How to Clean a Rice Cooker Properly

Recently used rice cooker on a kitchen countertop

The Spruce / Ana Cadena

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 10 - 20 mins
  • Total Time: 10 - 20 mins
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $1 to 15

Aren't rice cookers handy? They make adding rice to any meal seamless. But, over time and use after use, your rice cooker can become dirty and lose its luster. If your rice cooker isn't looking its best, it's probably time for a deep clean. Fortunately, cleaning your rice cooker is easier than you might think.

Before You Begin

When cleaning any appliance, it's a good idea to read the manual first to be sure there are no special instructions for your specific device. Start by unplugging your rice cooker, letting it cool completely, and protecting any electrical parts from the soap and water you'll use to clean your device.

You'll also want to evaluate which products you'll use to clean your rice cooker. Since rice cookers use high heat to make food, this guide recommends using gentle, non-toxic products. If you'd like to use a more heavy-duty cleaner, that's up to you, but be mindful of what chemicals you'll be cooking into your food once you're done cleaning.

How Often Should You Clean Your Rice Cooker?

Aim to clean your rice cooker after every use. Not only is this more sanitary, but it also will prevent rice grains from getting stuck onto the sides, creating a crusty mess that takes some serious elbow grease to remove. Cleaning your rice cooker after every use will make maintenance much easier.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • 1 nonabrasive sponge
  • 1 microfiber cloth
  • 1 drying towel


  • 1 bottle mild dish soap
  • 1 bottle all-purpose cleaner


Materials needed to clean a rice cooker

The Spruce / Ana Cadena

How to Clean a Rice Cooker

  1. Take Apart the Appliance

    In order to clean the rice cooker, you'll need to take the appliance apart and wash each piece individually. Make sure you've given the hot plate at least 30 minutes to cool, then remove the internal pot and place it in a sink or bucket filled with hot, soapy water.

    Taking apart the rice cooker before cleaning

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

  2. Soak in Soap

    Allow the pot to soak for around twenty minutes if the rice pieces are really stuck. You may need to adjust the soak time depending on how much rice is stuck in the pot.

    Add soap and warm water to the pot

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

  3. Clean With a Nonabrasive Sponge

    After you've sufficiently soaked the internal pot, use a nonabrasive sponge to gently buff away any stuck-on rice. Use the same sponge and soapy water to clean the rice paddle and steam basket.

    If you're dealing with an extra crusty mess, you may want to use a plastic or rubber spatula to pry off stubborn pieces of food. Just avoid metal utensils when scraping off stuck-on rice—it can damage the appliance. Once you're done washing, rinse and wipe down with a dry towel.

    Scrubbing the pot with a non-abrasive sponge

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

  4. Detach Lid and Clean

    If your rice cooker has a detachable lid (and most do), remove it and gently clean it with your sponge and soapy water. Once you're done, wipe it down with a wet microfiber cloth to remove any suds. You can now replace the lid as well as the internal pieces, if you haven't already.

    Detaching the rice cooker lid to clean it

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

  5. Clean the Exterior

    Grab your favorite all purpose cleaner (if you don't have one on hand, you can mix one part water with one part white vinegar in a spray bottle, shake it up and use that instead). Spray the outside of the rice cooker thoroughly, then wipe it down with your microfiber cloth. Be mindful of any electrical parts (plugs and switches) and avoid getting them wet if you can.

    Cleaning the exterior of a rice cooker

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

Additional Tips for Keeping Your Rice Cooker Clean

  • Remember, maintenance is key. Cleaning your rice cooker after every use will not only make the cleaning process easier, but it will also make it run more efficiently, meaning more delicious meals and less mess.
  • Never use steel wool, metal tools, or anything else that is super abrasive on your rice cooker. It will scratch the hardware and damage the appliance.
  • Be careful not to overcook your rice. Using good cooking methods is the best form of defense against a sticky, crusty mess in your rice cooker.