Your kitchen gets a lot of your attention. It’s probably the space you spend the most time cleaning.
Your pots and pans are one thing, and even your counter tops.
But, chances are you aren’t cleaning your blender properly.
When your blender isn’t clean, neither is the counter underneath it.
The problem is that most people don’t know how to clean their blenders properly. Here are 5 of the most common cleaning mistakes, and how you can do better.
There is good news though. Cleaning your blender doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming. Plus, your kitchen will be just that much cleaner and healthier when you put in the extra effort.
In this guide you’ll learn:
- Why is Blender Cleaning Important?
- What are the most common 5 blender cleaning mistakes?
- How to effectively clean your blender?
- And much more!
Why is Blender Cleaning Important?
There are a lot of dirty blenders out there, but your blender doesn’t have to be one of them. Leftover food particles in your blender jar can contaminate everything you make with it.
At best you’ll likely notice that your blender develops its own taste, and contributes that taste to everything you make with it. However, you can even risk food poisoning or worse when your blender jar isn’t cleaned properly.
Your blender base is just as important as the blender jar. Small food particles and other contaminants from your kitchen collect on your blender base over time. While those contaminants might not make it into the food in your blender, they’ll still spread germs and bacteria over your counter.
Properly cleaning your blender helps make sure your whole kitchen is clean. It also keeps you and your family safer whether you use your blender everyday or only a few times a year.
5 Ways You’re Cleaning Your Blender Wrong
Don’t worry. Cleaning your blender properly won’t take much more time or effort than the methods you’re probably using already. Make a few small adjustments and you’ll be well on your way to a cleaner, healthier blender.
Below are the 5 common mistakes in how you’re cleaning your blender wrong:
1. You Rely on the ‘Self-Clean’ Setting
2. You Don’t Clean the Blender Base Regularly
3. You Don’t Let Soap Sit in Your Blender
4. You Only Use Soap and Water to Clean Your Blender
5. You Don’t Hand Wash Your Blender’s Lid and Accessories
Common Mistake #1: You Rely on the ‘Self-Clean’ Setting
A lot of blenders have their own self-cleaning settings these days. Blending in self-clean mode almost always involves several minutes of blending with soap and hot water. Some may even heat the water for you!
The blender self-cleaning setting is a great option to save time. But while this setting makes it simple to clean your blender between uses, it isn’t enough to thoroughly clean your blender every time.
This is the common trap people fall into, thinking that using the self-cleaning setting will be enough to keep their blender clean. In fact, the self-cleaning setting of most blenders have several weaknesses.
First, most self-cleaning modes just don’t run long enough to properly sanitize.
As a result, the bottom of your blender jar will be cleaner than the top. That’s because it takes a little while for the soap and water to foam enough to fill the whole blender jar.
Adding more water can help get the lid cleaner, except that it’s also likely to overflow your blender toward the end of the self-clean cycle as it foams up.
The self-clean mode often isn’t effective enough to clean the corners of the lid, or get food particles out of the seal between the lid and the jar. It also may not clean the bends and ridges in your blender jar either (even the ones designed to help mix liquids in the jar).
Soap doesn’t completely clean or sanitize surfaces immediately. As a result, the top of the jar can still have bacteria and germs that haven’t been sanitized properly, even if the jar looks clean.
Don’t get me wrong, the self-cleaning mode is a solid addition to your blender. But the self-clean mode is more of a maintenance clean than a deep clean. It’s not supposed to get all these details.
That’s why it’s so important to clean your blender with other methods as well.
Here are some other common problems with the self-clean setting in your blender:
- May not remove sticky spots from sugary foods
- Won’t remove scalded food at the bottom of heated blenders
- Can easily overflow your blender if you add too much soap or water
- Doesn’t clean the area under your blender blades (in models where the blade is detachable)
- Can’t clean small areas inside the blender jar or lid effectively
Read More >> How to pick the best Blender for Indian Cooking?
How to improve:
Go ahead and continue using your blender’s self-clean mode if it has one. It’s a good option for quickly cleaning your blender.
However, you shouldn’t consider your blender’s cleaning mode a deep clean. Make sure to clean the blender jar with a regular sponge anytime there is stuck-on food, or any particles of food that your blender missed during the self-clean mode.
As an addition to using the self-clean mode, you should also make sure to wipe down the inside of the jar, the blender blades, and the lid every few uses.
Common Mistake # 2: You Don’t Clean the Blender Base Regularly
Your blender jar might do most of the work, but your blender base will still pick up food particles and other contaminants from the kitchen.
Bacteria and germs will collect on the base of your blender, feeding off any food particles or dust that’s allowed to collect. When your base sits on the counter, some of that bacteria will get on your counter, and from there it’ll get on everything on your counter.
That includes your food!
While you should definitely spend most of your cleaning attention on the jar, lid, blades, and blender accessories that came with your blender, the blender base needs some TLC from time to time as well.
Most people only wipe down the blender base when the blender overflows, or when the base is visibly dirty. That’s not nearly often enough.
How to improve:
If you rarely use your blender or keep it in a cabinet instead of on the counter, you should be cleaning the blender base before you use it. If you clean your blender base before using the blender you don’t need to worry about cleaning it after unless the blender overflowed.
If you’re like me and keep your blender on the counter and use it frequently, you’ll also need to keep your blender base more often.
Try to clean your blender base every week or so. Make cleaning your blender base part of your kitchen deep cleaning routine, and give it a wipe down with warm soapy water when you wash the counter.
Depending on where you keep your blender, you might want to clean your blender base even more often. If you keep your blender next to the stove, you should clean the base every time you cook with greasy foods.
