how to clean a mortar and pestle

How to Clean a Mortar and Pestle: Tips and Tricks

Last Updated on March 21, 2023

Are you ready to get your mortar and pestle sparkling clean? It’s not hard or time-consuming, so don’t worry! Cleaning a mortar and pestle is actually pretty simple, and it’ll be worth the effort when you have a shiny new set of tools. You won’t believe how much better food tastes when ground up in a freshly cleaned bowl. In this article, we’ll cover all the steps you need to know on how to clean a mortar and pestle and making it squeaky clean. So let’s begin!

Tools Needed for Cleaning

Cleaning a mortar and pestle requires certain tools. You’ll need a dishcloth, scrub brush, baking soda, and cleaning brush. Additionally, vinegar can be used for tough stains on the inside of the mortar or edges of the pestle. This combination of materials will help to clean your mortar and pestle effectively without harming it. For deeper cleaning, you may want to use an old toothbrush in place of the cleaning brush. Doing this will allow you to get into all the nooks and crannies that need attention. Ultimately, having these items on hand is essential when preparing to clean your mortar and pestle.

Step-By-Step Instructions

Cleaning a mortar and pestle can be an involved process, but with the right instructions, it’s easy. Here are the step-by-step instructions to follow:

  • Start by rinsing your mortar and pestle in warm water. This will help loosen any food particles or residue that has become stuck on them.
  • Then use some scrubbing techniques such as using a brush or a cloth to scrub away any remaining debris from the surface of both parts. Be sure to pay special attention to crevices where dirt might have accumulated over time.
  • After you’ve finished scrubbing, use a dampened cloth to wipe down both pieces of equipment until they’re completely clean. Make sure all soap residue is gone before drying off with another dry cloth.

Once everything is nice and clean, store your mortar and pestle in a cool, dry place so they’ll remain free of dust and other contaminants for many years to come!

Disinfecting the Mortar and Pestle

a white kitchen tool for grinding

Once you have finished cleaning the mortar and pestle, it is important to disinfect it. This will help protect against bacteria buildup and make sure your grinding tools are safe for use. To do this, fill the bowl with warm water and add a few drops of an antibacterial dish soap or natural cleaner like white vinegar. Let sit for five minutes before scrubbing with a sponge or brush to ensure all surfaces come in contact with the solution. Use a paper towel to dry completely after rinsing thoroughly.

It’s also important to sanitize your mortar and pestle regularly. A deep clean should be done at least once per week if you’re using it often. For extra protection, consider spraying the inside of the bowl with an antibacterial spray as well as wiping down any hard-to-reach areas that may harbour bacteria. With proper care and maintenance, you can enjoy your new kitchen tool without worry!

Remove Stains and Odors

Now that the mortar and pestle have been disinfected, it’s time to focus on removing any lingering stains or odours. Depending on how much use your mortar and pestle have seen, you may need to take some extra steps to tackle tough ingredient stains or cooking odours.

Cleaning solutions such as a mild detergent mixed with water can help remove most surface stains from the inside of the bowl and outside of the pestle. For tougher hard-to-remove stains, try mixing a paste made out of baking soda and water. Apply this mixture directly onto the stain before scrubbing it off gently with a soft cloth or sponge. You might also opt for an all-purpose cleaner instead of a homemade solution if necessary.

For persistent odours like garlic or onion, fill up your mortar and pestle with white vinegar for about 10 minutes before rinsing it out thoroughly afterwards with warm soapy water. The vinegar will help eliminate unwanted food smells without leaving behind any residue. Alternatively, you can sprinkle some coarse salt in the bottom of your mortar before grinding it into a powdery substance using the pestle; then rinse out both pieces with soap and hot water until clean.

Removing Food Residue

Removing food residue from a mortar and pestle can be done quickly and easily. To begin, use a dry cloth to wipe away any excess food particles that are visible on the outside of the mortar and pestle. Be sure to pay close attention to the crevices between the two pieces, as these may contain small bits of debris. Next, prepare a mixture of warm water and dish soap in a bowl or bucket. Place your mortar and pestle into this solution for about 15-20 minutes before removing it. This will help loosen up any stubborn food residues that were not removed with the dry cloth. Finally, thoroughly rinse off your mortar and pestle with hot water until all cleaning agent is gone. Taking these steps regularly will help ensure your mortar and pestle remains clean and free from food residue build-up.

