How to Clean a Mortar and Pestle: Definitive Guideline

how to clean mortar and pestleThe mortar and pestle were the first few kitchen gadgets that mankind has ever invented. These two gadgets are right up there with fire or maybe even before that. It indeed serves a vital role in crushing something into powders or making a paste with chilies, garlic, or other spices.

But we are not here to talk about its origin, nor will we talk about the things you can do with it. Instead, we will teach you how to clean a mortar and pestle perfectly.

And by following the processes that we will describe, you will end up with a fully clean mortar and pestle without causing any damage to them. So, without further ado, let us get started.

Why Should You Clean Pestle and Mortar?

The pestle and mortar is a necessary tool for most kitchens. It makes griding and making paste an easy process. However, it also serves an aesthetic purpose. People would showcase their collection inside the kitchen. And when they are dirty, the beauty of these tools does not really shine that much.

But that is not the only purpose that you would want to keep your pestle and mortar clean. Other than that, the stains and food residues can ruin the taste of the foods you will be processing using these tools. And that can be pretty detrimental if you are looking to get an exact taste on a paste or powder.

How to Clean a Mortar and Pestle (Glass, Ceramic, and Metal, Bamboo, Wood)

There are a total of two types of pestle and mortar available. Each of them will be of a different material. And the cleaning process will not be the same for each. In this segment, we will guide you through the cleaning process of each of the available types:

Steps To Clean Glass, Ceramic, and Metal Mortar and Pestle

Glass Ceramic Metal mortar and pestle

The ceramic, glass, and metal pestle and mortars are probably the most common among the three available types. These do not only look good but are capable of handling most crushing and paste-making tasks. That said, these are the steps that you would need to follow to clean this type of mortar and pestle:

Step 1: Rinse Both with Warm Water

Rinse with Warm Water

First and foremost, you would need to place both the tool under running water. Make sure that the water is warm. This warm rinse will do two things. First, it will take off any of the food residues that might be present on the tools. Secondly, the warm water will disinfect the surface to some extent.

Step 2: Scrub with a Brush

Scrub with a Brush

Use a dishwasher scrub brush and scrub both the mortar and pestle. We would recommend using a new brush for this procedure if you want to maximize the cleaning efficiency. Keep on cleaning until all of the food debris is off from the surface.

There will be no need to use any cleaning solution. However, you would want to rinse off the brush from time to time during the scrubbing process.

Step 3: Rinse the Tools

Rinse the Tools

When all of the food debris is off from the surface, rinse both the tools again with warm water. Ensure to rinse thoroughly, or else the loose chunks of food might settle again on the top when you store the tools.

Step 4: Air Dry and Store Properly

Air Dry and Store Properly

Finally, you would need to set the tools aside for a while. You can even set them in a dishwasher rack and air dry them. That will take care of any water that might be on the surface. Once the tools dry up, store them at the usual location.

Cleaning Method For Bamboo and Wood Mortar Pestle

Bamboo Wood mortar and pestle

Bamboo and wooden pestle and mortar are pretty common as well. To clean them up properly, you would need to follow these steps:

Step 1: Use a Brush or Paper Towel to Wipe the Debris Off

Use a Brush or Paper Towel to Wipe

Drenching the wooden tool with water would not be ideal. For that reason, you would need to use a brush or a paper towel to wipe off any food debris on the surface of the tools. Wipe inside and the exterior surface of both and make sure there are no excess residues on the surface.

Step 2: Wipe the Tools with a Damp Cloth

Wipe the Tools with a Damp Cloth

Next, you would want to get a cup of warm water. Get yourself a clean cloth and dampen it up with warm water. Use this damp cloth to wipe the inside of the mortar and the surface of the pestle. You would want to rinse the cloth multiple times during the cleaning process.

Step 3: Let the Tools Air Dry

Last but not least, use a dry cloth or paper towel to take away any excess water that might be inside the mortar or on the surface of the pestle. Then, put the tools inside the drying rack and leave them to air dry. Flip both of them multiple times during the drying process. That will ensure a thorough air-drying process.

How to Take Stains off the Mortar and Pestle?

How to Take Stains off the Mortar and Pestle?

Over time, the tools might catch some stains on the surface. These stains make them look bad and might ruin the taste of the food you will be processing with them. But the good news is that you can easily take off the stains from the tools. Here are the steps:

Step 1: Rinse the Mortar and Pestle

Rinse the Mortar and Pestle

First of all, you would want to rinse both the tools under running water. But, instead of using cold water, you would need to use warm water. While rinsing the tools, use your hands to remove any of the food debris that might be on the surface.

Step 2: Pour Rice into the Mortar

Pour Rice into the Mortar

Yes, you read that right! You would need to pour about 30 ml or two tablespoons of rice into the mortar. But we are not talking about cooked rice here. Instead, you would need to use uncooked rice. Using the pestle, thoroughly grind the rice up until the point the grains turn dark.

When the rice turns dark, discard it and fill the mortar up with another 30 ml or two tablespoons of rice. Follow the same grinding process and keep on grinding until this rice batch turns dark as well.

If the second batch of rice becomes too dark during the grinding process, you might need to repeat the process one or two times more. It will basically depend on the severity of the stain.

Step 3: Rinse Again

After the grinding process, you would need to rinse both the tools with warm water again. Use your hands to thoroughly clean both the mortar and pestle. After that, shake off any excess water on the surface and dry both the tools up with a clean cloth or paper towel.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I clean the pestle and mortar?

We would recommend cleaning the pestle and mortar each time after using them. That would ensure that the stains do not build up on the surface and can save you from the tedious stain removal process.

Can I use soap to clean the pestle and mortar?

No! You should not use soap to clean the pestle and mortar. The soap residues can ruin the taste of the food that you will be processed with the tools. To disinfect them, use warm water instead of soap. Let us not forget the smell that the soap will leave on the surface.

However, if it is absolutely necessary, use mild liquid soap or mild washing soap to clean these two tools.

Are metal pestle and mortar worth it?

Absolutely! The metal pestle and mortar do not just look good, but they will last for an extended amount of time as well. For that reason, we would recommend picking up the metal tools if you can.

Final Words

If you want to ensure that the food you process with them does not have an odd taste, you should learn how to clean a mortar and pestle. But that is not the only reason you would need to keep them clean. If you let the stains sit around for an extended amount of time, it can become permanent.

And as you can see, it is not that hard to learn the cleaning process. Just follow the steps accordingly, and you should end up with squeaky clean pestle and mortar.

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