Concrete records of pasta in Italy date back to the 13th century, and fresh noodles have been a staple in homes for centuries. The rise of ready-made noodles sidelined the tradition of handmade noodles, but foodies and chefs have made fresh pasta popular again.
A pasta machine is a small investment towards delicious homemade pasta every day. But like all kitchen appliances, you need to clean it!
How to clean a pasta maker? It depends on whether yours is manual or electric. But remember that you cannot wash either type in the sink or the dishwasher.
Instead, you’ll have to disassemble your machine and wipe it with a damp cloth. You can remove dried dough with a cleaning brush or scrap dough/clay.
Make cleaning your pasta machine a part of your daily rotini. It’s time to spaghet down and dirty!
Types of Pasta Machines
There are two types of pasta machine: manual and electric.
A manual pasta maker is mainly for rolling out dough in simple sheets, although you can add some attachments. To use one, you manually feed dough through the rollers, then push the pasta out with the hand crank.
Electric pasta makers are self-powered and can produce pasta more quickly. Most pasta machines will have add-ons and attachments available for producing a wide variety of pasta types beyond flat noodles.
Some examples of attachments and accessories that come with a pasta machine are rollers, cutters, and extruders.
A roller rolls the dough to an even thickness, while a cutter cuts to specific widths or shapes. Some examples are a ravioli stamp or a bike cutter. There are even cutting rollers that do both at once.
Meanwhile, extruders are for creating non-flat shapes like penne or rigatoni.
Can You Wash a Pasta Maker?
Just so you gnocchi, you cannot wash either kind of pasta maker.
These machines are not designed for being submerged in water. Some electric machines have detachable parts that are dishwasher safe, but generally, it’s not recommended.
Pasta makers are made of metal with small moving parts.
This means it’s difficult to wipe or dry off any water used, which will lead to rust and corrosion. The less moisture involved, the better.
How Often to Clean Pasta Machines
Do a quick clean or wipe every after use. This prevents tiny bits of dough from drying on the rollers and wipes off any flour on the surfaces.
For the deep cleaning process, it’ll depend on how often you use your machine.
If you only make fresh pasta once in a while, you can get away with cleaning every 3 months. But if you use it frequently, clean it once a week.
How to Clean a Pasta Maker
How you keep your machine clean will depend on what type it is or what part you’re working with.
You can check the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning, but there is also a general process you can follow.
Cleaning a manual pasta machine
Manual pasta makers are considered “easier” to clean. They’re typically made from stainless steel parts for sturdiness.
To clean a manual pasta machine, you’ll need:
- Scrap dough or polymer clay
- Short-bristled brush or compressed air
- Soft cloth
- Wet wipe (optional)
Start by removing all detachable parts, such as the C-clamp. If these parts are washable, you can run them through the dishwasher or hand wash them in the sink.
Take your scrap dough or polymer clay and run it through the roller. Do this several times so the dough picks up any dried pasta bits.
Use the widest setting, then work your way through each thickness setting until you reach the thinnest option.
For the crevices and connections, use a brush with short bristles or a can of compressed air. Be gentle and thorough to remove any dry dough or leftover flour.
If there’s stubborn debris, use a wooden skewer to pry it out.
Move onto the rollers. For these, you can use a barely-damp cloth or baby wipe – so long as you’re not introducing much moisture. You do not need to use dish soap or water (and in fact, we recommend you avoid them!).
You can also use a baby wipe or moist cloth to wipe the exterior of the machine.
Let the entire machine dry before using it again. You can use a dry cloth to wipe it down and help the process.
Cleaning an electric pasta machine
Before cleaning your electric pasta machine, make sure you shut it off and unplug it. Do not work near the sink or any potential water source.
To clean an electric pasta maker, you’ll need:
- Soft cloth
- Short-bristled brush
- Wet wipe (optional)
Again, disassemble and remove all the pieces that are detachable. Set them aside for cleaning later.
Unlike a manual machine, it’s harder to run scrap dough or polymer clay through an electric machine’s rollers.
In this case, you can simply wipe the rollers with a damp cloth to clean any build-up of flour and dough. For stubborn debris, use a dry brush or wooden skewer.
Use a fresh cloth or baby wipe to wipe the machine body. Then let the machine completely dry.
Cleaning Pasta Machine Accessories
Many machines come with different accessories to help you cut pasta or form various shapes. You’ll also need to clean these alongside the main pasta maker.
Cleaning a pasta cutter
Leave the cutter to dry for about an hour, then use a cleaning brush to remove any debris. If the dough is stuck on, you can pry it off with wooden skewers.
Polish the cutter with a soft cloth and put it away into storage. Do not wash it.
Cleaning a pasta extruder
Some accessories are dishwasher safe, but the high temperatures could erode the finish on stainless steel.
You’re better off handwashing pasta extruders with some warm water with a few drops of dish soap. Just make sure to thoroughly dry each extruder so no moisture is left on the metal.
How to Clean Wood and Plastic Pasta Makers
For a wooden pasta maker, do not use moisture. The water could seep into the wood and cause mould and rot – two things you don’t want on something that makes food.
Instead, simply run the polymer clay through the rollers, then use a dry cloth to wipe the rest of the appliance.
Food-grade plastic machines can stand moisture, so you can use a wet cloth to wipe the rollers and other parts.
Avoid using all-purpose cleaners or any other chemical products since they could leave residue that will get into your pasta.
Can You Wash a Pasta Machine in a Dishwasher?
Never put the main body of a pasta machine into a dishwasher.
You can run parts of the pasta machine through the dishwasher, so long as the manufacturer’s manual says it’s safe.
However, you’d be better off wiping these parts with a damp towel since a dishwasher could erode the finish of the machine parts.
Cleaning Rust from a Pasta Maker
Sometimes the surfaces of a pasta machine develop rust. You can usually prevent this by making sure the machine is fully dry after cleaning, and lubricating it regularly.
If there is some rust on your pasta maker, try using some dough scraps to rub off the rust. If that doesn’t work, you can scrub using gentle steel wool – but be careful you don’t damage the surface!
Lastly, you can use some white vinegar to wipe at the rust to see if it comes off.
Removing Stuck Pasta Dough
If dough has dried on your pasta machine, it’s best to remove it ASAP.
Leaving food stuck on the surface invites mould, while any dough that gets into the crevices could prevent your machine from functioning.
For debris that isn’t too dry, just roll some scrap dough over the bits to pick them up. Otherwise, use a wooden skewer or toothpick to pry off the dry dough. Do not moisten the debris – that’ll make more of a mess.
Lubricating Your Pasta Maker
If your pasta maker is creaking when it runs, or if your pasta is slightly discoloured, you may need to lubricate things!
Even if things are running smoothly, though, it’s good to lubricate your machine once or twice a year.
Take some food-grade mineral oil and add a few drops to the end of the rollers. You can use a brush to spread the oil evenly.
Pasta La Vista, Baby!
For some tips on maintaining your pasta maker:
- Store your pasta maker somewhere cool and dry – metal and humidity don’t mix well.
- Do not clean using all-purpose cleaner or other chemical products such as rubbing alcohol. These could leave a residue on the surface of your machine that will transfer to your pasta.
- Avoid using metallic objects to clean the pasta machine. Unlike wooden implements, metal will scratch the surface.
- Wipe your pasta maker before using it to remove any dust that could get into your pasta.
- Keep the rest of your kitchen clean, too, like the counters and the pantry. If you need help, call in the professional home cleaners.
Knowing how to clean a pasta maker can help your machine last a long time – which means more delicious noodles to eat. With a good machine, the pastabilities are endless!