A rice cooker makes cooking rice hassle-free and hands-free. It does the job without any supervision and frees up a lot of time. But you may wonder if it is easy to clean as well. After all, many kitchen appliances that make food prep easy are a headache to clean. If a rice cooker was dishwasher-safe, washing up would not be a problem. So, can a rice cooker go in the dishwasher?
Whether a rice cooker can go in a dishwasher depends on the brand and model. You cannot clean the electrical parts of a rice cooker in a dishwasher, like the outer cover. However, some parts like the lid and inner pot are dishwasher-safe for some brands. Read the instruction manual to confirm this.
Since the rice cooker is a cooking appliance, you must always keep it clean. Not only will it prolong the lifespan of the device, but also prevent food poisoning and other health problems. To understand how to clean a rice cooker properly, we should understand the different parts of this device.
Various Parts Of A Rice Cooker
You will be amazed by the variety of rice cookers available in the market today. They come in all sizes and styles. There are simple models with a single setting to cook rice. Meanwhile, modern versions perform additional functionalities.
Regardless of the model or brand, every rice cooker will have the following parts:
- Main Body: This is the shell or casing of the rice cooker. It connects to the power outlet through a cord. The main body holds the cooking pot and the button panels and sensors in place.
- Inner Cooking Pot: It is the metallic vessel or pot into which you place the rice for cooking. It is separate from the main unit. The metal used for the cooking pot decides how long it takes to cook food. Conductive metals like aluminum and copper will cook food faster. In some models, the inner cooking pot has a non-stick Teflon coating.
- Lid: Rice cookers may have fixed or removable lids. The function of the lid is to cover the inner cooking pot. It will usually have vents or tubes through which steam escapes during the cooking process. It may also be attached to a steam cap, gasket, and dew collector.
- Heating Element: The heating element is located at the base of the cooking pot. It is attached to the main body. This component converts the electric current into heat that raises the temperature of the pot and helps to cook the contents.
- Thermal Sensor: This internal device decides when the cooker should switch from cooking mode to off or “keep warm” mode. When the water in the cooker is over, the temperature of the cooking pot will start increasing. The sensor registers this increase in temperature and activates the keep warm mechanism.
- Buttons: Rice cookers do not automatically start cooking as soon as you connect them to the power socket. Cooking will begin only when you press the buttons on the device. Basic models have an “On” button. Advanced versions use fuzzy logic to adjust the cooking time and temperature. Such devices usually offer additional functionalities besides just cooking rice.
Related Further Reading:
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- Why Do Microwave Ovens Rust Inside? How To Prevent & Remove It?
- Can A Blender Be Used As A Mixer? And When It Cannot Be Used?
How To Clean A Rice Cooker Properly And Which Parts Are Dishwasher-Safe?
All the different parts of the rice cooker are connected to the main body. The main body connects to the electric supply through a power cord.
Since there is an electrical connection to the main body, you should not expose it to water. The shell or casing is usually waterproof. Nonetheless, avoid any spills that can wet the body or power cord. It may trigger a short-circuit or cause a dangerous accident.
Hot water spills on the button panels can also affect the operation of the appliance. So, none of these parts should come near water.
To clean the main body properly, disconnect the rice cooker from the power supply. Then use a moist or soapy sponge or cloth to wipe the casing, buttons, and insides. If the lid is not detachable, clean it in the same manner. Let the surfaces dry well before you use the rice cooker again.
The cooking process happens inside the pot. You always place the rice or ingredients with enough water in this container. So, you should thoroughly clean it after use.
Now, the good thing is that this pot is detachable. Since you can take it out, cleaning it is easy.
Depending on the model, the lid may or may not be separate. You can easily wash a lid that can be separated. The device may also have other parts like a steam cap, gasket, and dew collector. You must gently remove these parts for cleaning. Go through the instruction manual to understand how to take them out without causing any damage.
Related Further Reading:
- Can Microwave Ovens Explode? (3 Reasons Why They Can Explode)
- What Oil Is Best For Deep Fryers? + How To Choose Deep Fry Oils?
Is The Inner Pot Of A Rice Cooker Dishwasher Safe?
You must clean the inner pot and associated parts each time you use the rice cooker. Unfortunately, not all brands offer dishwasher-safe cooking pots and associated parts. The instruction manual will specify if the pot and lid are dishwasher-safe or not. You can check for this before buying it.
For dishwasher-safe inner pots and lids, rinse it first to remove any stuck rice. Then place it in the dishwasher for thorough cleaning.
Now, if your rice cooker is not dishwasher safe, you will have to hand wash the detachable parts. Most pots with non-stick coatings must be hand-washed.
Before cleaning the inner pot, make sure to remove any leftover food. You can use a spoon to dislodge and scrape it off. Then, soak it in soapy water to soften any stubborn bits and make it easy to clean. After it soaks in water, rinse it with clean water till no soap remains. Dry the parts thoroughly before returning it to the casing.
Always use gentle cleaning solutions and sponges to clean rice cooker pots. Abrasive cleaning solutions and scrubbers can damage the Teflon coating and make it unsafe for use.
Interesting Further Reading:
- Can Rice Cookers Explode Or Catch Fire? (What We Found)
- Can You Leave Rice Cooker On All Day, Overnight, Or Unattended?
- Can A Deep Fryer Explode? (What Causes Explosion + How To Avoid It)
- How Do Deep Fryers Work? (Types, Oils, And Proper Use)
Steps To Ensure Thorough Cleaning Of A Rice Cooker
Follow this general sequence of steps to keep your rice cooker clean.
- Unplug the rice cooker from the power socket and allow it to cool down completely.
- Now, remove the detachable parts like the inner cooking pot, lid (if separate), gasket, and steam cap. Some models will only have a cooking pot and lid. Follow the instructions to make sure that you do not damage these parts while taking them out.
- If the cooking pot and other parts are dishwasher safe, you can get rid of any leftover rice bits and place them in the dishwasher. Else, soak them in soapy water with the inner pot till the food scraps soften. Then gently wash all the parts using a non-abrasive cleaning solution and sponge.
- Use a cloth or sponge and cleaning solution to clean the casing, buttons, and hot plate of the rice cooker.
- Remove any bits of rice or food particles stuck to the hot plate using a moist cloth. If you leave them there, they will crisp up with consecutive uses and become difficult to remove.
- Dry all the parts of the rice cooker thoroughly before connecting it to the power socket and using it again.