How to clean icing tips and piping bags

Do you love decorating birthday cakes? Check out our easy step-by-step guide to effectively cleaning icing tips and piping bags after use.

Whether you love to bake every day of the week or limit yourself to celebratory cakes on special occasions, there’s a handy piece of equipment every baker should have in their cupboards: a piping bag, complete with a variety of nozzles (otherwise known as icing tips).

Unfortunately, disposable icing bags and tips have a tendency to tear easily, which is why many bakers prefer to purchase high-quality reusable bags and nozzles. There is one drawback, however: how do you clean them?

Fortunately, cleaning your piping bags and tips isn’t as difficult as you may think. In fact, the main challenge is getting into all the tiny nooks and crannies. If you want to know how to clean a piping bag and icing tips, then read on (you can also click here for advice on cleaning silicone bakeware). Here’s everything you need to know:

Not all piping bags are exactly the same, so it’s important to read any instructions from the manufacturer about cleaning yours before you attempt the methods below. Different materials may require different cleaning products and methods.

How to Clean Piping Bag Icing Tips

The problem with icing tips is that icing and buttercream can easily become trapped, and while you can choose to put them straight into the dishwasher if you wish, this isn’t always the best option. The pressure that an icing tip is subjected to in the dishwasher may not be enough to dislodge caked-on buttercream or frosting, and any frosting that is dislodged could attach itself to another object, leaving your plates covered in soggy icing. Here’s a more effective method that’s really quick and easy:

  1. Run a bowl of hot water, and add a small amount of dishwashing soap to produce a few suds. Pop the dirty icing tips into the water and allow them to soak for a few minutes. You will want to leave the tips soaking for longer if you’ve been putting off cleaning your baking equipment, and the frosting has hardened and really become caked on. What you want is for the icing to become very soft.
  2. Empty your basin, and turn your tap on – the cold tap is fine. Turn the handle until you have good water pressure, and hold your icing tip up underneath the flow. The high pressure of the water should loosen the now soft icing, forcing it through the nozzle and out into your sink. Always remember to remove bits of icing from your basin to prevent blockage.
  3. To ensure a thorough clean, and to make sure all of the soapy suds have been removed from the icing tip, pop the nozzles into your dishwasher. It’s best to put them into a lidded basket to make sure they don’t move around, or in a mesh bag designed for dishwasher use.

How to Clean Icing Tips: Small Nozzles

You can clean most of the larger icing tips using the cleaning products and techniques mentioned above. But what about those smaller, fiddly tips, like the leaf tip or the thin string tip?

The trick is to use a small, flexible bottlebrush after the soaking process, but before the dishwasher stage. The bottlebrush will be flexible enough to get into even the tiniest of spaces and can push out any tiny bits of buttercream that have become trapped in the gaps. It really is that simple. Give it a go, and see just how easy cleaning your piping equipment is – you’ll be surprised!