So you’ve grated (and eaten!) a delicious, hearty dose of cheese onto your plate. Now you’re staring at the cheese grater knowing you have to clean it but absolutely dreading the cleaning process. I’ve been there. No one likes cleaning a clogged-up grater, but this doesn’t have to be a boring, complicated task. There are several secrets to it; I’m sharing them with you in this guide for how to clean a cheese grater, the easy way.
Rinse the Grater Immediately
Nothing makes cleaning your cheese grater easier than rinsing it off right after each use. The longer the cheese shreds get to harden, the harder it will be to get them off the metal plate. And while this is the last thing you may want to do before enjoying your homecooked meal, future-you will thank you.
Give Your Cheese Grater a Generous Soak
If you didn’t rinse the grater off straight away (happens to the best of us), you should soak it. Mix a few drops of liquid soap with hot water in a deep container and drop your cheese shredder in. Let it sit for 30-or-so minutes so the hardened cheese can soften up.
Scrub Vigorously with a Brush
After the soak, you’ll want to scrub off the cheese shredded with a hard brush. You can use a dry scrub brush, pastry brush, or even an old toothbrush. As long as the bristles are coarse and harsh, it will do the trick. Plus, there are other kitchen tools you can clean using this kind of brush, so make sure to have one in your kitchen at all times!
Remember to scrub up and down the grating plate. In other words, you should work your toothbrush or pastry brush both along and against the “pokey” holes in the grater.
Dish Soap, White Vinegar, and Lemon Juice Can Help
Sometimes, even the best stainless steel cheese graters will get stains from time to time. If yours has seen better days, there’s a way of getting rid of those old “cheese streaks.”
Drizzle some liquid dish soap on your grater and scrub it again with a pastry brush, for example. After a minute or so of massaging the metal plate, the stains should go away. You can repeat this process with white vinegar, too.
Alternatively, you can use half a lemon to address crusted-on food particles. Cut your lemon in half, dip the juicy side on some coarse sea salt, and use it to vigorously brush your cheese shredder. It will get clean and sweetly scented in a heartbeat.
Let Your Cheese Grater Air Dry
I recommend that you always let your cheese grater (and other stainless steel kitchen utensils) air dry. If for whatever reason you don’t have the time, pat it dry with a microfiber cloth.
If All Else Fails, Pop It in the Dishwasher
Lastly, if none of my hacks worked, you could clean your grater in the dishwasher. (That is if the manufacturer specifically states that your grater is dishwasher-safe, of course.) The dishwashing liquid and high water pressure (and temperature) will help dislodge whatever pieces of cheese got really, really stuck in the grating holes.
I've been using SOS pads to clean the entire grader after soaking for thirty minutes and it seems to be working. I wouldn't put the grader in the dishwasher because over time the stainless steel will break down and get pitted because it's from the heat of the water from the dishwasher.