After using your meat grinder to prepare a delicious homemade meal, it's natural to want a quick cleanup, so into the dishwasher it goes.
However, after the cycle ends, you notice that your meat grinder's once shiny and clean surface has now turned dull and grey, with some black residue appearing on it.
What could have possibly gone wrong, and more importantly, what should you do now?
Why Did My Meat Grinder Turn Dark Gray?
Most meat grinders are made from aluminum, which reacts when washed in a dishwasher.
Dishwashers use intense heat and strong detergents, which can be hard on aluminum items.
Mainly, these detergents are relatively alkaline, which speeds up the oxidation process of aluminum, leading to a change in color.
The mineral content in water can also contribute to the darkening of aluminum.
This is why manufacturers recommend hand washing aluminum parts of meat grinders, as they aren't designed to withstand the rough conditions inside a dishwasher.
The combination of dishwasher heat, detergent, and water minerals can cause aluminum meat grinders to turn dark gray.
How Can You Clean and Restore Your Meat Grinder?
After accidentally washing your meat grinder in the dishwasher, you may be worried about its damage.
You can use a few practical methods to clean and restore your meat grinder safely and efficiently.
Baking Soda Technique
One method is the baking soda technique. Mix equal parts of baking soda and water to create a paste.
Apply it to the affected areas on the grinder and use an old toothbrush or sponge to scrub away any residue. Rinse with clean water and dry thoroughly.
Cream of Tartar
Another option is using cream of tartar. Make a paste by combining two tablespoons of cream of tartar and a few drops of water.
Apply the paste to the stubborn stains and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Then, scrub with a soft brush or sponge before rinsing and drying.
You can also prepare a solution by dissolving two tablespoons of cream of tartar into one quart (or four cups) of water in a stainless steel pot.
Then, place the grinder parts in this solution and boil for 10 minutes.
Vinegar is known for its cleaning properties and can help restore your meat grinder.
Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water in a bowl. Submerge the parts of the grinder in the solution and let them soak for a day or two.
After soaking, use a sponge or brush to scrub off any stubborn residue. Rinse with clean water and let the parts air dry.
Citric acid can also help clean your meat grinder.
Dissolve about 100 grams (2/3 cup) of citric acid in water to cover the grinder's parts. Then, boil these parts in the solution for an hour.
Citric acid, as an antioxidant, neutralizes the oxidation from the dishwasher. This helps to bring your grinder back to its normal state.
Remember to thoroughly rinse and dry all parts after this process before reassembling your grinder.
Hot Water and Tar Soap
The last method involves using hot water and tar soap. Fill a bowl with hot water, and add a few drops of tar soap.
Place the grinder components in the solution, allowing them to soak for a few minutes.
Use a soft brush or sponge to scrub away any remaining residue. Rinse under running water and dry completely.
The Right Way to Wash Your Meat Grinder
Now that you know how to restore a meat grinder that's been washed in the dishwasher, it's essential to know the right way to clean it in the future.
Follow the steps below.
Step 1: Disassemble Your Meat Grinder
Firstly, disassemble your meat grinder. Separate the meat tray, feed tube, blade, and any other parts that come into contact with the meat.
This will help you clean each part more efficiently and eliminate any trapped residue.
Step 2: Soak the Parts
Next, soak the metal parts in a solution of warm, soapy water for around 30 minutes.
You can use a mild dish detergent or a teaspoon of baking soda to help break down the grease and food particles. Be sure to avoid soaking any electric parts to prevent damage.
Step 3: Scrub and Clean
While the parts are soaking, use a soft brush or sponge to scrub off any remaining residue gently.
Clean all crevices and corners thoroughly, then rinse each part with warm water afterward.
Step 4: Sanitize with Vinegar
For enhanced sanitation, consider using a solution of white vinegar to help break down tough residues and neutralize unpleasant odors.
Soak the parts for an additional 15 minutes, then rinse them with water.
Step 5: Dry and Reassemble
Finally, dry all the components with a clean towel or let them air-dry on a rack. Ensure no moisture remains before reassembling your meat grinder to prevent rust or mold.
Wrapping Up: Avoiding Future Dishwasher Damage
In the future, always remember to follow the manufacturer's guidelines on cleaning and maintaining your grinder.
You should only handwash the aluminum parts using warm water and mild dish soap after each use.
Proper care will extend the life of your meat grinder and ensure it stays in good working condition.