
- Pour out the bread crumbs.
- Wipe the grinder with a clean washcloth damp with water or rubbing alcohol.
Using a brush
- Unplug the grinder from the power source.
- Tap out any remaining spices.
- Using a brush, clean out any residue from the blades and crevices.
- Dampen a clean washcloth with rubbing alcohol and wipe down the inside surfaces. Rubbing alcohol will disinfect and also absorb any oils from the grinder.
- Wash the lid with dish soap and water.
Using white vinegar
White vinegar is the secret to getting rid of odors from your grinder.
After grinding savory spices and herbs, or if you want to use your spice grinder for coffee beans, spices’ smells can build up, affecting other spices’ flavors and aroma.
- Make sure your electric grinder is switched off and unplugged after using rice or bread to clean out the residue.
- Slightly dampen a clean washcloth with white vinegar and wipe down your grinder. Then let it air-dry, and you’ll have a fresh smelling spice grinder.
Cleaning and reducing build-up in your spice grinder will ensure it serves you effectively and efficiently for longer. Keep in mind that the frequency of use dictates how often you’ll need to clean your spice grinder. So don’t be afraid to use your spice grinder with these cleaning tips under your sleeve.