How to Clean A Rice Cooker

We all love to have a good meal, but I think it’s fair to say no one enjoys washing up afterward. Luckily. a rice cooker is pretty easy to clean and it will not leave you with the headaches that you face when cleaning most other kitchen appliances.

It is true that the chore of washing up is inevitable and at some point, you will have to do it. The thing is that rice cookers are usually used for more that just cooking rice so that inevitably means some difficult cooked on food to remove. You can use these appliances to prepare pasta, stews, lentils, cheese, oatmeal and so much more so you need to know how to clean a rice cooker properly. Well, here’s how to do it.

When it comes to cleaning a rice cooker, there are a few things that you need to have around you in order to do the job properly. First, you will need to use hot water, some dish soap, and a washcloth.

Sometimes you might find it helpful to have a cleaning spray or even some fine grit sandpaper or a scouring pad but really, they are optional. Here are some tips that you might want to take into consideration when you need to clean your rice cooker.

Safety First

First point – always read the instructions! This is very important because some rice cookers have specialist coatings that can be affected by harsh or abrasive cleaning products. Also, and this goes without saying – make sure that your rice cooker is unplugged as electricity and water dont mix!!! Its also worth checking that you rice cooker is dishwasher safe – most are – but you dont want to cause irreparable damage.

Tip 1: Let the cooker cool down

If you recently purchased a new rice cooker then, when using it for the first time, keep in mind that it is very important to let the electric rice cooker cool down completely. This is sometimes easy to forget, especially if your cooker has a dual wall setup which keeps the outer skin cool to the touch (for safety) as the inner pot can still be very hot. Unplug the cooker and make sure that it sits for between 30 – 60 minutes before you actually begin the cleaning process.

The recommended time for cooling varies from model to model and from size to size. If in doubt, check with the manual, or even better, visit the manufacturer’s website for recommendations.

Warning: If you try to clean a rice cooker that is still hot, you can encounter some serious safety hazards and even put your life in danger. Check first!

Tip 2: Remove the burnt food

When cleaning an appliance like this, you might notice that you will find pieces of burnt rice on the main pot. It is very important to make sure that you get all of these bits removed. You might get tempted to ignore some of the stuck rice grains on the sides, but keep in mind that they will get harder and harder to remove the longer they remain there.

Burnt frying pan and fork
clean burnt on food

You can remove the burnt rice with the help of a sponge that you soak into warm, soapy water or with a washcloth. You can easily scrape any remains off using a scouring pad, but make sure that you are gentle and do not scratch the bottom of the cooking bowl as this may have a protective coating on it.

Tip 3: Style of cleaning

One thing that you should keep in mind is that your rice cooker’s main components should be cleaned as regularly as possible. In this case, I am talking about the lid on top, whether its glass or steel, and the main pot. These parts can normally be cleaned with hot water, dish soap and a soft washcloth.

It is the best for your appliance to clean the main parts using a regular circular motion, just like you would do with your other dishes. Of course, avoid using too much water as this can interfere with any electronics that are in the cooker and, never, ever put your rice cooker into the dishwasher unless you are 100% certain that the manufacturer says is ok!

In most cases a soft cloth, or perhaps a soft plastic brush will suffice but dont be tempted to use abrasive products such as scouring pads , steel wool or even scouring power or cream as these will leave scratches and will remove and non-stick coating that your cooker may have. If the food is baked on, then fill the pot with hot soapy water and let it soak for a few hours. This usually removes the most stubborn baked in food without hurting the pot but, if you need a bit more help then mix some baking soda with a little water into a paste and spread this on. leave it for around half an hour and clean off – the results will amaze you.

Foam with bubbles. Soap sud on blue background.
Soapy water is ideal for cleaning your pot

Tip 4: Never skip cleaning

As mentioned above, it is very important to clean your electric rice cooker after every use. You might be tempted to skip this step if everything appears to be clean after everything was removed from the cooking bowl but keep in mind that your rice cooker can suffer from mold or mildew if it is not cleaned properly. This, in turn can affect your food and in some cases even lead to food poisoning.

Your rice cooker produces moisture that you might not notice every time it is used, but keep in mind that it is there! You need to wash it off even if you can not see it.

A Final Word of Caution

If you have a ceramic pot, then take extra care, especially if the pot is hot. That’s because if you pour cold water into a hot ceramic container then there’s a good chance it will crack rendering your cooker useless!


Make sure you always clean your rice cooker and that you clean it in the proper way. You should never skip cleaning after you use the rice cooker even if it does not seem to need it.

It is important to take care of your appliance because it will provide you with good service for a long period of time if looked after.

Also, remember that rice cookers produce a lot of moisture and that might cause a number of problems if not dried off. Specifically, we are talking about mold and mildew which, of course, can cause health problems and make you regret the time you did not decide to wash your appliance because you were too busy (or lazy!) to do it.

All in all, the process of cleaning is really simple and if you follow some basic steps, you will not have any problems with it.