Erin Doman on July 8, 2016 4 Comments A rice cooker is a piece of electrically powered kitchen equipment that makes it quick and easy to cook rice to exactly the specifications you want. As with any piece of electrical equipment, it should be cleaned and maintained with care. When it is time to clean and care for your rice cooker, the first thing you should do is make sure it is unplugged. The following tips will give you everything you need to know about how to clean a rice cooker. Buy a Brand New Rice Cooker Here ` 1. Before Cleaning Your Rice Cooker These safety precautions will ensure that you avoid any hazards of improper rice cooker maintenance. The number one rule with any electrical appliance is not to expose any of the electrical parts to water. The base of your rice cooker that plugs into the wall should be kept dry at all times. This includes the hot plate inside the rice cooker that provides the heat when you turn it on. Remove the lid and pot and you will see the hot plate inside the cooker. Cleaning should only be conducted when this plate is completely cool. If you have recently used your rice cooker, give the plate at least 30 minutes to cool. The time it takes to cool will depend on which brand and model of rice cooker you have. It is a good idea to read the safety instructions that come with the cooker if you are not sure how long to wait. 2. General Advice Before reading the rest of these tips on how to clean a rice cooker, you should review and keep in mind these general advice tips. The way to maintain a rice cooker and keep it working as long as possible is to clean after each use. Make sure you give the hot plate ample time to cool down if you are cleaning it right after using. See the above tip if you’re uncertain as to how long you should wait for the cooker to cool down. You can also check with the manual that came with your rice cooker. If any food particles such as bits of rice are left on the hot plate when you use it again, they will become even further baked on, making cleaning more difficult and possibly compromising the effectiveness of the cooker. If you are using a cleaning solution, do not allow any excess chemical to get inside the rice cooker or around the hot plate. It’s better to avoid using any cleaner on the cooker itself. Use a moist rag to absorb any cleaner that accidentally drips down into the cooker. Mop up excess moisture that gets inside the cooker and make sure everything is totally dry before you plug it back in and use it again. Avoid using abrasive sponges or a scouring cleaner. A smooth cooker functions best. 3. Cleaning the Individual Rice Cooker Parts To get the most thorough clean for your rice cooker, it is best to wash each part individually. This will help your unit look and preform at its best. The inner pot can be removed and left to soak. Use soap and hot water. If there is a thick layer of rice stuck to the inside of the pot, remove it with a plastic spoon or spatula before soaking for optimal results. Wash the utensils of the rice cooker while the pot is soaking. If there are still some hard bits of rice stuck to the inside of the pot, you can take a spoon and carefully scrape them off. Be gentle with this process as you do not want to scratch the surface of the pot. After removing food remnants, give the pot another quick scrub with a sponge or brush, followed by another rinse. The lid may detach. If this is the case, you can wash and clean it just like the other detachable parts. If the lid does not detach, use a sponge soaked in hot soapy water to remove any residue and stains, and then go back over it with a rinse cloth, being careful not to get the inside of the cooker wet. If you have a dishwasher, you can place all the removable parts in with your other dishes for a deeper clean that’s less work for you. Allow each of the parts to fully dry after you have finished washing them. 4. How to Clean the Inside Any residue can be gently removed with a moist cloth. Make sure all moisture dries out before putting the clean pot back in. Consider using sand paper to scrape hard-to-remove residue off of the hot plate. If you use a metal utensil to scrape off the bits of food or rice that get stuck on the plate, you could accidentally scratch it, making the rice cooker more difficult to clean in the future and possibly inhibiting its functionality. Instead, using the rough side of the sandpaper, give the hot plate a complete rub-down, making sure that there is nothing left caked on. Any bits that are left loose after this process can be wiped away with a moist rag. 5. How to Clean the Outside Sometimes the exterior of the rice cooker can get food residue or stains on it, especially after a messy recipe. A moist rag should do the trick. If a stain is being particularly stubborn, you may want to use cleaning solution. It is imperative that you not get any cleaner inside the cooker itself. The best way to prevent this from happening is to spray the cleaning solution directly onto the rag and rub the stain until it is totally removed. Then use a damp cloth to remove any residual cleaner left over. The cord of the rice cooker might get dirty or stained as well, especially if the color is white or grey. You can clean the cord in much the same way, but remember that you will have to be as gentle as possible as a cord is a delicate part of the equipment and can render the rice cooker unusable if you damage it. As with all the other steps, make sure every part is completely dry before you plug the cooker back in for the next use. By following these pointers on how to clean a rice cooker, you will find your rice cooker’s life to be extended as long as possible. Following the safe and most effective practices is the best way to maintain any piece of kitchen equipment at optimum efficiency.