How to clean a blender

From time-saving tips to problem solving, we’ve got all the dirt on how to keep your favorite appliance sparkling clean…

blender on countertop with apples and drinks
(Image credit: Beko)

If you're considering buying one, knowing how to clean a blender is a must. Anyone who has ever enjoyed making a tasty smoothie or heart-warming soup only to be put off in future by the thought of scrubbing out the blender afterwards will know what we're talking about. 

The effort of taking a blender apart, working the washing up brush into all those nooks and crannies, not to mention the risk of sliced fingers, often feels too high for the reward. After all, it shouldn’t take three times longer to clean the appliance you made your drink in, than it does to actually drink it. 

Even if yours is amongst the best blenders, which have some dishwasher-safe components, you’ll usually need to break it down first, and it can take up a lot of space in the basket, especially if you blend every day. Daily dishwasher use at high temperatures (above 80ºC) can damage the blender jug, or rather etch the surface which will eventually take on a cloudy appearance. If the blades can be cleaned in the dishwasher, do remove them as soon as the cycle is finished to prevent steam blunting or corroding the metal.

Fortunately, there is another way, and the truly great news is that it only takes 30 seconds and doesn’t require taking the blender apart while it’s still dripping with pulverised ingredients. Better yet, it works with any blender.

How to clean a blender

The best way to clean a blender is known as the Self-Cleaning Method – and this method works on and can be adapted for portable blenders, too.

All you need to do is simply add a couple of cups full of warm (not boiling) water and a small amount of liquid detergent to the jug. Pop on the lid and turn the blender on. Use the pulse setting a couple of times (if you have one), or just dial it up to full power and blend the food debris away. 

The cyclone action will ensure soapy water reaches all those hard to access parts under and around the blade. 

Empty, rinse under the tap, and leave on the drainer to air dry, or dry with a lint free cloth for extra shininess.      

Immersion blenders can usually be separated so that the blade can be cleaned in the sink or dishwasher, with the body usually only needing a quick wipe over. However, if you are careful, you can clean an immersion blender by dipping the blade attachment into a bowl of warm soapy water and turning the blender on, then rinsing afterwards. If debris is stuck on, separate the blade attachment from the body and put the blade into warm, soapy water to soak first – then try the cleaning method above again. 

How to clean a blender if you have hard water

If you follow the steps above and notice the jug still isn’t as sparkling clean as you’d like, the issue could be hard water-related. Blender jugs are prone to limescale build up in a similar way to shower screens, so if you live in a hard water area you might notice a filmy residue, even after cleaning. 

To solve the problem, all you need to do is add one more step to the self-cleaning process: throw in a coarsely chopped lemon, rind and all, at the same time as the liquid detergent and get blending. Empty, refill with plain water, blend once more to rinse and leave to dry. 

The acidic juice will power away the limescale, leaving a visibly clean blender. This extra ingredient only needs to be included once or twice a month, depending on how frequently you use your blender and water hardness levels.

How to clean a stained blender

Foods like tomato, Indian spices and beetroot can take their toll on any blender but especially those with plastic jugs. Cloudiness can also be an issue, often caused by oily food residue. 

So, to clean a stained blender, first, try the lemon trick above. If there are still stubborn stains, it’s time to add muscle power. 

Unplug the base and remove the jug, then mix a 50/50 paste of baking soda and water. Take a long-handled brush or toothbrush and coat the interior of your jug with the paste. Leave it for an hour or so (it shouldn’t be allowed to dry), and then rinse off. Finally, put the jug back onto the base and plug it in. Pour in a couple of cups of warm water and add a cup of white wine vinegar before whizzing for 30 seconds or so. This final step will cut through any lingering residue and should leave you with a box-fresh blender jug.

How to clean a blender that smells

Ever lifted the lid on a supposedly clean blender only to be met by a pungent odor? One cause of this is storing your blender with the lid on, especially if it is still a little damp when you stash it away. Leaving the lid off or ajar when not in use will prevent trapped air inside from getting stale and smelly. 

But certain foods, like garlic or onion, can also be problematic, even if the jug is left unlidded. 

To clean a blender that smells, again, baking soda will save the day. This time patience is your friend. Sit the blender jug in the sink and fill almost to the top with warm water. Add one cup of baking soda and leave to soak overnight with the lid off, before washing normally. A squirt of lemon juice in the overnight mix will leave the jug smelling extra fresh.

How do you deep clean a blender?

Deep cleaning a blender at least twice a year is recommended, but this very much depends on use.

While the self-cleaning method is excellent for day-to-day cleaning and will help prevent the build-up of food in unwanted places, it is important to undertake a more thorough clean periodically. Liquids can seep into joints, especially around the blade and lid seal, causing a gradual build-up of bacteria. 

Most blenders have detachable cutter blades/cutter units that make the process a little easier. Be extremely careful when handling the blade unit. Read the instruction book to find out if some or all (non-electric) parts are dishwasher friendly – and at what temperature. If your blender isn’t dishwasher-friendly, and many are not, it’s just a case of washing each part in warm soapy water. Leavie to soak if there are any stubborn areas. 

It’s important not to use abrasive cleaning pads, like Brillo pads for example, or granular cleaning agents, which can scratch the surface of any plastic parts. 

The motor body is generally only suitable for cleaning with a damp, soapy cloth – do be sure to unplug before cleaning. Use a grease-obliterating product, like Elbow Grease, if there is an oily build-up on the unit’s surface but spray it on your cloth, sparingly, rather than directly on the unit, to prevent moisture getting inside the electrics.