Freshly grated mozzarella (or any cheese!) is an amazing addition to all kinds of foods, but the process of grating it can be a pain. And we're not just talking about the actual work of running it across the grater over and over again — without, hopefully, cutting your fingers! — but also the actual cleanup. That soft, fatty cheese can get stuck inside the grater's holes and you can tear up your sponge (or really injure yourself!) trying to get it clean.
And you obviously need to get it clean (otherwise there will be a gross buildup of food in the grater's holes and you'll be at the risk of cross-contaminating your next meal). But how?
Use a lemon wedge to clean gunky graters!
"Lemons are natural grease cutters," says Melissa Maker, author of Clean My Space. The acidity of the lemon will help cut the grease, and the fleshy pulp can scrub the metal and get into those hard-to-clean holes.
To use a lemon to de-gunk your cheese grater, simply cut it in half or into wedges, then run the pulp over the grater's holes. Some of the pulp will rip off and go into the holes, but that's okay! Give the lemon juice a little while to work its magic, then run the grater under super-hot water, scrubbing again with the lemon, if necessary. That glued-in cheese (and the lemon pulp) will rinse right out!
If the cheese had time to harden (maybe you ate dinner and put the dishes off for far too long?), you might need to add a little abrasive: salt. Dip your lemon into a bowl of salt and then scrub the grater. Wait a bit before running the grater under super-hot water to remove the cheese.
Another tool in the kitchen that will be your friend when cleaning a gunky grater? The sprayer attachment on your kitchen faucet. That concentrated water can help push food right through the holes. You can also use a stiff-bristled brush, but whatever you do, avoid using a sponge to cut down on the risk of grating the pads of your fingers off during the cleaning process.