How To Clean a Food Processor Lid, Blade, and Handle

updated May 2, 2019
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(Image credit: Gina Eykemans)

When it comes to cleaning my food processor, 99.9 percent of the time I gently rinse it out and run the pieces through my dishwasher. But the high, dry heat cycle can be rough on the plastic components, and the dishwasher doesn’t always get into the nooks and crannies of the machine. (And I hate finding food stuck up in the handle or on the underside of the blade!) So we decided it was time to figure out a good way to clean all the tiny, cramped spaces of a food processor.

The trickiest part of this? Finding the right instrument to do the job efficiently. We knew we needed a long, skinny tool that could reach up into the handle and inside of the blade. Cambria and I started to email each other different ideas, and what we were left with seemed like an episode of MacGuyver. There were chopsticks fitted with paper towels and rubber bands; there was a pipe cleaner and a shish-kabob stick; toothpicks; Q-tips — it was getting complicated.

After trying to fit a chopstick with a wad of scaled-down paper towel, I knew I wanted to make this easier. So my husband and I headed to Target and walked up and down the cleaning aisles looking for a teeny-tiny scrub brush. There was nothing. What we did end up finding was this water bottle cleaning kit. This kit came with three brushes: a soft, larger scrub brush; a long, skinny, teeny-tiny bottle brush (bingo!); and a shorter brush with a circular-shaped head. I put it in my cart and didn’t look back. This method required 100 percent less sticks and paper towels. I was in.

In order to test it out, I got super sloppy and made some hummus in my food processor. I made sure to get it all up in the nooks and crannies. Then, with a few simple steps and my new tools, I cleaned my food processor in under five minutes. Here’s how I did it.

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Time to clean the food processor! (Image credit: Gina Eykemans)

What You Need


Warm water
Mild dish soap
Non-abrasive scrub brush or soft cloth
Water bottle cleaning set (I used this one from OXO) or other long, narrow cleaning brush
Dry dish towels


  1. Take the food processor apart. Remove the food processor bowl from the motor base, and separate all the components. You will be left with the bowl, lid, pushers, and blades.
  2. Do an initial clean: Submerge all parts (except the motor base, of course!) into a sink full of warm, soapy water and wash with a soft cloth or soft scrub brush. Make sure it’s a non-abrasive brush to avoid scratching the plastic.
  3. Inspect the nooks and crannies: Take a good look at the small, tight spaces of your food processor — most notably up inside the blade and the handle. These are areas that are difficult to get to with just a regular clean.
  4. Clean all crevices: Using the small brush in your set, scrub the inside of the blade, inside the handle, and any other tiny neglected nooks. I was able to get all the grime off by using just the soapy water, but if you need a little extra oomph, you can use some white vinegar to help things along. Pay particular attention to the handle crevices, the locking mechanism, and inside the chopping blade. Move the tool up and down to dislodge food bits.
  5. Rinse and dry: Rinse all parts thoroughly with water and allow to dry.