Dirty rice cooker
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How to clean your rice cooker: The dishwasher method

Cooking rice is a staple in many households. It’s quick, easy, and tastes great! But then what? How do you clean it out? Well luckily for all of us there are many different ways to go about this. In this article, we will be discussing the dishwasher method.

So the question we aim to answer is, can you put a rice cooker in the dishwasher?

Yes, you can. However, not all parts of a rice cooker can go into a dishwasher. The parts that can be put in the machine are the:

  • Inner cooking pot
  • Steam cap
  • Gasket
  • Dew collector
  • rice spoon
  • Inner lid covering

One thing to mention that’s deeply important is that if there are any pieces of rubber on any of these items, make sure they are secure to the item. If they are removable, then it’s recommended to leave that rubber part out of the dishwasher.

This option is best for those who don’t have time or want to manually scrub their rice cooker out with soap and water.

Cleaning your rice cooker is an important part of keeping it in good shape. The dishwasher method is one way to do this and make sure that you remove every bit of gunk from the crevices so that it will stay looking brand new for years to come.

What kind of parts are there in a rice cooker?

Rice cookers come in various styles and models. Today’s rice cookers are built with lots of different parts. You will be surprised about the options you have in a rice cooker.

Rice cooker opened
Rice cooker opened

The most common parts are the cooking pot (main body), and a lid as well as an inner cooking pot.

Traditionally, you’ll find these items as part or comes with your rice cooker.

Main body

This is the outer casing of the rice cooker. It’s the part you see in front of you. It houses all the components of the rice cooker and also the electrical wiring and circuits. Because of this, the body is not meant to be washed or submerged in any form of water and should be wiped and scrubbed down with a damp towel by hand.


The lid often comes in 2 different forms. One form is a removable lid and another that’s permanently attached by a hinge. These 2 versions basically perform the same function. Both have small air vents to let out the steam that comes from cooking water with rice.

Inner lid

You’re probably scratching your head about this but trust me. Most modern-day rice cookers with permanently attached lids have an inner lid.

This lid may perhaps be one of the most overlooked parts of a rice cooker only because most people don’t understand its purpose.

The answer is that it preserves the seal mechanism. Bubbles will usually rise to the top and make contact with it first. It will pop before it reaches the vent.

Inner cooking pot

This part of the rice cooker is detachable and usually made out of aluminum and coated with Teflon to be non-sticky. However, Teflon has had some bad reps in the past and the debate is still ongoing. We’ll talk more about that later on in the cleaning phase.

This part of the rice cooker is where the food goes. In most situations, it will be rice and water. However, you can cook more than just rice in a rice cooker.

The material that makes up this inner pot largely determines how fast you get your rice cooked. This is because of how heat is transferred through metals.

Surprisingly enough, most rice cooker inner pots are either made of aluminum or copper. Copper is almost 2 times more conductive than aluminum and oftentimes, copper will cook rice faster.

Heating element

The heating element of a rice cooker can be found inside, underneath where the inner pot sits. It’s permanently attached to the main body and cannot be removed. Its job is to lay right underneath the inner pot making contact and heating up the pot.

Because this component converts electricity into heat, it would be advised not to place to introduce a lot of water but can be cleaned with a very lightly damp towel if it gets dirty.

If it needs to be cleaned, always remember to pull the electrical plug off from the wall first and wait several hours to days to wipe it down.

Thermal sensor

You probably won’t be able to see this part of the rice cooker because it’s embedded deep underneath or adjacent to the heating element.

The thermal sensor plays a vital role in monitoring and regulating the temperature of the inner pot while cooking rice.

When rice is done cooking and most of the water has evaporated from the inner pot, the temperature will continue to rise. It’s this thermal sensor that will pick up the signal and shut off the heating element, and place the rice cooker into “keep warm” mode.

Steam cap

The steam cap serves an important purpose in the venting system of the rice cooker. Some rice cookers are fitted with removable steam caps. This a component of a rice cooker that will allow rice cookers to cook rice better by allowing more heat to stay within the chamber of the main body.

