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Ultimate Guide to Cleaning Your Rice Cooker

Unlike washing machines, rice cookers do not come with a self-cleaning feature. So, if you want to learn how to thoroughly and safely clean your rice cooker, this guide is what you need.


Reading Time: 5 minutes

Written by Eunice Samson

Ultimate Guide to Cleaning Your Rice Cooker

Ever since Uncle Roger roasted a BBC chef for using a colander to drain rice, people across the globe discovered the wonders that a rice cooker can do. However, for us Filipinos, we already have that nifty appliance in our kitchens. After all, learning how to use the rice cooker is part of every Pinoy kid’s growing rites. Even so, your parents might not have shared an ultimate guide to cleaning your rice cooker

Most people know the basics—clean the rice cooker like any ordinary pot. However, do you know how to do it the right way? Today, we’ll show you the steps in deep cleaning your rice cooker. We’ll also share some maintenance tips to prolong its life and prevent it from smelling nasty.

What to Prepare When Cleaning Your Rice Cooker

7 Easy Steps in Cleaning Your Rice Cooker

Before proceeding to the instructions, unplug your rice cooker. Once you’ve done that, follow these steps:

1. Disassemble the removable parts

You need to clean the removable parts of your rice cooker individually. So, the first step is to take apart the appliance. However, before you start cleaning, allow the hot pot to cool down. 

2. Soak the pot

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When cleaning a rice cooker, you shouldn’t use an abrasive material to avoid damaging the non-stick layer. So, to easily remove the stuck rice pieces, you must soak the pot in warm water mixed with Surf dishwashing liquid. Let the mixture sit for about 20 minutes.

3. Clean the pot

Once the internal pot has been adequately soaked, gently buff the rice pieces off using your non-abrasive sponge. If a stubborn mess remains, you can use a rubber spatula or rice paddle to pry off the stubborn residue. Once you’re done cleaning the pot, rinse it. Take a microfiber towel and wipe down the pot.

4. Clean the lid

You can clean the lid individually if it is detachable. Moreover, you can wash it like any regular dish—with Surf dishwashing liquid, water, and sponge. However, if your rice cooker doesn’t come with a detachable lid, the cleaning procedure will be slightly different. You need to soak your sponge in soapy, warm water. Then, wring it and use it to wipe the lid. Finally, use a damp microfiber cloth to rinse the soapy water off the lid.

5. Clean the inner portion of the cooker

Use a moist cloth to wipe off any dirt inside the cooker. If you see stubborn stains, carefully use a mesh steel wool to remove them. Once the grime loosens, you can use a damp towel to wipe it off. 

6. Clean the exterior portion of the cooker

Pour two tablespoons of Domex multi-purpose cleaner on your microfiber towel. Use it to wipe down the exterior portion of the rice cooker. However, be careful not to get the electrical parts like the switches and plugs wet.

7. Dry the interior and exterior portions of the cooker

The final step is to take a dry towel and use it to wipe the moisture off the interior and exterior parts of the cooker. Make sure that everything is completely dry before you put the removable parts back.

image of a rice cooker

Maintenance Tips for Your Rice Cooker

If you want your rice cooker to serve you longer, you should keep it in great shape. Here are some maintenance procedures we recommend:

After every use, clean your rice cooker

According to research, cooked rice left at room temperature for more than 12 hours can become a breeding ground for bacteria.[1] So, after using your rice cooker, you should make it a habit to clean the appliance. When you leave rice and other particles in the pot, these organic matter will begin to rot and develop mold.

Bacterial growth is not only an unpleasant sight—it can also be a health hazard. Besides, dirt and grease build-up can increase the risk of fires. So, aside from sanitizing your kitchen, you should also remember to clean your rice cooker after every use.

Use natural cleaning products to get rid of smells

You may notice unpleasant odors coming from your rice cooker. There are various reasons behind them. For instance, the bubbling rice water can go over to the sides of the appliance. So, if the regular cleaning process doesn’t remove the smell, we suggest using a natural cleaning solution. Here are the steps:

  1. Mix three parts water with one part vinegar.

  2. Dip a non-abrasive sponge into the solution.

  3. Use the sponge to wipe the rice cooker’s interior and exterior parts.

  4. Let the solution sit for about ten minutes.

  5. Use a damp microfiber cloth to wipe the interior and exterior parts of the rice cooker.

  6. Repeat these steps until the unpleasant smell is gone.

Create a cleaning paste for stubborn stains

Since this article is the ultimate guide to cleaning your rice cooker, we’ll also share a bonus hack for tough stains. If you haven’t deep cleaned the appliance for a long time, it likely has stubborn dirt and grime. So, we recommend making a cleaning paste:

  1. Form the cleaning paste by mixing equal parts vinegar and baking soda.

  2. Spread the cleaning paste on the affected areas.

  3. Let the paste sit for about three hours.

  4. Use a damp microfiber cloth to scrub the paste and grime off gently.

image of a clean rice cooker ready for use

FAQs on Cleaning a Rice Cooker

Q: Can you wash the inside of a rice cooker?

Remember that the rice cooker itself has electronic parts. So, you cannot submerge it in water. We recommend using a damp microfiber cloth to clean the hot plate. If there are stubborn stains, you can use a non-abrasive sponge and a multi-purpose cleaner to remove them.

Q: How do you clean a rice cooker without scratching it?

Usually, a non-abrasive sponge dipped in warm, soapy water is enough to clean your rice cooker without scratching it.

Q: Do you have to clean your rice cooker after every use?

Yes. Doing so will prevent stubborn stains and stuck-on rice. Moreover, cleaning your rice cooker after every use will stop mold and bacteria from developing.

Make Cleaning a Habit

Cleaning your rice cooker won’t seem as tedious once you’ve made it a habit. With the tips we shared in this post, the process will become even more easier. For more kitchen cleaning hacks, visit Cleanipedia’s blog!


1. Albaridi, N. A. (2022). Risk of Bacillus cereus contamination in cooked rice. Food Science and Technology, 42. https://doi.org/10.1590/fst.108221

Originally published