Tamara Wilhite is a technical writer, industrial engineer, mother of two, and published sci-fi and horror author.
There are many reasons you’ll need to clean a bread maker. Perhaps you bought one that was used. It should be cleaned before you use it for the first time. You have to clean it thoroughly after you’ve made one food item and are ready to make another. The hard part is figuring out how to clean it properly. We’ll explain how to fully clean the average machine and, more importantly, how to do it safely.
When Should You Clean the Bread Maker?
Ideally, you should clean it after every use. This means cleaning it after you’ve taken the loaf out. The bread maker must be cleaned after you’ve cooked something insufficiently. For example, under-cooked dough that contains eggs and butter will turn your machine into a bacteria factory if you don’t clean it immediately.
You should clean the bread maker after you take it out of storage. After all, any dirt, grime, and debris on it will otherwise get into your food. Always clean a used bread maker after you buy it. Just because they sold it in the box doesn’t mean they didn’t touch it or try to make something in it.
Here are the steps for cleaning a bread maker.
Step 1: Sweep It Out
- First, put the bread maker on its side. Sweep out the crumbs with a basting brush or paintbrush. Do not try to rinse the inside with water. You’ll burn out electrical components. Don’t try to brush them out with your hand, since it may be hot enough to burn you.
- Use a clean paintbrush and sweep the flour residue and crumbs out of the unit. What if there is still moist dough? Don’t try to scrape it out. You could damage the machine by doing that. Let it dry. Then remove it.
- If there is liquid in the unit, such as when your dough was too watery or you spilled liquid egg whites, use a clean cloth to wipe it up. Note that this cloth shouldn’t be used to clean the rest of the machine. Throw it in the washing machine.
Step 2: Clean the Heating Elements
The next step is cleaning the heating elements. Many people forget the need to do this, though flour and other grime on the heating elements are fire hazards. Others are afraid to clean the heating elements, since they’re the most sensitive part of the bread maker. You can clean them.
- Wipe them down with a moist cloth.
- Do not spray it with water, because you could short something out. It may require repeated passes to get clean.
- Don’t push down or scrub hard on the heating elements. You could bend or detach them, though the heating elements are hard to replace or fix. That’s why many people are afraid to clean them.
- This can be a good time to clean the outside of the unit. If you spilled baking mix on the outside of the unit, you can wipe it down with cleaning wipes.
- Don’t spritz it with water or cleaning solutions. You probably want to wipe down the buttons with cleaning wipes. This will kill any germs left by your dirty hands as you pushed the buttons.
Step 3: Clean the Bread Pan
The third step is cleaning the bread pan. This is the easiest part, and it is the step most people do regularly on their own. In some cases, you can clean it by running it through the dishwasher. However, not all bread pans are dishwasher safe.
- Use a warm soapy rag and rinse it. Rinse it in clean water to wash away the soap residue.
- If the bread pan is not non-stick or the food sticks anyway, use a sponge with a scrubber surface.
- Do not use a steel scrubbing sponge or stiff bristle brush that could scratch up the surface, giving food residue a place to hide and breed bacteria.
- Read the manual. This will tell you how to remove the mixing paddles and properly clean them. These may or may not be dishwasher safe, but they need to be cleaned.
- When you wash the mixing paddles, dough hook and other attachments, give them time to dry before you reassemble them.
- Ideally, they should be left to dry in an upright position. Letting everything dry helps prevent rust from forming inside your bread maker. And know that there isn’t anything you can do once it starts to rust, though that makes it harder to scrub away food residue over time.
Step 4: Let It Dry
Let everything dry before you put it back in the machine. This cleans away the food residue without creating a breeding ground for mold. However, you don’t want to use harsh chemicals like bleach inside the bread machine or baking span. The most obvious reason is that this leaves toxic chemicals on a surface you use to make food. The other reason is that it will destroy the finish inside the bread machine that allows you to easily remove the loaf and evenly bake the bread. Spraying harsh chemicals inside the bread machine could short things out, too, just like a jet of water would.
- Make certain the bread machine is cool before you start. Trying to clean a hot tray could leave you with burns.
- Always unplug the machine so you can’t get shocked while working with it.
- Spraying water or chemicals inside the bread maker could get liquids into the circuits and ruin it.
- Don’t use toxic chemicals to clean the inside of the bread maker. These chemicals can destroy the protective finish. Worse yet, traces could remain inside the machine and get into the next few loaves of bread you make. That’s counterproductive given how many people make their own bread to avoid eating the preservatives found in commercially baked bread.
Questions & Answers
Question: After unboxing my bread machine it says "Big Empty", how do I bake empty without smoke coming out?
Answer: Do not run a bread machine without something in it. Like a crockpot, the undistributed heat can crack trays or damage other components.
© 2019 Tamara Wilhite
Muhammad Abdullah on August 26, 2019:
I will be sure to keep these in mind.