I’ve Been Cleaning My Microplane Zester the Same Way for 15 Years — And It’s Still as Good as New

published Oct 24, 2022
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My Microplane zester holds an honored spot in my cooking tool drawer. Through the years, I’ve used it for grating cheese, garlic, and ginger; zesting citrus and spices; and so much more. But while having a Microplane zester is a no-brainer, cleaning one is a bit trickier.

Accessing the surface on the underside is difficult because of the lips on either side that bend around the edges. Cleaning the top is a bit frightening because of the razor-sharp blades that can cut skin, but also catch rags or sponges. And the food that gets caught in microplane zesters tends to cling to the small holes of the grater. 

My No-Fail Technique for Cleaning Your Microplane Zester

So what’s the solution? Some swear by not washing the zester at all but rather leaving it near a heat source and allowing food to dry and fall off. However, I’ve been cleaning my zester the same way for 15 years, and it’s still as good as new. Here’s what I do.

  1. Clean it right away. I don’t let food dry in my zester, if I can help it. I wash off left-behind bits of food right away. 
  2. Tap to dislodge food. The first thing I do to loosen bits of food is to tap the zester gently against the side of the sink to dislodge the left-behind bits of food. 
  3. Rinse with water. Next, I rinse it under water, turning it over as I go. I may use my fingers on the underside (not sharp) of the zester to encourage food to come off. 
  4. Swipe with a sponge. At this point, I use a sponge or rag to clean both the top and bottom of the zester. On the bottom, I use the side of the sponge so it fits between the edges of the zester. On the top, I make sure that I only run the sponge in the direction of the blades, never against them. 
  5. Rinse with water. Finally, I rinse the zester one more time to make sure all the food and soap are off. 
  6. Dry thoroughly. I set the zester out to air dry, making sure it’s completely bone dry before I go to put it away. 
  7. Put the cover on. I always put my zester back in the protective cover it came in. This keeps the blades nice and sharp and also prevents skin scrapes.