How to Clean a Rice Cooker Quickly and Efficiently

cleaning a rice cooker

Keeping your rice cooker clean is a very important step in maintaining its overall use. It must be cleaned thoroughly after each use to ensure there is no mold growing from the food left inside.

If you are interested in learning how to properly clean your precious rice cooker, then you have surely come to the right place!

Firstly, I’ll inform you of what you should know beforehand (why proper maintenance is so important) and then go into the details.

Then I will show you the steps necessary to guarantee a clean and spotless rice cooker every time!

The cleaning process described here applies to most brands of rice cookers. I’ve also written some brand-specific cleaning instructions for:

Don’t forget to read the FAQ section to see answers to the most common questions people ask regarding this subject.

Quick Summary

If you don’t like reading long, boring text (like me), see this 1-minute long video below. Otherwise, keep reading.

What To Know Before Getting Started

It is important to note that not all rice cookers are made the same. Therefore, their cleaning routines may vary depending on the brand and what they’re made from.

For example, some brands have removable parts to make the cleaning process much easier, while others do not. Some may come with a non-stick coating that requires special care when cleaning.

xwall inner rice cooker pot

Be sure to check the labeling on your product in search of any special cleaning instructions that may be unique to the brand you have purchased.

Some brands of rice cookers may even have dishwasher-safe parts to make your clean-up that much easier!

But again, researching your specific product can save you from making any unnecessary (and costly) cleaning mistakes.

How to Clean a Rice Cooker in 3 Simple Steps

Step 1: Remove Food, Unplug, And Allow To Cool

While this should go without saying, your first step will be to remove any food from your rice cooker, because well, duh.

After putting it away, unplug the rice cooker from the wall.

Some models even allow you to remove the cord from the appliance itself. If this is the case in your situation, unplug it from the wall, then unplug it from the cooker itself.

DO NOT expose any electrical parts of the rice cooker to the water at any point in the cleaning process. This will ruin your cooker, and cleaning it will be the least of your worries!

fixing rice cooker

Give your rice cooker a decent amount of time to sit and allow it to cool down so that you may touch it safely.

Typically, 30 minutes is the average time it would take to fully cool down.

Step 2: Clean Each Piece Of The Rice Cooker Individually

Begin by removing the main inner pot from the base of the rice cooker. Place the pot inside of your sink and use hot water and dish soap to soak the bowl for a respectable amount of time.

Some may choose to let the pot soak overnight to ensure that there are absolutely no food particles left.

If any excess food is still stuck to the side and remains until another use of the pot, it can really cake to the side, making clean up that much more difficult. So definitely be sure to give the pot a fair amount of time to soak.

While the pot is soaking, use this extra time to clean any utensils you may have used along with the rice cooker.

If after soaking the rice cooker pot, there are still food particles remaining on the sides, use a plastic or wooden utensil to gently scrape it off.

A plastic utensil is typically preferred as metal spoons, knives, or forks may leave unwanted scratches on the inside of your pot.

After completing this step, use your regular dish sponge or a rag to give the inside a final scrub down before rinsing your pot with warm water. Then, use a cloth, towel, or rag to hand dry your bowl.

cleaning rice cooker inner pot

Quick note: using paper towels may result in unwanted lint being left behind.

How Do I Clean the Lid of My Rice Cooker?

If you have a detachable lid, remove it and wash it as well. If you happen to have a rice cooker with a non-detachable lid, use a sponge soaked in warm water to gently wipe down the inside of the lid.

Double back over with a dry rag to complete the cleaning process, while simultaneously ensuring to keep water away from the inside of the rice cooker itself.

Check the labeling on your rice cooker’s packaging to see if any of your parts can be machine washed to make the task a bit easier on you.

Step 3: Cleaning The Inside And Outside Of Your Rice Cooker

If you find that any food has somehow made its way into the inside or outside of your rice cooker, these can be particularly tricky areas to clean.

