The electric mixer was among the first small appliances that made what was once referred to as “women’s work” a lot easier. Whether in stand mixer or hand mixer form, they took the drudgery out of mixing cakes, cookies, brownies, sauces, and soufflés by hand. Not particularly expensive when first hitting the retail market—at least not the hand versions anyway—they graced the kitchens of women all over the country in the early 1950s.
Herbert Johnson, an engineer for the Hobart Manufacturing Company, invented the first electric mixer back in 1908. By 1915 his 80-quart electric mixer was found in most commercial bakeries around the U.S. His first retail stand mixer was sold in 1919 under the name KitchenAid Food Preparer. It cost just under $190 at that time.
With the deluge of electric mixers on the market also came a new home cleaning chore–the need for properly cleaning these new electric mixers. These days, mixers boast more attachments than vacuum cleaners, and each must be cleaned following every use.
Items Needed for Cleaning an Electric Mixer
The items needed for cleaning an electric mixer are the same whether you are cleaning a stand mixer or a hand mixer. They are as follows:
- Cleaning cloth or clean rags
- Liquid dish soap
- Old toothbrush or small scrub brush
- Paper towels
Steps for Cleaning Your Electric Mixer
Regardless of the type of mixer you’re cleaning, don’t take any steps in this home cleaning chore it until it is unplugged. Once it is unplugged, remove beaters and any additional attachments. Remove the bowl if you are cleaning a stand mixer.
Draw a sink full of hot, soapy water made with liquid dish soap. Submerge all attachments in the sink and allow them to soak for a few minutes. Wash them with a sponge or cleaning cloth and set them into a drying rack or on a clean dish towel to drip dry while you go on to the next step. Don’t drain your sink just yet, however. Rinse out the mixing bowl or simply place it inside your dishwasher All stand mixing bowls are dishwasher safe.
Next up is cleaning the underside of the mixer. Soak a cleaning cloth or clean rag in the soapy dish water and wring it out. Wipe down the underside of your mixer, where the attachments are inserted. Rinse the rag or cloth in clean water and wipe away all traces of soap. Be careful to wring out the cloth carefully, so as not to get any water inside the mixer’s motor.
Use a toothpick to loosen any dirt that may be stuck inside attachment ports and buttons. Dip a toothbrush or small scrub brush in the soapy water and tap it on a dry cleaning cloth. Scrub these areas to remove debris you may not be able to see. Dry these areas extra carefully by placing a piece of paper towel over a clean toothpick and inserting it into the areas you just cleaned with the toothbrush or scrub brush.
Reassemble and Store Your Electric Mixer
Now that all the pieces of your mixer are clean, it’s time to reassemble and store your mixer. Begin by attaching the beaters you use most often. There’s no better place to store them than directly on the machine with which you’ll use them to creative something delicious. Reattach the bowl to your stand mixer.
Some people like to use a fabric or vinyl cover for their stand mixer as it prevents dust and dirt from lodging there when it isn’t in use. Others prefer it to be on display. Store the attachments in a drawer or kitchen cabinet as close to the area where you use the mixer as possible.
It’s easiest to store the pieces to an electric hand mixer in a sealed bag or box. This ensures you won’t waste time hunting for specific pieces in a kitchen cabinet or drawer the next time you need to use your electric mixer. A shoe box size plastic box with sealing lid costs very few dollars and makes an excellent storage container. Large zippered plastic bags work well, too, but will require replacing more often. Store the box or bag housing your hand mixer nearest to the outlet where you tend to plug it in for maximum effectiveness.
Now that your electric mixer—whether stand or hand—is clean and dry, and stored in its proper place, you can peruse new recipes with ease. It likely won’t be long before you take your electric mixer back out of storage and embark on a wonderful new concoction your family and friends are sure to enjoy. And then you’ll perform this rather tedious—but oh, so necessary—home cleaning chore all over again.