The most annoying kitchen utensils to clean

Clean as you mean it shows you how to tackle the trickiest places in your home, whether they’re just gross or in need of some elbow grease. You’ll get the cleaning secrets we learned from grandma, a guide to our handiest tools and helpers, and so much more. Put on those rubber gloves and line up to listen to the music: it’s scrubbing time!

It’s okay, we’ve all been there. You choose not to use a handy tool in your kitchen for one simple reason: so you don’t have to clean it. Many of these devices make it easy to chop, shred, or grate, but that comes with very specific cleaning challenges. Sure, the meal turned out to be excellent, with rave reviews, but the time spent at the sink afterwards sometimes makes you wonder, Was it really worth releasing this thing? If you’ve spent way too long scrubbing, destroying sponges, and realizing there are so many other things you’d love to do with your time, here are some surefire ways to wash some of the hardest-to-clean tools. in your kitchen.

Box grater

You’ve seen the horror right before your eyes – either stuck-on bits that have hardened over time, or a ragged and completely unusable sponge after trying to clean your box grater. It’s so handy for cheese and vegetables, but washing it off can be a challenge. The best way is to either soak the grater in hot water right after using it, or rub it gently with vinegar to remove those loose bits. Rubbing in the opposite direction of how you grate should help get rid of tears. If some of these lumps are particularly stubborn, especially with foods like hardened cheese, try soaking them overnight, then using a bottle brush to scrub the next day.

Culinary robot

This useful gadget can become a workhorse in your kitchen, but there are so many damn rooms to clean. After disassembling it, focus on the blade first. For added reassurance, you can wear gloves, but since the blade is likely to hold the most food bits, it’s important to wash it as soon as you’re done. The other parts (besides the base/motor) can soak if you don’t want to clean them right away. Gently wipe the base and if there are stubborn bits in the crevices, use baking soda or vinegar.

Also check with your manufacturer if the removable parts of your food processor are dishwasher safe. Most should be safe to go as long as you place them on the top shelf of the dishwasher.

Fine mesh sieve

Oh, the agony of scrubbing those little holes, only to see food still stuck in them, no matter how vigorously you rinse and scrub. Just keep in mind that when you’re done straining, bang the strainer against the sink to loosen the bigger bits, then soak it in hot, soapy water (frankly, the key to most tools here). Use the rougher side of your sponge and a spray nozzle if your sink has that option after soaking. Allow the sieve to air dry on the counter for best results, as a towel probably won’t be able to reach all of the water in the small holes in your sieve.


Before you gaze longingly at your fork, there’s a really simple way to clean your whisk: if you whisk some hot, soapy water into the bowl you used for said whisk right after using it, you’ll be set. If your whisk has been a long-term child’s issue, let it soak in the bowl overnight before refilling it with cool water and soap and whisking again.

Potato masher

The key here: Wash it immediately in hot water after using it. It’s a tool you don’t have to wait to clean. If you let it sit, the potato residue becomes hard and sticky, making cleanup a real pain. Many are dishwasher safe, but always check with the manufacturer first. If your potato masher is plastic or stainless steel, you’re probably stuck cleaning the potato masher the old-fashioned way. But as long as you get there right away, it shouldn’t be a problem.

Garlic press

You could say there isn’t too much garlic, which is why owning a garlic press can be a handy tool to have on hand. But clean it? Tell a story of woe. Sometimes it’s better not to use it for just one ingredient, right? Wrong! Garlic lovers, unite!

Here’s one of our top tips: spray your garlic press liberally with cooking spray just before using it. This way, nothing will get stuck and it can easily be cleaned after use. Again, soak it after use and try to clean it with a strong sponge before it sits too long. You can also try to find a garlic press with removable parts, which will make cleaning much easier. If all else fails, pour yourself a glass of wine and hunt down a toothpick. That’s right, you’ll have to use that toothpick to poke the holes in your press to dislodge the garlic, so a little prep work will save you a lot of hassle.


If there’s been a lesson here all along, it’s this: don’t leave your dirty tools in the sink and soak them as soon as you’re done using them. The same goes for your trusty microplane, which may have so much food residue built up that even a dishwasher won’t be able to get into all those nooks and crannies (plus, it’s not a good option if your microplane is Stainless steel ).

Another pro tip? If you’re tired of scrubbing with a sponge or don’t think your microplane is clean enough, try cleaning it with an old toothbrush. The fine bristles get into all the holes and you don’t have to worry about destroying your sponge. The extra soaking time and immediate rinsing might be easier said than done, sure, but the minutes, sponges, and sanity you’ll save are worth it.