The vent is covered by a steam vent cap that’s usually made of heat-resistant durable plastic.

This steam cap requires regular cleaning, which you can do by either wiping it down with a damp cloth if it’s permanently attached. If it can be removed, you can run water over it to clean it.


This is also known as a sealing ring. It’s used between the lid and the main body of a rice cooker.

These rings are usually made from silicone or rubber, which is heat-resistant to withstand high temperatures without melting away as other materials would do so it can be used in cooking food at very hot temps for long periods with no adverse effects on its shape.

The gasket should also get cleaned gently by hand to prevent it from getting damaged and not sealing properly, which can lead you to have a cooker that leaks water when cooking rice because of steam escaping through gaps between the lid & body

Dew collector

The dew collector is usually located on the back or side of the rice cooker. It’s used to stop condensation from dripping onto the countertop and to collect any excess water that may have been left in your rice cooker.

The dew collector is usually made of a mesh or plastic material, which can be cleaned with warm soapy dishwater or by hand.

Rice spoon

This is simply the spoon that comes with the rice cooker. It’s used to measure the correct amount of rice and water for cooking, as well as a serving spoon when it comes time to eat your meal

The best way to wash it is just by hand and dish soap.

What parts of the rice cooker can be cleaned in a dishwasher?

As we discussed before, there are a lot of parts to a rice cooker. Some of these parts can be cleaned in the dishwasher, and some cannot:

Below you’ll find a table that lists all the parts of a rice cooker and whether or not they can be cleaned in your dishwasher.

Is this part dishwasher safe?YesNo
Main bodyX
Detachable lidX
Undetachable lidX
Inner lideX
Inner cooking potX
Heating elementX
Thermal sensorX
Steam capX
Dew collectorX
Rice spoonX
A table that lists all the parts of a rice cooker and whether or not it is dishwasher safe

The main body of the rice cooker is water-resistant, but the insides can’t be submerged in water. Avoid water where the power cord is because it may trigger a short circuit.

The inner pot may be the dirties when it comes to food. Make sure you remove any large chunks of rice still left inside. I recommend using the rice spoon to scrape the rice out and dump it into the trash. Any large groups of rice leftover may stay even after going into the dishwasher.

If you want to clean the main body, make sure you disconnect it from the power cord and then wipe it down with a damp cloth.

The lid can be cleaned in your dishwasher, but make sure to remove any food particles first so that they don’t get stuck on other dishes while washing them!

Finally, make sure all items are completely dry before putting them back in the rice cooker.

Remember, if the lid is detectable, then you can put it in the dishwasher. If not, then wipe it down gently by hand.

Simple steps on how to clean your rice cooker

To thoroughly clean your rice cooker from top to bottom, follow the step I recommend.

  1. Always start with unplugging the rice cooker and giving it a few hours to discharge.
  2. Remove all the detachable parts which include the inner cooking pot, the lid, all loose gaskets, steam caps, spoon, inner lid, and the dew collector. Read into the manual of your model. Make sure you don’t yank out something you’re not supposed to.
  3. The inner lid is often something you might need to pop off to expose the bottom lid for cleaning. Check your owner’s manual for instructions.
  4. Rinse and remove any residue of food from any of these pieces. Don’t leave large chunks of rice clinging onto it.
  5. Place the dishwasher-safe items in the dishwasher.
  6. With a sponge or washcloth and dish soap, clean the rest of the parts.
  7. Flip the main body over and try to shake out any dried-up rice stuck in its crevices.
  8. Dry up all the wet parts with a towel or just leave it out to try for a day.
  9. Once completely dry, reassemble all the parts and cook.

Final thoughts

Since the rice cooker is a cooking appliance, you must always keep it clean. Not only will it prolong the lifespan of the appliance, but it will also ensure that you are cooking your food in a safe and sanitary environment.

It is important to clean the rice cooker on a regular basis to avoid any bacteria and mold from growing.

The dishwasher method is one of many ways you can easily clean your rice cooker and it works great for those who don’t have the time to do it by hand.

If you are looking for a way that is quick and easy, then this method just might be the right method for you.

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