How to Clean a Rice Cooker

Rice Cookers are awesome and a billion Asian households have been using them for decades now. 

However, rice cookers are fairly new to the West and despite their convenience for cooking rice in, they can be a bit confusing to clean.

So, let’s take a look at how to clean a rice cooker easily and safely. 

The Basic Process Of Cleaning A Rice Cooker

There may some small variations depending on the make and model of a rice cooker (there are lots of different rice cookers as you can see on our best rice cookers list), but most of the time, this is the process to follow:

How to Clean a Rice Cooker
  1. Remove the rice pot and soak it in some warm soapy water
  2. Put any utensils in the warm soapy water to soak too
  3. Detach and soak the lid if it detaches from the cooker, otherwise, wipe it down with a wet, soapy cloth
  4. Examine the hot plate and if there’s any dried on food, use sandpaper to remove it
  5. Wipe down the exterior of the rice cooker using either soapy water or better a 1:1 solution of white wine vinegar and water
  6. Clean everything in the warm soapy water using a non-abrasive cloth and dry them
  7. Make sure everything is completely dry before you store the rice cooker

Safety Notes For Cleaning Rice Cookers

Rice Cooker

Firstly, before you even attempt to clean your rice cooker – unplug it. It’s impossible to be electrocuted when cleaning an unplugged appliance.

You should also let a recently used rice cooker sit for 30 minutes before you clean the hotplate to avoid burns. 

Secondly, read the owner’s manual. Yes, we know it’s a chore. But some rice cookers have odd quirks that need attending to for cleaning purposes. 

For example, the Cuckoo Rice Cooker requires a specific cleaning solution when you cook sticky rice in it. 

Make sure that your rice cooker is 100% dry after cleaning before you plug it in and you should never wet the hotplate inside even during cleaning. 

Also, it’s important to use non-abrasive cleaners because otherwise, you will scratch the device. 

If you have to use a chemical cleaner, make sure to follow instructions very carefully and avoid getting any chemicals inside the device where they might contaminate your food.

One Last Tip On Cleaning A Rice Cooker

Rice Cooker

The best time to clean a rice cooker is just after it has been used. 

When rice “goes bad” it can lead to the bacteria growing which cause botulism

As this form of food poisoning can be fatal, you really don’t want to expose your family to it. 

Cleaning the rice cooker regularly after each use will also extend the life of your machine and stop bits of burned on rice from building up and becoming problematic.

Burned on rice will eventually char and spoil the taste of your rice. 

Final Thoughts On Cleaning Rice Cookers

Rice cookers are super handy and if you cook a lot of rice or want to cook authentic Asian dishes easily, they’re an essential in a modern kitchen.

The good news is that they’re also pretty easy to keep clean and safe. Just follow our simple process above (and check the manual) and you’ll be golden. 

By the way, if you’ve got left over rice from your rice cooker, never throw it out. It’s the perfect ingredient in a shrimp fried rice!


I'm Olive. I'm a Mom of 3. Kitchen Lover. Adventurer. Big Time Foodie.

Articles: 186