5 Tips for Cleaning a Food Steamer

Produce door of refrigerator full of carrots, broccoli and other vegetables
  • 2 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 10
What You'll Need
Mild soap
Dish cloth

A food steamer uses steam to cook vegetables and other food. They are available as stove top accessories or as electric appliances. Once the vegetables and other foods have been steamed, this kitchen tool needs to be cleaned of any food residue. It can be cleaned by hand or washed in a dishwasher. In either case, it is important that the cleaning is thorough and that the steamer is dried properly.

1 - Empty the Steamer

When the steaming is complete and you have served the vegetables, take any remaining vegetables or pieces of food out of the steamer. Either put them in a storage container or into the compost. If your steamer is electric, unplug it from the power source and allow it to cool completely. Remove any remaining water from the drip tray and the reservoir. Any water left in the water box can be removed by carefully turning the cooled appliance upside down over the sink.

2 - Soak the Steamer

Fill the sink with warm soapy water. Place the steamer into the full sink and allow it to soak for several minutes. Allowing the steamer to soak in warm water will loosen any food pieces they may be stuck to the tool. Electric steamers need to be soaked carefully. The base, the cord, and the plug should always be kept out of the sink. Never put them into water. For electric steamers, place the lid, the inner steaming container, and the drip tray in the warm water to soak.

3 - Wash the Steamer

white dishwasher open partway

Use a dishcloth to wash away all of the residues from the steamer. If your steamer is dishwasher safe, such as stainless steel pieces, place it in the dishwasher with enough space around it to allow the water to clean it thoroughly. Wash the electric steamer lid, inner container and drip tray with the dishcloth. If they are dishwasher safe, place them into a secure spot in the dishwasher. Carefully wipe the reservoir of an electric steamer with warm soapy water. Do not use any abrasive detergent in the reservoir.

4 - Dry the Steamer

Once the vegetable steamer is clean, use a clean dish drying towel to dry off any remaining moisture. Store the steamer in kitchen cupboards until you need it. Carefully dry all of the parts to the electric steamer with the drying towel.

5 - Hard Water Areas

If the plumbing system in the house has hard water, it easily builds up onto the element that heats the electric steamer. An accumulation of hard water scale can cause the steamer to shut off. Check the element regularly. If there is a build-up of scale, pour three cups of white vinegar into the steamer reservoir. Add water to the vinegar until the reservoir is full. Turn on the steamer and allow it to heat for twenty minutes. Unplug the steamer and allow it enough time to cool. Rinse the reservoir with cold water.