How Do You Clean A Rusty Meat Grinder?

Meat grinders are a valuable piece of equipment in any home kitchen. Not just for the professional chefs in an industrial kitchen, these machines can be used to grind meat as well as make pasta, grind vegetables, and even help to make a fantastic cookie dough. If you have had your grinder for a while, and after grabbing it out of storage you’ve noticed some small specks of rust, or perhaps a larger patch has grown on some of the parts? Don’t worry, the rust should be easily enough removed. However large or small these rust spots may be, we will give you tips on how to clean a rusty meat grinder and more.

Importance of Cleaning

Cleaning up after preparing food, especially when using your grinder, isn’t always the most enjoyable part. Unless you’re a keen cleaner, who takes great joy from cleaning. Ensuring your meat grinder is thoroughly cleaned, and oiled, will help to extend its lifespan and avoid you having to clean rust off further down the line. Although small amounts of rust are not necessarily harmful to humans, you won’t want to leave the rust in your machine unnecessarily. Leaving the rust will leave it open to possibly spreading, and it is hardly appealing when you go to prepare food that will be eaten.

How to Clean Off Rust?

Regardless of how your machine has accumulated rust, it’s best to attempt to get it off before it spreads further. Depending on how much rush is on your grinder, follow the relevant steps below to get your meat grinder looking as good as the day you bought it:

Brush Method – Light rust

If the rust hasn’t gone too deep into the metal, you can use a wire brush to scrub the rust off. Leave the area dry, and with a bit of elbow grease, you will hopefully be able to remove all of the rust. Run some fatty red meat through the grinder, this will help to remove any remaining rust inside.

Steel wool – Light rust

Using steel wool an effective way of dealing with rust, especially if the rust is still relatively small and only a thin layer. Cleaning with steel wool will also require a bit of elbow grease to remove the rust. Once the rust has disappeared, give the affected parts a clean with fresh water and some soap before oiling.

Saltine Crackers – Light rust inside of the grinder

Also known as soda crackers, these handy little crackers are full of yeast, baking soda and white flour, which combined, are an ideal active ingredient combination which can help to rid rust from metal. Grinding these crackers through your machine will help to clear the rust in the grind area of your appliance.

Lemon and salt – Light rust

The acidity from the lemon juice will help to break down the rust, especially when mixed with salt. Mix the two to form an abrasive paste and apply to the affected areas. If the rust is a bit heavier, leave the paste on for longer to help work into the rust and break it down even more. Give the rust a good scrub, and then rinse off with some clean water. If rust remains, you can reapply some more paste and scrub again.

White vinegar – Heavier rust

  • If your grinder has more severe rusting, you will need to give it more of a deep clean. First, take apart your meat grinder and wash it thoroughly. Leaving the parts to soak in soapy water before cleaning may help to remove heavier soiling. 
  • Time to now soak it in some white wine vinegar. Don’t mix the vinegar with any water, as this will make it less effective. Leave the parts to soak for as long as you can before removing and giving the affected areas a brush. A stainless steel brush is a great choice here if the rust is particularly bad.
  • Once you have given the rust a good scrub, it should hopefully now have been removed completely. Now you will need to soak the parts one last time, but in a mixture of baking powder and hot water. With a ratio of 2:1 baking powder to hot water, soak for a couple of minutes or so. This mixture will help to remove any acidity from the vinegar soak. 
  • Give them all the parts you have soaked a good rinse with some clean water and leave to dry. Apply some food-grade mineral oil or white oil to the parts you have cleaned, which will help to prevent rust from returning in the future.

Removing heavier rust from blades/disc

  • As long as the disc is in good shape, you can remove the rust and continue to use it with your machine afterwards. 
  • Placing the disc in the middle of a towel is an excellent way of securing the disc without touching the blades. With a putty knife and scrapping away from you, try to scrap the worse of the rust off. 
  • With either some vegetable oil or mineral oil dropped onto the disc, using a stainless steel brush and, with a circular motion, scrub again at the rusted areas. 
  • Use a steel wool pad without any soap and still using a circular motion, rub at any rusted areas left to clear the flat of the disc. 
  • The next step is to clean the holes of the disc, where a narrow nail file will come in handy. Twisting a needle-like nail file will help to rid any holes of rust. 
  • Give the disc a final clean with some soapy water and leave to dry thoroughly.

With all of these rust clearing options, always ensure that you clean the parts thoroughly with clean soapy water once you have cleaned away the rust, before leaving them to air dry. Removing any excess moisture will help to avoid any rust, and as will applying white oil or some food-grade mineral oil afterwards. Store correctly in your fridge if you have space or in a dry cupboard until your next use. 

If after following all of these steps, the rust is still clinging onto your machine, it may be time to either buy new parts or a whole brand new machine.

It can be frustrating to discover rust on your meat grinder, but hopefully, with these steps, you’ll be able to get rid of any rust. Now your previously rusty meat grinder will be as good as new and ready to grind your chosen ingredients.

Kunal Sharma
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