How to Clean a Rice Cooker Properly

Cleaning your rice cooker properly is important to keep it functioning well and prevent harmful bacteria from growing. Here is a comprehensive guide on how to clean a rice cooker properly.

Unplug and Allow the Rice Cooker to Cool

Before cleaning, unplug the rice cooker and allow it to cool completely. This prevents electric shock and burns. Do not immerse the rice cooker base in water when hot.

Remove the Inner Pot

Take out the inner cooking pot from the rice cooker base. This allows you access to all surfaces for thorough cleaning.

Discard Rice and Wipe Away Excess

Discard any remaining cooked rice, grains or food debris from the inner pot. Use a soft cloth or paper towel to wipe away any leftover grains or stains stuck to the bottom or sides of the inner pot.

Wash With Soap and Water

Wash the inner cooking pot, lid and accessories with warm soapy water using a soft sponge or cloth. Avoid abrasive scrubbers as they can damage the non-stick coating.

Rinse thoroughly to remove all soapy residue.

Clean Exterior and Base

Use a damp cloth to wipe down the exterior of the rice cooker base. Pay attention to crevices and the control panel.

Never immerse the base in water as it contains electrical components.

Gently clean the heating plate at the bottom with a soft cloth. Avoid steel wool or other abrasives.

Sterilize With Vinegar or Lemon

To kill bacteria and remove odors, sterilize the pot periodically.

Fill the pot with water and add 1 cup of vinegar or lemon juice. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes.

Rinse thoroughly with clean water afterwards.

Allow to Air Dry

Let all the removable parts air dry completely before reassembling. Do not use towels which may transfer bacteria.

Place the lid upside down to prevent water pooling.

Descale Regularly

Over time, mineral deposits from water can build up and affect your rice cooker’s performance.

Descaling helps remove this hard water buildup. Use a store-bought descaling solution and follow the manufacturer’s directions.

Vinegar or lemon juice can also work. Coat surfaces with either and let sit for 30 minutes before scrubbing and rinsing.

Store Properly

Place cleaned parts back into the rice cooker base. Make sure it is unplugged, fully dried and cooled before storing away.

Store in a clean, dry place like a cupboard to prevent dust and pests.

Deep Clean Annually

Do a thorough deep cleaning about once a year or whenever you notice odors.

Disassemble all the removable parts including the lid, inner pot, exterior housing, steam vent and condensation collector.

Soak in hot soapy water before scrubbing and rinsing completely.


How often should I clean my rice cooker?

It’s best to clean your rice cooker after every use. At minimum, do a quick wipe down of excess rice and grains. Deep clean the pot and accessories at least monthly with soap, water and vinegar.

Can I use bleach to clean my rice cooker?

Avoid bleach and harsh chemicals that can corrode the metal and degrade the non-stick coating over time. For sanitization, vinegar or lemon juice works well.

What is the white chalky buildup in my rice cooker?

White mineral deposits from hard water is likely the cause. Try descaling regularly with vinegar or a commercial descaling solution made for rice cookers.

How do I get rid of odors in my rice cooker?

Odors are often caused by leftover food residue. Try soaking the pot in vinegar water for 5-10 minutes to kill bacteria and deodorize before rinsing clean. Baking soda also absorbs odors well.

Can I put the rice cooker base in water?

Never submerge or rinse the rice cooker base in water as it contains electrical parts. Use only a damp cloth to wipe down the exterior and heating plate.

What areas of the rice cooker should I clean?

Clean all removable parts including the inner pot, lid, condensation collector, steam vent and any other accessories. Use a damp cloth for the heating plate and exterior housing.


Cleaning your rice cooker properly after each use prevents harmful bacteria growth and buildup of smells or stains. Wash all parts with soap and water, rinse thoroughly and air dry completely. Descale and sterilize regularly with vinegar or lemon juice. Always unplug and allow the rice cooker to cool before cleaning. With proper care and maintenance, your rice cooker will provide many years of reliable service.