Good Question: Cleaning Ceramic Mortar and Pestle

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Dear The Kitchen,

I was recently given a beautiful, cream coloured ceramic mortar and pestle. I'm dying to use it, but have no idea how to clean it (and it came with no instructions!). Can I just give it a wash in some warm soapy water?


Dear Mairi,

If your mortar and pestle has an unglazed interior, the best way to clean it is to rinse it out and let it drip dry. If it is especially gunked up, you can use a hard brush to scrub, but I wouldn't even use soap because the porous nature of the ceramic will take on the scent/taste of the soap. For this reason, you only want to use your mortar and pestle to grind spices and herbs. I wouldn't mash any oils in there, for example.


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Sara Kate is the founding editor of The Kitchn. She co-founded the site in 2005 and has since written three cookbooks. She is most recently the co-author of The Kitchn Cookbook, to be published in October 2014 by Clarkson Potter.