You must always keep in mind where the electrical areas of your cooker are.

How Do You Clean the Inside of a Rice Cooker?

If you plan to use a cleaning solution to handle these areas, be sure to spray or squeeze the cleaning product directly onto a damp (not dripping wet) rag.

Do not spray directly onto or inside the rice cooker.

Gently wipe away the excess food on the inside and outside using this damp rag or sponge. Make sure the inside of the rice cooker and the pot itself are both completely dry before placing the pot back inside.

Brand-Based Cleaning

How to Clean Cuckoo Rice Cooker

  1. Wipe the outside with a damp cloth
  2. Remove the inner pot
  3. With the same damp cloth, wipe the surface, sides, and corners of the interior
    • Be careful when cleaning pressure models and don’t wipe the center plate. Also, don’t let water drip down to the center of the heating plate unless you’re searching for a reason to replace it
  4. Remove the inner lid (if applicable to your model) and again, wipe it with a damp cloth
  5. Wash the inner pot with warm soapy water and a sponge
    • Avoid abrasive materials, harsh chemicals, and dishwashers
  6. Remove the steam cap cover and take it apart. Then wipe it
    • On some models, you need to squeeze the levers on the back of the cap to take them apart while on the others they simply twist of
  7. Remove the condensation cup, empty it, rinse it, and place it back
  8. Locate the steam nozzle cleaning pin at the bottom of the rice cooker, remove the nozzle by unscrewing it, and unclog the nozzle
    • Be gentle. If you’re too rough, you may severely damage the cooker

Steam Cleaning

Method 1: If Your Model Has the Program

Use this method only if your particular model has this program. If you aren’t sure, consult the manual.

If yours does not have this feature, go to the next method.

  1. Fill the inner pot with water until it reaches the “2” marker
  2. Close the lid and select “Auto Steam Clean” program
  3. Press “Pressure cook” to start
  4. Once done, remove the pot and gently tap on the inner lid to absorb the water

Method 2: If Your Model Doesn’t Have the Program

  1. Fill the inner pot with water until it reaches the “2” marker
  2. Close the lid and select “Glutinous rice” program
  3. Press “Pressure cook” to start
  4. Leave the water to boil for about 2 minutes and stop the rice cooker (press “Cancel”)
  5. Remove the pot and gently tap on the inner lid to absorb the water

If you wish to really disinfect the machine or if it smells, add half a tablespoon of white vinegar to the water.

Don’t like reading? Then take a look at this video:

How to Clean Zojirushi Rice Cooker

zojirushi rice cooker
  1. Start with the pot. Clean it with warm soapy water
    • Avoid abrasive materials and metal utensils
  2. Remove the inner lid and wash it the same way as the pot
    • Depending on the model, either pull it off or pull on the release tabs
    • Now is a good time to check the gasket. If you see cracks and/or discoloring, it may be time to replace it
  3. Gently wipe the interior with a damp cloth
  4. With the same damp cloth, wipe the outside
  5. Remove the steam went and moisture collector (if applicable to your particular model) and clean them both
    • In most cases, a simple rinse will do

If this is too much for you, simply throw it away and get a new one.

Is Zojirushi Rice Cooker Dishwasher Safe?


How to Clean Aroma Rice Cooker

aroma rice cooker

Wait until the machine cools down. Never clean it immedietely after cooking.


  1. Wipe with a damp cloth

Inner Bowl

  1. Remove it from the rice cooker
  2. Wash in lukewarm soapy water with a sponge
  3. Rinse and let it air dry

Inner Lid

  1. Remove it by pulling it out
  2. Wash it the same way as the bowl
  3. Rinse and let it air dry
  4. Install it
    • If it’s not properly installed, the outer lid will not close

Heating Plate

  1. Wipe with a damp cloth
  2. Dry with a dry one

See the manual (page 7) for diagrams and additional information.

Did you know that Aroma is considered one of the best (if not the best) rice cooker brands in the US?