Otherwise, grease splatters will accumulate on your blender base and eventually form a slick oily film over the plastic. Soap helps to cut through the grease and keeps your blender base good as new.
This video offers a pretty good summary of how to clean your blender, though I personally like to do a little more cleaning maintenance for my blender. Still, if you can adopt the habits recommended in this video (whether your blender is a Vitamix or another brand) you’ll be doing a lot better than most blender owners.
Read More >> What’s the Top Blender for Hummus?
Common Mistake #3: You Don’t Let Soap Sit in Your Blender
Do you ever leave soapy water sitting in your blender for a good soak? If not, you’re missing out on a key opportunity to cut through biofilm buildup on the inside of your blender jar.
Cleaning your blender on a regular basis is key to making sure your blender stays clean. But regular cleaning won’t completely sanitize your blender jar, especially if you’re working with a lot of probiotic foods.
That’s because probiotic foods naturally encourage the growth of bacteria. Some, like yogurt, have thousands of live beneficial bacteria cultures. The problem is that when those bacteria stay inside your blender jar they can mix with food they aren’t supposed to.
Bacteria overgrowth, even beneficial bacteria, can cause problems. Especially when there are multiple kinds of bacteria. While most won’t cause illness on their own, lots of bacteria and microbes in your kitchen can mold and ferment your food.
When you leave bacterial colonies alone for too long they’re more likely to become harmful and even pathogenic. That’s why it’s important to get rid of biofilm on your blender (and other kitchen surfaces!) before the bacteria cause a problem.
Regular cleaning doesn’t cut it when it comes to this biofilm. Don’t reach for the rubbing alcohol or bleach, either. All you need is regular dish soap, warm water, and a little time.
How to improve:
Once a month, fill your blender jar up with water to the fill-line. Add a little soap and mix it in. Then let the soapy water sit for 5-10 minutes. Soaking your blender in soapy water helps sanitize your blender just like soaking can help clean your dishes. Skipping this step will make it harder to clean your blender as it gets older.
Dump the soapy water and finish up with a quick scrub, or by running your blender’s self-cleaning mode.
The soapy water can sanitize your blender given enough time. 10 minutes should do it, but you can leave it soaking up to 30 minutes if you need to do something else at the same time.
Completely filling your blender means more of the jar is sanitized during the soak because it soaks longer than it does when you use self-cleaning modes.
Read More >> What are the Top Blenders for Nut Butter?
Common Mistake #4: You Only Use Soap and Water to Clean Your Blender
So far I’ve talked a lot about how to clean your blender with soap and water, but I haven’t spent much time on other important tools you can use to keep your blender clean.
Soap is good for sanitizing your blender, cutting through grease, and lifting food particles off the sides of the blender jar.
But, if you’ve noticed a smell inside your blender jar, you’ll notice that soap and water isn’t very good at getting rid of the scent. I find this especially true when I’m using my blender for blending stronger flavors, like with Indian food. Soaking with soapy water can help, since some of the smell might be because of the biofilm I mentioned before.
Still, even after multiple soaks there’s usually still a lingering scent.
It’s time to use some additional tools to clean your blender more effectively.
How to improve:
Baking soda, vinegar, and lemon can all be used to help keep your blender cleaner, smelling fresher, and to help maintain the jar.
Baking soda is the best blender deodorizer out there. Mix a little baking soda in water, fill the blender, and let it soak for an hour. Drain your blender and then clean as normal.
Vinegar is another good option for deodorizing your blender. It’s also a good way to remove sticky spots on your blender jar, and to help clear cloudiness from your jar’s walls.
Wash the inside of your jar with a vinegar soaked sponge for the best results. You can also soak your blender jar with a vinegar and water mix. Let it soak for about 20 minutes before draining. If possible, remove your blender blades before soaking with vinegar.
Lastly, lemon juice is a good replacement for vinegar, but is a little milder. Add a small amount of lemon juice to enough water to fill your blender jar and let it soak for up to an hour. Alternatively you can use a lemon slice to scrub the sides of your blender jar to cut through stubborn sticky spots.
Cleaning with these ingredients is a great way to freshen up your blender. You should still wipe out your blender after using any of these ingredients so that no residues are left behind. This is another scenario where using the self-clean setting to help finish the job is a good idea.
Common Mistake #5: You Don’t Hand Wash Your Blender’s Lid and Accessories
Your blender’s lid and other accessories are a huge part of how your blender operates. The lid prevents your blender from turning your kitchen into a sticky mess, while extra blades, a tamper, and other accessories make using your blender a lot easier and more effective.
However, like most blenders, these tools aren’t dishwasher safe. Self cleaning and quick-cleaning your blender generally isn’t enough to thoroughly clean your lid, much less your other blender accessories.
Sometimes a quick rinse is enough to clean off your blender accessories. It’s not enough in the long term though. Like everything else in your blender your blender accessories need a little more care an attention from time to time.
How to improve:
In addition to rinsing off your blender accessories every time you use them, it’s also important to give your accessories a more thorough wash.
Soap and water is generally enough, but you need to make sure you get the sponge into all the nooks and crannies of your blender lid, and any other accessories.
Your blender tamper is usually the easiest to clean, but don’t neglect your blender lid and additional blades just because they take a little longer.
My Final Thoughts on Cleaning Your Blender
Thoroughly cleaning your blender is a great way to make sure your family stays healthy. It’s a good idea no matter how often, or how rarely, you use your blender.
Giving your blender a thorough clean usually isn’t much more work than supervising the self-cleaning setting. There’s really no reason to skip the extra steps involved.
Plus, you can be proud of yourself knowing that your blender is much cleaner than most.