September 28

How to Clean A Food Processor | To Keep Your Appliance in Pristine Condition


Author: Cornelia Suehr and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

Figuring out how to clean a food processor isn’t always as easy as it sounds. For one thing, the steps involved in cleaning a food processor often differ from one machine to the next. In addition, some are a lot easier to clean than others, just as some have a tendency to make a real mess.

Ideally, this is something to bear in mind when choosing a food processor in the first place. Occasional and thorough cleaning will always be necessary, but the specifications and design of the appliance you choose will make a real difference, especially if you go for a top product like the one we reviewed here.

Thankfully, most modern food processors are fairly easy to clean with a few simple steps. Not to mention nothing more than a few simple things you probably already have in your kitchen.

Armed with little more than some soapy water, some baking soda, and a few drops of wine vinegar, you’ve more or less everything you need to clean all the parts of your food processor with ease.

How to Clean Food Processor: Cleaning After Each Use

With most food processors - see Ninja's Mega kitchen System - a quick touch of the button is all it takes to wreck a once-pristine unit. Instantaneously, food is blasted around the bowl and makes a mess of every single internal surface. Unlike blenders, they are not the best options for working on liquid ingredients as the particles will stick on the sides of the bowl as explained here. Even one of the top high-end food processors we reviewed won't do you much good with that. 

A dirty food processor bowl is one thing, but a container blasted with grease, and the sticky residue is an even bigger headache. This is why it is essential to get into the habit of cleaning your food processor fully after each use. Just a few minutes (or even a few seconds) is all it takes to save yourself a seriously laborious job later.

Not to mention, ensure you’re able to eat delicious food that doesn’t pick up the nasty flavors of what’s been left to degrade within.

In a nutshell, here’s a brief overview of the components of a food processor that need to be cleaned after every use:

nuts in the processor

The Blades

Cleaning the blade after each use isn’t only about hygiene. The longer any blade is left dirty, the more likely it is to deteriorate and lose its sharpness. Rest assured, a food processor blade that’s blunt is more of a hindrance than a convenience. Sadly, it’s rarely advisable to wash a food processor blade in a dishwasher. It’s something that needs to be done by hand, ensuring you don’t cut yourself on the blade in the process. Take it out, wash it in some warm soapy water the usual way and leave it to dry.

Damaged blade

Container and Lid

The easiest way to clean the lid and container is to put a few drops of liquid dish soap (and maybe a dash of vinegar) into the bowl, along with enough warm water to cover the blades. Then, all you need to do is run it (or pulse it) at its highest speed for a few seconds. This should blast enough of the soapy water around the inside of the unit to deal with the dirt, after which you can simply rinse it. On a side note, pulsing also helps with shredding meat as we already explained in other post.

white food processor

Corners and Crevices

Be it inside the blade or the middle of the feed tube; you will find or the whole bunch of awkward corners and crevices that harbor grease and grime. Thankfully, restoring them to mint condition is as easy as using a mini scrub brush (an old toothbrush is perfect) in conjunction with the same mild dish soap solution. A toothbrush really can be your best friend when looking to keep your food processor clean, which you will find yourself reaching for on a regular basis.


Cleaning on Occasion

The exterior of the unit doesn’t necessarily need to be cleaned after every use.  Of course, a quick daily wipe comes highly recommended in order to prevent it from becoming unsanitary over time. If more intensive cleaning of the appliance exterior is necessary, damp cloth in conjunction with some warm soapy water will usually do the trick. You can also scrub tough stains on the exterior with your preferred cleaning products, given how it doesn’t come into contact with the food inside.

easy to clean

Deep Cleaning Food Processors

Moving on, you will occasionally want/need to give your entire food processor a deep clean. But, mercifully, cleaning every bit of your appliance and restoring its showroom shine can be just as easy.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Mild dish soap
  • Dishcloths or sponge
  • Baking soda
  • Nylon brushes

