how to clean a spice grinder

A handy tool for anyone who loves experimenting with flavours in their food, a spice grinder can be a perfect investment for your kitchen. Unfortunately, if you don’t know how to clean a spice grinder correctly, you’ll end up with various flavours transferred from one mix to the next.

Some grinders are easier to clean than others. If what you have is a manual grinder, you can usually use water and other substances to clean it. A spice grinder powered by electricity, however, similar to a coffee grinder, won’t survive being placed in a dishwasher or a sink full of water.

Here’s what you need to know about cleaning spice grinders correctly.

How Do You Get Odours Out of a Spice Grinder?

Most spices have distinct smells, and grinding them will release odours into your spice grinders.

This can mean various whole spices you try to grind later are influenced by the fine powder of what you’ve ground before.

assorted seasonings

To remove the smell of freshly ground spices from your grinder, you can try a few different methods:

  • Grinding bread: Grinding a few pieces of bread – even stale bread from your kitchen, can be a great way to soak up anything left behind from the previous spices you’ve ground in the grinder. It’s quick and easy, and you end up with handy bread crumbs.  
  • Uncooked rice: using uncooked rice is also an excellent way to reduce the smell of grinding spices. Grinding rice with your spice grinder allows you to create rice flour, which you can use for baking later.
  • Baking soda: Baking soda is amongst the most common household substances you can use to clean your spice grinder. Two tablespoons of baking soda should be sufficient for most grinders, as long as you grind for a minimum of 30 seconds. You’ll need to use this method regularly after grinding spices like cumin, turmeric, and cinnamon.
  • White vinegar: White vinegar is another great product for removing spices, but you shouldn’t use it inside an electric grinder. Instead, soak a paper towel in white vinegar and allow the grinding device to sit with the paper towel on top of it for a few hours. Repeat weekly to clean your spice grinder on the outside. Don’t forget to rinse and wipe the grinder down to eliminate the vinegar smell.

Can You Clean a Spice Grinder With Water?

If you’re wondering why you would gently wipe your grinder down to remove residue rather than washing it in the sink, it’s best to check the instructions. Some manual coffee and spice grinders allow you to get the system wet. However, others include components that can rust and stop working correctly.

How to Clean a Manual Spice Grinder Correctly

Learning how to clean a spice grinder may be much simpler than you’d think. In most cases, you can use the same methods regardless of whether you’re using electric or manual spice grinders. These methods can also be helpful if you grind coffee and you can’t put your coffee or spice grinder in your dishwasher.

Step 1: Grind White Rice

Grinding uncooked rice is the best way to reduce smells after making freshly ground spices or even using a coffee grinder. Though the amount of rice you need will depend on your grinder size, you can usually use only a few tablespoons, so you don’t have to grind through too much. You may need more rice if you’re cleaning a coffee grinder.

Grind for at least one minute or as long as it takes for this method to transform the rice into rice flour. You can then dump the rice flour dust from your grinder, and this should remove the residue of any lingering dust and oils from substances like cumin and thyme.

Step 2: Brush Your Grinder

Another trick to get your grinder back into excellent condition is to use a toothbrush. This allows you to clean your machine’s various blades and elements without pouring a large amount of water into the system. A small toothbrush with a fine tip will help you get into various parts of the grinder machine to collect all the matter left behind by your herbs and spices.

You can use this same method to get your coffee grinder washed and ready to go back onto the machine. Tip your grind machine over the trash to remove any leftover debris your brush has shaken loose. You can continue this process to remove as much residue as possible.

Step 3: Use a Cloth for the Outside

If you’ve ever smelled your grinder after grinding various herbs like cumin in cinnamon, you’ll know it’s more than just the blades that hold onto residue. The lid and outside of the grinder can absorb smells too.

Use a paper towel to wipe the cover of your grinder, and make sure it’s as clean as possible. You can wipe the system with white vinegar to remove any unwanted smells. Just make sure you wipe with clean water again after this to remove the vinegar smell.

Clean Your Spice Grinder the Right Way

There’s more to cleaning a spice grinder or the grinder you use for your coffee beans than dunking it in a sink with dish soap. A damp cloth or paper towel and the cleaning tips above should be all you need to get your grinder back into good shape.

Remember, getting your grinder wiped and cleaned regularly will improve the taste of your spices by ensuring the flavours of different substances don’t blend together.

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