How to Clean a Flour Sifter
Flour is one of the most commonly used ingredients all across the world. People in some countries even live on flour-based food items. When talking about flour, the idea of a flour sifter comes along. Flour sifters are a very handy tool that allows for precisely distribute the flour.
Using the flour sifter is just one side of the coin. If you use something in the kitchen, you have to keep it clean. Cleaning flour sifters, however, might be a challenging task. Considering the fine-mesh structure, getting all the particles out of the holes is difficult.
Before you go out and throw the sifter away, you are entitled to try and clean it. A good quality metal flour sifter is expensive and you shouldn’t give up on it so easily.
In this article, we’ll know in detail about how to clean a flour sifter. You might think what’s there to learn about cleaning a kitchen accessory? Have patience and keep reading.
What are Flour Sifters?
It’s nearly impossible to find someone who doesn’t know what a flour sifter is. Everyone has one in their houses. It might be known by different names in different parts of the world but the main idea behind is the same.
A flour sifter is basically a cup with a fine strainer on one end. The cup is the most common variant but flour sifters can come in different shapes and sizes. You put your flour on one end, lightly shake the sifter and the refined flour comes out the other side.
Whether you need to use a flour sifter or not, is a debated topic. Some say you should always sift the flour before using it on any recipe while others might say that you don’t need to.
In reality, it all comes down to personal preference and the quality of the flour. Sifting the flour makes it lighter and easy to mix. Flours might have a lumpy texture if it has been tightly packed or sitting idle for a long time. Sifting also helps eliminate any impurities that might break the texture of the batter.
In baking, sifting is often necessary. As baking requires precise measurements, sifting the flour aids in that. Flour that has not been sifted can result in inaccurate measurements. You won’t find the consistency you’re looking for with the inaccurate amount of in.
Now, it’s time to come to the most important part. Before learning how to clean a flour sifter, you need to understand why to clean a flour. As the sifter is breaking up the flour and eliminating other particles from the mixture, the tiny holes can get clogged up very easily.
You might think that flour is a very dry ingredient, why would it stick? Your concerns are somewhat true. But wherever you are sifting the flour, there is moisture around. It can be water, eggs or anything else. Once these moisture particles come in contact with the sifter strainers, the result is gunky flour.
Using plain water is often not enough to thoroughly clean the surface of the sifter. If it’s a plastic sifter, you might be able to get away with just water and a sponge. But metal sifters, in particular, are very arrogant with the gunk.
With that said, let’s get on with the cleaning techniques. Depending on the level of gunk you have in the holes, it can take longer than you’d expect. Brace yourself!
How to Clean a Flour Sifter
The key to keep a flour sifter clean is to act fast. The faster you take the action, the less likely it’ll be to build up. Once you’re done with the sifting, go to the trash bin and bang with your other.
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- Soapy Water Treatment
You can follow the same procedure over your sink if you wish.
It’ll help to get rid of the loose particles of flour easily. If you leave it on, the moisture from the air can sit the particles down more permanently.
If you’ve never cleaned it and you’re just learning how to clean a sifter, you need to go further. Start by soaking the sifter in soapy water for at least 15 minutes. You should use very hot water so the gunk will break up quicker.
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Take it as a tip. You can use a few drops of distilled white vinegar in the mix. The acid in the vinegar will help loosen the flour particles even faster.
As you’ll be using very hot water, be careful if your sifter has any plastic parts. Yes, hot water can melt the plastic as well. Submerge the area completely that you intend to clean.
You might even need to leave the sifter under soapy water if it’s been a long time since you’ve been using the sifter.
Now that you’ve left the sifter to clean up for enough time, it’s time to rinse the soapy water. If you have a dishwasher, you can use that to rinse the flour sifter. But there’s a catch, if you’re putting the sifter with other utensils, food bits might get caught in the fine mesh of the sifter. Hence, everything you did will go to the vein.
It’s better to clean a flour sifter separately. You need to scrub the sifter by hand. It’ll take time but it’ll be worth it. You can use a strong sponge and some dishwashing soap again if you like. It’ll ensure that you are leaving nothing on the sifter.
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If the sponge isn’t doing you any good, you need to step the game up. Investing in a coarse brush would be ideal. But an old toothbrush would do the job just fine. One pro tip, always sterilize the toothbrush with boiling water or hydrogen peroxide before you start the cleaning.
The fine bristles of the coarse or toothbrush will easily penetrate the tiny holes and push out anything that might be stuck in there. It’s a very common trick to use while learning how to clean a sifter.
If you still see flour particles stuck, you need to go the extreme way. Well, it’s actually easy. It just needs some manual labor. Get a few toothpicks and start poking. That’s it. Keep poking until you get everything out of there and you’ll be left with a brand new flour sifter.
Drying is a crucial part if you’re using a metal flour sifter. As we know metal is prone to rust, leaving a metal sifter wet is not a good idea. Properly dry the sifter with towels or let it air dry before storing it.
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If you have a plastic sifter, it’s still important to properly dry it out. Leaving we plastic for longer can result in bacteria infestation. Also, if you’re planning to immediately use the sifter after cleaning, the water drops will attract the flour and get it dirty within minutes.
You can towel dry the plastic sifters or put them in the oven for a minute. Drying with the towel requires manual labor and it can still leave water on the sifter. But putting it in the oven will evaporate the water completely resulting in a shiny new plastic flour sifter.
Clean Rusted Sifter
If you have a metal sifter sitting around for a very long time that you haven’t used, it’s bound to have rust on it. Fortunately, cleaning rust is not a very complex process. You can start by soaking the sifter in vinegar.
The mild acid in the vinegar will break down the rust gradually. You can then use steel wool to clean the surface. It’s not ideal to use hard degreasers like WD40 or kerosene on a sifter. As these degreasers are hard to remove, they might later end up in the food.
If you have an aluminum flour sifter, the vinegar method won’t work. You’ll need to use alkaline-based cleaners like ammonia.
If you notice severe rusting on a flour sifter, it’s best not to use it anymore. Invest in a new good quality flour sifter.
Flour sifters are an integral part of baking. Commercial grade flour comes in a very refined form now. It’s often not mandatory to use a flour sifter. But if you do use a flour sifter to comply with a delicate recipe, it’s necessary that you clean it thoroughly afterward.
Not knowing how to clean a flour sifter is nothing serious but it’s definitely something everyone should know. It makes life easier for the next time you’re going to bake something with flour. Follow our guide to clean your flour sifter and you’ll notice the difference yourself.
- How can I remove rust from a strainer/colander? – Home Talk
- A Fine-Mesh Sieve Is the Most Annoying Thing to Clean – Healthyish