Step by step, here is a breakdown of the easy way to clean a food processor without resorting to any harsh chemicals or degreasers:

Step 1

food processor

Step one is to ensure all the parts that can be removed from your food processor are removed and set to one side. At which point, you can determine which of them are dishwasher-safe and which you will need to wash by hand.

all parts

Step 2

food processor

Take note of any particularly stubborn stains and give the parts in question a good few minutes to soak. Place them in a bowl or container with plenty of warm water and some mild dish soap, along with a measure of vinegar or lemon juice for added cleaning power. Giving them a good soak will ensure you don’t have to scrub too hard to get rid of those stubborn stains.

dish soaking

Step 3

food processor

Be extremely careful when cleaning the blade so as not to hurt yourself or damage the cutting edge in the process. Avoid the temptation to use anything too abrasive, which could dull the edge of the blade and compromise its performance. In addition, it’s also important to fully dry the blade as soon as it is clean to prevent it from going rusty. The blade can also be soaked if necessary if food build-up and debris are difficult to remove.

sharp circles for a food processor

Apply a Little Baking Soda Paste

Step 4

food processor

Inside and out, every non-electric part can be scrubbed gently with baking soda, where an accumulation of dried-on food is problematic. You can put together a basic baking soda paste by combining baking soda with a little warm water before massaging it over the affected area with a damp cloth or nylon brush. Avoid the temptation to scrub too hard, as doing so could damage the surface.

spilled bottle baking soda

Step 5

food processor

Take the time to ensure that all the components of your food processor are fully rinsed of all residue when you have finished cleaning them. Use paper towels to soak up as much of the excess water as you can before placing the components in a suitable place and giving them plenty of time to dry. Don’t make the mistake of putting your processor back together when the parts are still wet, as doing so could increase the risk of mold and mildew developing.


Top Tip 

food processor

If you suspect mold has begun to form anywhere on your appliance, a diluted bleach solution can be used to eliminate it. After which, it is essential to clean the appliance thoroughly by following the steps above in order to ensure that all traces of the bleach have been removed.

clean processor

More Tips for Keeping Your Food Processor in Pristine Condition

Cleaning your food processor on a regular basis holds the key to maximizing its lifespan. Each time you prepare a fruit, a vegetable - see here how to chop vegetables - or an entire meal, a quick rinse and wipe really can make all the difference.

After all, a clean food processor is a happy food processor, no matter what you are using it for - see food processors for cheese, food processors for dough, or best appliance for dicing.

Other than this, there are a few more tips and guidelines that are essential for keeping your trusty processor in optimum condition:

  • Ensure you read the manufacturer’s guidelines in full and follow them to the letter. Whatever it says about cleaning your food processor in the instructions, that’s exactly what you should be doing – even if it contradicts everything in this list!
check it out
  • Always check what kinds of ingredients are compatible with your device. As reviewed here, most food processors are great for chopping and grating fresh vegetables, fruits, and so on, but not all have the power or capacity to deal with things like ice, nuts, and hard ingredients.
  • Never make the mistake of placing more in your processor than it can handle. If it says that the bowl has a maximum capacity of 10 cups, don’t push your luck by increasing this to 11 cups. Seriously – the results could be very messy, if not disastrous.
  • Unless it specifically says you can wash the removable parts in a dishwasher, never attempt to do so. The harsh and abrasive cleaning action of a dishwasher could damage or destroy your processor’s most vital components in which case the food processor may not want to turn on as we explained here.
  • Last up, only use warm water at a fairly moderate temperature during the cleaning process. Cleaning with boiling water (or thereabouts) may seem sensible for tougher stains but could again cause damage to the machine’s components.
7 cup food processors featured

And there you have it – how to clean a food processor in a matter of minutes, using only what you (probably) already have in your kitchen!

About the author

Cornelia Suehr

A professional chef and a passionate writer on all topics related to cooking, baking, appliances and kitchenware. Her posts resonate with foodies, home chefs and professionals.


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