Natural Cleaners to Use

Moving on, there are several natural cleaners that can be used to clean a mortar and pestle. Baking soda is an effective cleaner due to its abrasive properties. It helps remove food residue as well as any bacteria that may have been left behind. To use it, mix one tablespoon of baking soda with two tablespoons of water until the mixture is thick like a paste. Then scrub the surface of the mortar and pestle using this solution. Rinse off afterwards with warm water.

lemon and a bottle of juice

Vinegar is also great for cleaning a mortar and pestle because it has disinfectant properties. To make a vinegar solution, combine equal parts white distilled vinegar and warm water in a bowl or cup. Dip a cloth into the solution and wipe down the mortar and pestle’s surface area. For additional cleaning power, add some sea salt to the vinegar solution before wiping down the surfaces.

Lemon juice can be used too; simply squeeze half a lemon onto your mortar and pestle then rub it around with a damp cloth or sponge. Alternatively, you can mix olive oil with coarse sea salt to form a paste then buff away at tough stains by rubbing it over them in circular motions – much like how you would polish silverware! Finally, rinse everything off with warm water when finished.

Special Considerations for Wooden or Porcelain Mortars and Pestles

Wooden mortars and porcelain pestles require special care when cleaning. Wood may be more delicate than other materials, so it’s important to use a gentle cleanser when cleaning wooden mortar. Avoid using abrasive sponges or scrubbers, which can damage the surface of the wood. For tougher stains, you can make a paste with baking soda and water to gently rub onto the mortar before wiping it away with a damp cloth. To disinfect your wooden mortar after each use, wipe it down with white vinegar or rubbing alcohol.

Porcelain is also prone to scratches and staining if not properly cared for. When cleaning porcelain-pestle, avoid using harsh cleaners as they may cause discolouration or etching on the surface of the material. Instead, stick with mild detergents mixed in warm water and always rinse well afterwards. If there are any stubborn stains that don’t come off easily, try mixing lemon juice and salt into a paste for stain removal then rinse thoroughly afterwards. Remember to dry both wood and porcelain pieces immediately after washing them to prevent warping or cracking over time.

Frequently Asked Question

Is It Necessary to Clean the Mortar and Pestle After Each Use?

a small wooden kitchen tool

Is it necessary to clean the mortar and pestle after each use? This is a question that requires further investigation. Cleaning frequency for your mortar and pestle will depend on how often you’re using them and what types of ingredients you are grinding in them. It’s important to keep this kitchen tool well-maintained, so let’s look at some guidelines to determine if it’s necessary to clean the mortar and pestle after each use:

  1. If you’re using herbs or other dry spices, then cleaning after every use is not absolutely necessary; however, removing any residue from previous sessions is still recommended.
  2. When dealing with volatile oils like garlic or ginger, always wipe down the surface between uses as these substances can be absorbed into porous materials over time.
  3. For wet foods such as tomatoes or avocados, make sure to give the bowl and pestle a thorough rinse before beginning another round of grinding.
  4. Lastly, if there has been extended periods of non-use (weeks/months), apply a light coat of mineral oil to help prevent rust build-up due to moisture exposure.

Understanding when it’s necessary to clean your mortar and pestle should now be clearer—it all comes down to following basic hygiene principles while avoiding cross contamination from one item being ground up into another! So take care of your kitchen tools by taking note of our simple tips above, which will ensure they stay in top condition for years to come.


In conclusion, It’s important to know how to clean a mortar and pestle after each use, especially if you’re using it for different ingredients. A good rule of thumb is to wash it with warm soapy water as soon as you finish grinding or crushing whatever you were working on. With just a few simple steps, you can ensure that yours remains safe to use every time you need it.

About The Author

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top