How to clean a bamboo steamer
Kitchen cleaning

How to clean a bamboo steamer

Using a bamboo steamer is easy and makes food taste delicious! With the right care and cleaning they can last for years - find out how to clean yours here!

Key Steps:

  1. A (clean!) nailbrush is a handy tool for cleaning bamboo steamers.
  2. Use cleaning solutions sparingly to avoid damaging the bamboo.
  3. Regularly wipe down your bamboo steamer to prevent stuck-on food from building up.

We are becoming more and more accustomed to whipping up food from around the world in our own kitchens ­– meaning there is the need to have food-related utensils from abroad. Bamboo steamers have become fashionable in recent years, as practical gadgets, that also look good on the dinner table. However, how to clean a bamboo steamer basket may be unknown territory for many Brits. Follow these tips on cleaning a bamboo steamer to ensure you can enjoy your tasty, homemade, Chinese cuisine:

Cleaning a Bamboo Steamer ­– Quick, Light, and Often

Before you begin cleaning, consult the manufacturer’s guidelines for your bamboo steamer. If possible, take note of these before throwing away or recycling the packaging.

As is often the case with kitchenware, regular and timely cleaning will generally avert the need for a thorough clean. Straight after use, the food steamer should be rinsed using hot water, preferably using a cloth, rather than directly exposing the steamer to the water.

Cleaning Stuck-on Food

If no food is stuck on the interior, the application of water alone should suffice. But how to clean a food steamer with food stuck to it? The first move should be to take the step above. Use a nailbrush to apply a little more pressure to remove the caked-on food. It is preferable to avoid using any kind of soap, since the taste can linger in the bamboo. But if need be, apply a small amount of dishwashing detergent, like Persil Washing Up Liquid – preferably mild and unscented – to a cloth and rub the food away using the cloth. Then rinse the steamer with hot water, again taking care not to submerge it or expose it to too much water.
What about how to clean bamboo steamers where the food stains remain tough to shift? The answer is: vinegar or baking soda – common home cleaning remedies. A solution of water and either vinegar or baking soda, applied to the effected area with a cloth or a nailbrush, will work on the food, breaking it down and removing any remnants that are hard to shift. An alternative is simply to sprinkle baking soda onto the area, leave it for a couple of hours to work on the grime, then rinse off. Remember to test any cleaning solution on a small area first to ensure there will be no damage caused.

In all cases, once the steamer has been rinsed off, use a cloth as a blotter to remove excess water. Then leave the steamer in a well-ventilated place in order to air dry.

The steamer’s storage space should also be well-ventilated, to avoid the risk of the development of mould or mildew.

How to Clean Bamboo Steamer Basket: Lingering Smells

Use of vinegar should remove the smell of food while also dislodging it. However, if a smell does linger, or if use of dish detergent has left a little flavour, try steaming the basket, with half a lemon placed inside it.

There you have it, your bamboo steamer should be clean, and ready to be loaded up with delicious food!

Cleanipedia recommends


To avoid the need for excessive cleaning in the first place, try lining the bamboo steamer, so that food does not come into direct contact with the surface to begin with. Wax or baking paper can be used as a liner or, if preferred, lettuce leaves or fragrance-free dampened wipes.