How to Clean a Bamboo Steamer

Bamboo steamers are inexpensive, easy to use and a great way to prepare delicious and healthy meals. To keep your bamboo steamer fresh and clean it’s important to properly wash them after each use.

Usually bamboo steamers aren’t dishwasher safe so you’ll need to spare a little time after cooking to clean them by hand. In this article we’ll explain how to quickly clean any stuck on food or odors from your bamboo steamer and keep it in great shape for years to come.

How to Minimize the Need for Cleaning

As the old saying goes, when it comes to cleaning your bamboo steamer prevention is better than the cure.

Lining your steamer before each use can help to make cleaning really easy, as doing this prevents any food from sticking to the bamboo. This will stop you having to deal with the all too common problem of food sticking to your steamer.

You can use specially made bamboo steamer parchment or waxed paper to line your steamer, or if you prefer, some cabbage or lettuce leaves.

Cleaning a New Bamboo Steamer Before Use

If you’ve just bought a new Bamboo steamer you’ll no doubt be really keen to start using it. However, before you start it’s important to remove any dust or factory residue.

First, wash your bamboo steamer with hot soapy water and a soft cloth. Rinse well before totally immersing in hot water and leaving to soak for about 30 minutes.

After soaking, pop the steamer and its lid over a pan that is half-filled with boiling water. Steam the empty basket for 30 minutes. During this time, keep an eye on water levels and top up any water that evaporates.

When you have completed the process, leave your steamer and its lid to air dry naturally.

How to Clean Your Bamboo Steamer After Use

It’s advisable to make sure you give it your steamer quick clean after each use. Frequent cleaning will save you time in the long run as it means you won’t need to perform a deep clean later on.

After you’re done cooking, first scrub the steamer in hot water using a soft nylon brush to remove any bits of food that are stuck to the basket. Take care to scrub the gently without exerting too much pressure. Don’t forget to clean the steamer lid too!

Once you’ve thoroughly cleaned your steamer, give it a quick rinse in hot running water and leave to air dry.

After cleaning, store the basket and it’s lid in a cool and dry spot. Avoid storing in plastic containers as any remaining water droplets can create condensation which encourages mold and mildew. Also be sure not to store any other cookware on top of your steamer baskets as this can weaken or crack the bamboo.

How to Get Rid of Smells in Your Bamboo Steamer

Because bamboo is a porous material, it will easily absorb smells from the food you cook in the steamer. If your bamboo steamer has become tainted by strong smelling food, there is a simple solution to get it smelling good as new again.

To begin with, create a solution of water and white vinegar. Use one part vinegar for two parts water. Once mixed, use a soft brush to gently coat the inside of the steamer with this solution before rinsing in hot water.

In most cases this should be enough to get rid of any food odors. However, if you find that the smell seems to be lingering in your steamer you’ll need to follow an additional step.

Bring half a pan of water to the boil and place your basket on top. Cut a small lemon in half and place both halves inside the steamer before covering with the lid.

After steaming the lemons for about 15 minutes, remove your steamer from the hob and allow to cool completely. Once this is done, remove the lemon halves from the steamer and rinse the lid and basket in hot water. Leave to air dry completely and you should find that any unpleasant food smells are now gone.

Dealing with Mold

One of the more unpleasant problems that can affect a bamboo steamer is the development of mold. It’s unpleasant and incredibly off-putting on something that you use to prepare food! Fortunately, there is a quick solution you can use to bust the mold and revive your steamer.

To remove mold effectively, gently scrub the steamer with a brush using either lemon oil or vinegar water. The vinegar water is the same solution mentioned earlier – a mixture with a ratio of one part white vinegar to two parts water. When the steamer is looking thoroughly clean, rinse quickly in clean hot water and leave to dry naturally.