How to Clean a Rice Cooker

How to Clean a Rice Cooker


A rice cooker is one of the most versatile equipment there is, and for a household that regularly cooks rice, it’s basically an essential item to have. From white rice to cooked cereals and other dishes, a rice cooker can cook multiple dishes and can do so in a short amount of time.

If you’re a new rice cooker owner, you’re probably unsure how to clean a rice cooker. Rice cookers are easy to maintain, but like any electrical appliance, they need to be cleaned regularly for them to function at optimum efficiency. With how expensive some rice cookers are nowadays, it’s completely understandable that you’d want your unit to last for years, and keeping it in top shape is the sure-fire way to keep it running.

For cleaning rice cooker tips, simply follow the steps listed in this article.

What Should I Know Before I Start?

Before you properly clean a rice cooker, know first the different removable parts your model has. A conventional Tiger rice cooker, for example, might have more detachable parts compared to a Micom unit. This is covered in your rice cooker’s manual, and there should also be instructions on how to remove the pieces.

If you no longer have the manual, try searching for an online instruction manual on the brand’s website using your rice cooker’s model number. Remember that various brands and models have different components, maintenance requirements, and safety precautions, so before disassembling your rice cooker for cleaning, check the manual first.

Steps to Follow to Clean a Rice Cooker

To know how to clean a rice cooker, follow the steps below:

1. Turn Off the Appliance

If you’re cleaning the unit right after cooking, always ensure you’ve removed every food remnant from the inner pot. Remove cooked rice from the inner pot, unplug the unit from the wall, disconnect the cord if applicable, and let the unit cool.

2. Disassemble Removable Parts of the Rice Cooker

Disassemble the detachable pieces of the unit so you can clean them separately. Remove all utensils, gaskets, steam cap, the inner pot from the cooker, and the cover if it is removable. 

Wash any detachable items that are not electric components using warm and soapy water. This includes your cooker’s steamer tray, condensation collector, steam cap, ladle, and measuring cup. Rinse well and air dry. To save time, you can use a dishwasher instead of handwashing these items.

3: Wash Inner Pot and Other Detachable Parts of the Rice Cooker

Remove the removable lid, if any, and wash them as well. If you have a rice cooker with a non-detachable lid, gently wash off the inner lid with a sponge soaked in warm soapy water and again with regular water. Make sure that no water drips to the hot plate inside. To finish the cleaning, wipe the inner lid with a dry soft cloth or towel.

You can clean the inner pot in the dishwasher along with other kitchen utensils. Unless otherwise specified, inner pots can normally be washed in the dishwasher, however, if there is food residue or rice stuck to the pot, it’s best to let it soak in a mixture of hot water and dish soap or dishwashing liquid for a few hours. Once all particles are removed, use a regular soft sponge or a moist cloth to scrape the inside of your pot before rinsing it with warm water. 

After that, dry your bowl by hand using a cloth, towel, or rag to remove excess moisture.

4. Clean the Heating Element Inside the Rice Cooker

If any food has made its way into the interior, it can be very difficult to clean. Keep in mind this is where the electrical parts of your stove are located so washing directly with water is not applicable.

If you intend to clean these areas using a cleaning solution, make sure to spray or squeeze the cleaning agent onto a moist cloth and not directly to the area. Using this moist towel or sponge, gently wipe away any excess food on the interior and the hot plate. Make sure that you’re using a slightly moist rag, and not one that is dripping wet. 

If there are any stubborn stains, you can use the rough side of sandpaper to wipe the heating plate. Never use a metal utensil to scrape off stubborn stains, as it may potentially leave scratch marks. Once there’s no leftover rice or food in the heating plate, gently wipe the interior with a rinse cloth. Don’t use paper towels as they might break off and stick to the hot plate.

Make sure inside the rice cooker is completely dry before assembling the unit.

5. Clean Outside of Rice Cooker

If the outside of the cooker has stains or food particles, wipe it off with a damp rag. If you need to use a cleaning solution, spray it onto a towel rather than straight onto the unit. Allow no cleaning solution to go inside the rice cooker. If any cleaning solution goes inside the cooker, wipe it up as soon as possible.

If required, use a damp cloth to gently clean the disconnected power cord.

Final Note: How To Clean A Rice Cooker

Cleaning your rice cooker shouldn’t take you more than a few minutes off your day, as long as you regularly clean it every once or twice a week. If you’re too busy, you can schedule a cleanup every weekend. 

A clean rice cooker, after all, means meals free from residual mold and bacteria, so maintaining this appliance is well worth your effort. For more rice-related articles and news, you can visit our site.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I clean my rice cooker?

As much as possible, it is better to clean a rice cooker regularly. The inner pot needs to be cleaned after cooking rice, while the other components can be cleaned at least once a week.

How do you remove rice residue from a rice cooker?

For hard to remove residue, soak the pot overnight in the hot soapy water to soften the stuck food. It’s important to remove all residues because if any remains are attached to the edge of the pot, it may actually cake to the side, making cleanup that much more difficult in the future.

After soaking, gently remove any particles off the edges of the rice cooker pot with a plastic spoon or any wooden utensil. Metal utensils can scratch the inside of your pot and can remove the non-stick coating, so a plastic utensil is recommended.

How do I clean my rice cooker with vinegar?

It’s not recommended to use vinegar to clean your rice cooker, particularly if your unit has an inner pot with a nonstick coating. You can use a mixture of baking soda and water as an alternative, but if you really need to use vinegar to get rid of a foul smell, simply follow the steps below.

  1. In the inner pot, mix water and distilled/white vinegar in a 50/50 or 3:1 ratio, depending on how smelly the rice cooker is
  2. Turn on the rice cooker and wait for it to boil. Once the solution has started boiling, turn off the machine and let it cool down.
  3. Thoroughly rinse the pot with water and wipe with a dry cloth.

How do you disinfect rice cookers?

As much as possible, try not to use harsh chemicals while cleaning your rice cooker, as these chemicals might leave some residues and can get stuck on the food you’ll cook. However, if you want to disinfect your appliance, mix 2 tablespoons chlorine bleach, 2 tablespoons dishwashing liquid, and enough hot water to cover all the parts you’ll disinfect. 

Soak the removable parts of the rice cooker in this solution for a few hours and rinse thoroughly. Air dry completely or use a dry cloth to wipe the components before assembling the rice cooker back together.

How to clean rice cooker with mold?

To clean mold from rice cookers, you can use the solution stated above. Remove all visible mold from the cooker with a plastic ladle and wash with a soft sponge and warm soapy water. Rinse thoroughly. Using the disinfecting solution above, soak the removable rice cooker components for at least three hours. Rinse with warm water and dry.