How to Clean Tiger Rice Cooker

tiger rice cooker

The folks at Tiger recommend cleaning your rice cooker every time you use it, preferably the same day to remove odors and prevent the growth of germs.

Also, you’ll get the best results if you clean each piece separately.

  1. Unplug the machine and let it cool
  2. Remove the inner pot, inner lid, and steam cap
    • To safely remove the inner lid, gently pull it towards you with both hands
    • For the steam cap, insert fingers into the cut and lift
  3. Either soak the parts in warm soapy water for a few hours or wash them straight away
    • You can add a tablespoon or two of bleach or vinegar to the cleaning solution
  4. Rinse and dry the parts
  5. Wipe the inside, outside, and the power cord with a damp cloth

Frequently Asked Questions

How Often Should I Clean My Rice Cooker?

The best practice is to do it every time you use it.

But this isn’t always possible due to our hectic lifestyle.

I clean my rice cooker after several uses and when I notice odors. I recommend you do the same.

How Do I Clean My Rice Cooker With Vinegar?

white distilled vinegar
  1. In the inner pot mix water and vinegar in a 50/50 or 3:1 ratio, depending on how smelly the rice cooker is
  2. Turn on the machine and wait for it to boil
  3. Once the solution has started boiling, turn off the machine and let it cool down
  4. Thoroughly rinse the pot

How Do You Clean the Inside of a Rice Cooker?

Wipe it with a damp cloth.

Make sure the cloth isn’t wet and don’t press too hard. There’s a chance water might drip into the bottom where the electronics are.

How Do You Clean a Burnt Rice Cooker?

One of the first things that come to mind to some of us is to scrub really hard and/or use strong cleaning solutions. DON’T do it. You’ll ruin the cooker beyond repair.

The inner bowl of a rice cooker is just like a regular pan.

The simplest method is to soak the bowl in water and dish soap and leave it overnight.

If this doesn’t work for you and the stains are really stubborn, add vinegar or baking soda (enough to cover the cooked-on rice) and pour warm water. Then fire up the rice cooker and wait for the solution to boil. You can even let it boil for 10-20 minutes if the rice is really (and I mean really) burnt.

I prefer baking soda over vinegar because I don’t like the smell of boiling vinegar.

How Do You Clean Mold Out of a Rice Cooker?

  1. Remove as much mold and leftover rice as you can by hand
  2. Clean it as you’d normally would (either with soap and water or vinegar and water)
  3. Rinse and dry

Although it looks disgusting and dangerous to one’s health, you don’t need to do anything special in this case.

Can You Put a Rice Cooker in the Dishwasher?

In most cases, no.

There are some exceptions (like some Aroma models) to this case, but don’t completely rely on the claims.

High heat and dishwasher tablets that are full of harsh chemicals will most likely ruin the inner pot (or a part of it).

Just stick to handwashing. It’s better to spend a couple of minutes more washing the rice cooker than to losing a hundred bucks or more to save a few minutes.

Clean as a Whistle in No Time

For some people, it’s just another chore. It doesn’t matter how you look at it, you have to clean your rice cooker every now and then. It’s not hard nor time-consuming. When done, you’ll have not only a sparkling clean rice cooker but also a rice cooker with a much longer lifespan!

Just follow these simple and easy steps and you’ll be ready for your next meal in no time!

A rice cooker is an electric kitchen appliance used mainly to make cooking rice a much easier task. Because of its name, however, some people don’t know that it can be used to cook so much more! From chilis, cereals, and soups, to vegetables and pasta, rice cookers have made preparing all types of meals more simple and fun.

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About Mario 148 Articles
I am the owner of Kitchen Guru Ideas. I've set up this site so I can share my kitchen tips and hacks that have been passed on to me from my parents and grandparents and show you how a wonderful experience cooking is and not just a way to save money. Even in this hectic lifestyle, there is time to prepare and most important enjoy a home-cooked meal.

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