My dishwasher recently broke and I haven’t bothered repairing it or replacing it. I don’t mind washing dishes. In fact, I like it. It’s therapeutic. But that darn cheese grater! Whether you have a box grater of a flat grater, it’s such a pain to clean! Since most of us use the large or medium holes of a cheese grater to grate semi-soft cheeses like cheddar, Monterey Jack, or mozzarella, the cheese tends to stick to the metal. Bits of cheese cling to the holes. It’s a sticky mess. Let’s face it, a grater is perfect for grating but poorly designed for cleaning. I have a few tricks up my sleeve though! Here is how to make cleaning your grater easier.
1. Don’t use hot water, use cold!
Most people will assume that hot water will help melt the cheese residue off the grater. In reality, it just makes the cheese more sticky! It’s nonintuitive, but use cold water! It won’t make the cheese stick worse and will help rinse it off.
2. Use a dish brush
To clean all the irregular shapes of a grater, a dish brush is the best choice. Using cold water, give the grater a scrub with your dish brush and you’ll see that the cheese starts coming off more easily than if you used hot water and a cloth or sponge. And this is true whether or not the water is soapy. When using the brush, it’s best to rub the brush in the direction of the cutting blades, not against them. But, if you go against the grain, it’s not like your kitchen will explode.
3. Finish with warm soapy water
I know this is a lot of steps but I didn’t say it was simple. I just said it works. Once you get off the excess cheese, finish with warm (or hot if you can take it) soapy water and a dishcloth to thoroughly clean the grater before rinsing. A flat grater will be much easier to clean than a box grater, but at this point, you will have removed most of the sticky cheese.
Now, if you do own a box grater with a side for finely grating hard cheeses, my advice is not to use it. Instead, for hard cheese, use a Microplane grater. You’ll find it works much better for hard cheeses like parmesan and will clean up fairly easily. Just a quick rinse and a wipe with soapy water usually work. If you want to know more about graters in general, go to the grater section of my kitchen utensils article. And, keep in mind that there is no rule you have to finely grate hard cheese. Depending on how you plan to use it you can also use the medium or large grater blades.
Cheese grater image ID 155861294 © Anyra M | Dreamstime.com
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