Cleaning a Stand Mixer
Stand mixers are indispensable kitchen electrics that get a lot of use in our homes if we happen to be avid bakers. Although they are pricey investments, you'll quickly come to realize their true worth once you start using one on a regular basis. A stand mixer helps us mix, knead, grind, whip and combine just about any ingredient with ease. I would be lost without my mixers, because I use them weekly to mix so much. Regardless of the brand or capacity of one's particular mixer, it's a good idea to keep these machines clean and gleaming in our kitchens.
Keeping and maintaining a stand mixer in prime condition is very simple. A mixer is made to provide us with decades of use in our kitchens, yet if one wants to keep them looking as good as the day they were purchased, it's essential that we keep a few things in mind. In my very own kitchen I make it a habit to wipe down and clean my mixers as soon as I'm done with the day's baking. It's almost impossible to keep an ingredient or two from splashing or flying out of the mixing bowl and having it all over the machine, so cleaning it when I'm done makes sense. I use a lightly dampened, fluffy kitchen towel to do most of the work and a small paper towel (or a piece of one) to do one particular task. Keep in mind that all of this should be done after you've unplugged the machine. Using a very gentle spray cleaner can help with any sticky and unsightly mess.
Here is a KitchenAid duo flanking a Cuisinart food processor on one of my Metro shelves in the kitchen. Everything is clean and ready to go should I need them.
I always begin from top to bottom whenever I clean my mixer. With the machine unplugged, take a cloth that's lightly dampened (not sopping wet) and begin wiping down the head of the mixer. Get all the way around it on both sides and remove any flour or other food particles.
Carefully wipe around the speed control knob and make sure that you do not get any water into the opening. Remember to wipe the labeled metal strip too. This one has smears of flour & butter if you look closely. If using a spray cleaner, spray the towel and wipe down the mixer. Don't spray the mixer itself.
You will find ventilation ports behind the motor. Wipe those down and always keep them free of dust.
Don't forget the handle. 6qt. or larger models have plastic knobs attached to the ends, so keep these clean as well.
If you've used the attachment gear shaft at the top, wipe the inside well with a paper towel and reattach the branded cover when you're done.
With the same cloth, wipe down the cord and keep it free of grease. Don't wet the plug.
The KitchenAid mixers are labeled well with cautionary reminders. The gear attachment area is probably the one that gets the dirtiest. The metal band which connects the gear gets wiped & cleaned first. This one, again, has flour on it and bits of butter mixed with sugar.
If you look at it from below to above, you can see flour and even some splashed vanilla extract. Wipe it clean. Newer models have a smooth rotating disk in this area with no gaps in between, which makes wiping them down a lot easier. However, if your model is a bit older like mine, don't forget to get into that gap between the shaft and metal band.
The gear shaft itself almost always gets a bit of residue from the motor. I use a paper towel or part of one to wipe this area down, because it does permanently stain cotton towels. The metal clip which winds around the shaft and holds the attachment down needs to be cleaned well. Stubborn flour can get caught in there. A small brush can be used to remove any flour from this area.
Raise the arms of the mixer (unless you have a tilt-head model) and wipe them down, both in front & back. If any flour has crept down the spine of the mixer, wipe that off.
Mixer bowls are dishwasher-safe since they are constructed from stainless steel. I like running them through the dishwasher because it removes all traces of butter & grease, which may otherwise hinder whipping egg whites in the future. However, I do on occasion hand wash them if I don't have room in the dishwasher, using very hot, soapy water.
The types of attachments that come with mixers vary, but most will resemble these. There is a whisk attachment, a flat beater and a dough hook. Some people put these in the dishwasher, but I never do. I always hand wash and dry them with a clean kitchen towel.
This new style of flat beater (sold separately) with wiper blades attached to the ends is quite helpful and makes scraping down the bowl of the mixer as you're mixing, virtually unnecessary. It's a nice extra attachment to have and I do run it through the dishwasher since it's plastic.
Gleaming & spotless, the KitchenAid stand mixer is now ready to be either left on the counter or get placed on my Metro shelf.
If you're in the market for a stand mixer sometime soon, the capacity, attachments & wattage, along with the brand, should be completely your choice. I've used KitchenAid stand mixers for years now and I couldn't be happier with them. Other brands of reliable and powerful mixers include, Viking, Breville, Cuisinart & Hamilton Beach. Check the instructions manual that comes with your mixer to see if the attachments are dishwasher safe. If it does not tell you or if you happen to acquire a used mixer (this can prove to be a real money saver!), wash the attachments by hand. You'll come to understand that it's so much nicer to approach a clean stand mixer the next time you find yourself reaching for one. Make it a routine in your home to keep these beautiful machines clean, because they are going to provide you with years of great baking.