Yes, Your Blender Can Actually Clean Itself

When it comes to using the blender, one of the biggest barriers to entry is the cleanup. Many cooks are reluctant to add another appliance to their pile of dirty dishes — especially one with sharp blades at the bottom. We're happy to report that intrepid smoothie and cocktail makers can ditch the sponge in favor of an easy, hands-off cleaning method.

Once you finish blitzing, give the empty plastic a quick rinse to remove any larger bits of stuck-on food. Then fill the blender anywhere from a quarter to half way full of warm water. Add a squirt of soap, then close the container, and re-attach it to the machine. Blend the soapy water for 15 to 20 seconds (or press the self-clean button), then dump it out in the sink, rinse the container, and admire your speedy cleaning job.

Best of all, this shortcut isn't just for blenders. Apply the same soap and water approach to de-gunk sharp devices like immersion blenders and food processors. To remove food from the handheld immersion blenders, fill a high-sided takeout container with water and submerge the tool to replicate the process. This will help cut down on your cleaning time and stave off any rust that might form when you let metal blades sit in the dishwasher.

Added tips for a sparkling blender

A soapy blitz should get the job done, but if the plastic or glass still has a slick coating from oily marinades or homemade nut butter, you can repeat the process with extra soap and allow the blender to run longer to collect all those fat particles. For extra stubborn leftover residue, use a spiky bottle brush to scrub out the corners or utilize your dishwasher to finish the job (if the device is dishwasher-safe, of course). A long spatula designed for smoothie makers can also help wrestle remaining debris-free.

If the blender or food processor's plastic starts to look cloudy, you're likely seeing a buildup of minerals from hard water. Allow the machine to whir the deposits away by blending together a 3:1 ratio of white vinegar to water or an even ratio of water to baking soda. A soak in hot water and powdered dishwasher detergent or warm water and vinegar can also get the job done. You can also tackle particularly stained spots by scrubbing the plastic with a baking soda paste before using more acid or soap.

This deeper cleaning should help lift away any lingering odors, flavors, and stains, too. For those testing the limits of their blender with raw garlic, fresh turmeric, and hot peppers, we recommend employing a deep clean at least once per week. To extend that sparkle, try adding a squirt of lemon juice the next time you're doing your regular soap wash, as well.

Creative ways to dirty a blender

Since you no longer have to wait on the dishwasher to clean your blender, it's time to put the machine to use for multiple meals. In addition to preparing a smoothie breakfast, the whirring device can act as a pinch hitter when preparing supremely fluffy scrambled eggs. It can also tackle homemade nut-based milks to pair with cereal and horchata, a spiced rice milk drink delicious on its own or in coffee.

Outside of your morning routine, there are plenty of other opportunities to crank the device, starting with your bumped, bruised, and forgotten summer fruit. Skip the compost pile and repurpose the produce into a salad dressing made with overripe fruit, or blend the odds and ends of your watermelon into juice for lemonade or a boozy cocktail. This will not make the most of seasonal ingredients, but reduce food waste, too.

Tap your blender or an immersion blender to help with dinner, as well. Although we often think of blenders as a helpful tool for making sweet dishes, they can just as easily combine herbs and acid into a zesty marinade or transform fresh tomatoes and garlic into a raw tomato sauce. Those with sustainability in mind should also try using stewed vegetable scraps, sautéed onions, and canned tomatoes to make a food-waste-reducing soup. And for those with youngsters to feed, you can also employ the easy-to-clean devices to purée homemade baby food.