After purchasing and starting to use an appliance, all your focus should be on maintaining it so the appliance remains in optimum condition. As for a rice cooker, it’s easy to use but that doesn’t mean you can toss it away after your rice is done cooking. It’s used to make your food so you need to wash and clean it thoroughly each time you use it. Since the rice cooker runs on electricity, you cannot put the whole thing into a dishwasher or submerge it into water. There is a very high chance of the electrical components being damaged if they come in contact with water.

However, that doesn’t mean you cannot use a dishwasher at all when it comes to cleaning a rice cooker. The pot inside the rice cooker can be taken out easily and you can submerge that into the water all you want. The pot is where the rice is cooked so it takes most of the hit and is probably the hardest to clean. But if you can use a dishwasher, the task becomes much easier. If you’re wondering, ‘Are rice cooker pots dishwasher safe?’, then read on.

Precautions

How you can approach washing your rice cooker pot depends on what model it is. Numerous brands and manufacturers are bringing out the latest rice cookers every year. Before you turn on the dishwasher, take out the user manual and see what it says about your rice cooker. A lot of rice cookers on the market nowadays have pots that are dishwasher safe. If your rice cooker is one of them, only then should you proceed with the task.

Otherwise, you might have to clean the rice cooker pot with your hands since it can be severely damaged if you use a dishwasher.

Pots That Should Avoid Dishwasher

A lot of the manufacturers use non-stick inner pots since they are easy to clean and the rice doesn’t get stuck inside. Rice cooker pots are often made from aluminum with a Teflon coating. This makes the pot non-stick as well as vulnerable. Dishwasher and non-stick pots don’t go well together since the process can peel away the coating over time.

The entire coating may not come off that easily but after each wash, you would notice how the coating comes off more and more. This makes the pot less efficient. You can get spray-on Teflon coating for the pot but that’s not the same as having the real Teflon protection from the manufacturer. The inner pots can be easily replaced as well but if you keep putting the pot in the dishwasher, you would have to buy inner pot replacements after every two weeks.

Pots Labeled Safe for Dishwasher

If you’re not a fan of aluminum inner pots, there are other materials you can find (stainless steel, ceramic, copper coating, etc.). Your rice cooker manual should mention whether your inner pot is safe to put inside the dishwasher or not. Checking your manual will help you answer the question ‘are rice cooker pots dishwasher safe?’. Even if it doesn’t, you still have this guide to answer all your questions.

Ceramic

Aluminum with Teflon is a very common sight in rice cooker inner pots compared to ceramic. But some manufacturers are straying from the traditional way and experimenting with new materials. Ceramic inner pots are less common than aluminum but they are much safer. These non-Teflon pots often have a ceramic lining inside to give a smooth non-stick effect.

A ceramic pot is less likely to be damaged by a dishwasher. The heat-resistant capability is pretty great and the ceramic coating looks classier than an aluminum one. If you haven’t tried a ceramic pot for your rice cooker yet, now might be the best time to give it a shot.

Stainless Steel

Another widely used material (in recent times) for rice cooker inner pots is stainless steel. If you want a rice cooker with a stainless steel pot, it might cost you some extra bucks but it is definitely worth it. Stainless steel pots are highly durable. They are scratch-resistant and leaching free. A stainless steel pot can be safely put into the dishwasher without putting anything at risk.

Stainless steel rice cooker pots are mostly uncoated. You might need oven mitts to handle them right after you’re done cooking. But it also makes them probably the safest option for a rice cooker inner pot. If your pot is made of stainless steel, you don’t have to worry and question ‘are rice cooker pots dishwasher safe?’. Since there is no coating at all, you won’t have to worry about anything being peeled off. So don’t hesitate to pay a little extra for a stainless steel inner pot as it would be a pretty good investment.

Alternative Cleaning Tips

If you already have a rice cooker with Teflon coated inner pot, keep it away from the dishwasher. Take the alternative approach of cleaning the pot by hand. The intensity of the cleaning process depends on your cooking skills. If you overcooked or burned your rice, they would get stuck inside the pot. The longer you wait to clean the pot, the harder it would be to get those stuck bits out. So try to clean the rice cooker pot as quickly as you can, preferably right after you’re done cooking.

If you see any food piece stuck inside, don’t use a metal scraper or spoon to pry the food off as it can damage the non-stick coating inside. Soak the pot into the hot soapy water and wait for at least 30 minutes. If the pot has burnt food pieces that are too stubborn to come off, you may have to keep it soaked overnight.

After it’s properly soaked, use a non-abrasive sponge with soap to scrub away the food pieces and wash the pot thoroughly. Rinse the pot with clean water and dry it off before putting back inside the rice cooker. A bonus tip- use some oil (vegetable oil) to brush the inside of the pot to keep its non-stick coating maintained.

This cleaning process may seem like a hassle compared to a dishwasher. But if you have a rice cooker pot with a non-stick coating, this is the most effective cleaning method that would ensure the pot remains fully intact.

Accidents Happen!

You may put your rice cooker pot in the dishwasher without going through a guide similar to this one. In that case, the state of the pot depends on the material. If the pot is a stainless steel one, then you should be fine. You can clean the pot with the help of a dishwasher all the time. Even a ceramic inner pot is safe for a dishwasher most of the time (considering the coating).

But if you unknowingly put an aluminum inner pot in the dishwasher, there is a high chance of it being severely damaged. The non-stick coating can barely survive the assault from a dishwasher. Take a paper towel and damp it with some water before wiping it on the inside of the pot. If the towel comes back clean, then the pot is still intact but if it contains any black substance, then there is a high chance that the non-stick coating is damaged. You can get a spray-on coating for the pot or replace it. Avoid putting it inside the dishwasher ever again. Make sure you are well aware of your rice cooker’s materials to determine are rice cooker pots dishwasher safe or not.

FAQs

Is it safe to use a rice cooker pot if it has scratches?

Stainless steel pots are scratch-resistant and ceramic pots don’t scratch easily. Even if the ceramic ones end up with some tiny scratches, it’s safe. But if your aluminum pot has scratches, then it may not be as safe as you would wish. The non-stick coating on the aluminum pot might scratch easily which can lead to dangerous chemical substances leaching into your food. Eating that food would be deadly for your health. So, if you have a scratched up aluminum pot, try to replace it as soon as possible.

Why is the inner pot of the rice cooker peeling off?

There can be more than one reason for the protective coating to start peeling off. Using sharp utensils or abrasive sponges can weaken the non-stick coating. Also, if you use the ‘warm’ function for a very long time (ex- 12 hours), the moisture from the rice can go through the non-stick coating and cause it to loosen.

Can I use the warm function overnight?

Technically speaking, you can but we wouldn’t recommend that. Using the ‘warm’ mode for so long can damage the inner pot. Try not to go over 6 hours.

Why do I have rice sticking on the inner pot?

You didn’t maintain the required water to ratio. Read the instructions and make sure you follow them exactly. Use the measuring cup provided with the rice cooker.

Final Thoughts

Any appliance can last beyond its lifespan with proper care and maintenance. Rice cooker is not one of the biggest investments among kitchen appliances but that doesn’t mean you have to be careless in handling it. The inner pot of the rice cooker is an integral part. Cleaning it is essential and to make your life easier it helps to know are rice cooker pots dishwasher safe or not. So try to put this guide to use and keep the pot fully intact for as long as possible.