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September 28, 2022 4 min read


Being a great chef requires not only creating delicious dishes but also taking good care of your kitchen tools. Since you frequently use metal cookware and knives, you probably already know how to take care of them.

But what about less common kitchen tools like a pestle and mortar? Have you mastered the proper cleaning techniques? If not, this article will teach you how to clean a mortar and pestle.


Know the Type of Material You’re Dealing With

 A group of 3 Pestle and Mortars in white, grey and darker grey

Credit: Epicurious


These days, mortar and pestles can be made from a variety of materials, including wood, bamboo, glass, ceramics, and stones like marble, volcanic rock, and granite. The procedures for cleaning each material are different yet similar. In this article, we will discuss how to clean each material.


How To Clean Volcanic Rock Mortar and Pestles (Molcajetes)

 A dark grey pestle and mortar with guacamole inside

Credit: Envato Elements/ joshua_resnick


The Molcajete is a concave-shaped, volcanic stone-carved mortar that resembles a bowl with three legs and is used to ground ingredients for salsas and guacamole. Since volcanic rock is porous, the most crucial thing to remember when cleaning a volcanic rock molcajete is to avoid using soap and to give it plenty of time to dry thoroughly before storing it.

To clean stone mortar and pestles made of volcanic rock, follow the steps below:


Rise With Warm Water:  Thoroughly rinse your mortar and pestle with warm water after each usage. Repeat several times.


Avoid Using Soap:  When cleaning Molcajetes, never use soap. The flavor and odor of the soap will get trapped in the tiny crevices of the porous surface of the volcanic rock.


Use a Kitchen Brush:  When cleaning your molcajete, all you need is a sturdy kitchen brush. Purchase a brush specifically for your molcajete and do not use it for other cleaning duties.


Allow To Air Dry:  Before storing your volcanic rock mortar and pestle, make sure it is completely dry to avoid mold from growing in the crevices.


Mortar and pestle constructed of granite are less porous than those made of volcanic rock. You can use the same procedures to clean a granite mortar and pestle as described above, but instead of the no-soap rule, you can use small amounts of unscented soap.


How To Clean Ceramic, Metal, and Glass Mortar and Pestles

 A stainless steel pestle and mortar with some mint inside

Credit: Envato Elements/ Merinka


Since ceramic, metal, and glass mortar and pestles are not porous, you can follow a regular dishwashing routine. If you plan to follow a handwashing routine, follow the steps below:


Rinse With Warm Water.  Run hot water over both instruments. You can remove large food particles with your hand.


Use a Clean Scrub Brush.  Use a clean, unused scrub brush and unscented soap. Scrub the inside of your mortar and pestle to remove smaller food particles that have accumulated inside. Scrub the area until there is no trace of food.


Repeat Rinsing.  Give your mortar and pestle another rinse under warm, running water after removing the food residue. Ensure that you clean it thoroughly to remove all of the debris and soap residues and then place it on a drying rack to air dry.


How To Clean Bamboo and Wooden Mortar and Pestles

 A burnt wooden chopping board with a pestle and mortar

Credit: Envato Elements/ Nikolaydonetsk


Wood is a very fragile material, thus caring for wooden mortar and pestles involves more intricate measures. To avoid damaging your priceless kitchen tools, you must follow the steps below:


Use a Dry Paper Towel.  In contrast to the two methods mentioned above, running wood under soapy water is not advised. You will need to manually wipe away any debris with a dry paper towel.


Use a Wet Cloth.  Use a clean cloth and dip it in warm water and carefully wipe away any remaining food residue. Avoid using too much water because doing so can make the wood moldy.


Allow It To Air Dry.  Once all the debris has been taken out, place your mortar and pestle aside to air dry.


Put Mineral Oil On.  Take a clean paper towel or cloth and dip it in a small quantity of food-grade mineral oil. Use a different cloth to remove any extra oil. If you're out of mineral oil, another quick fix is natural oils like olive oil.

Although you can theoretically use any food-grade oil, you should bear the following in mind: Since not all oils are flavorless, pick one that you wouldn't want to blend with your next grind.


How Do You Deal With a Mortar and Pestle That Has a Foul Smell?

 A black pestle and mortar with some uncooked rice inside

Credit: The Spruce Eats 


Take two scoops of uncooked white rice and place them in the mortar and pestle. Gently pound the rice until the color changes from white to brown. Until the rice stays white, carry out this procedure repeatedly, taking the colored rice out each time.




If you know how to clean a mortar and pestle, you can use it for longer. Now that you are familiar with the cleaning process, owning one isn't as frightening.

Pepe Nero welcomes you to purchase your favorite mortar and pestle. Our granite mortar and pestle comes with a fantastic garlic peeler, a super-handy avocado slicer, and a flexible silicone spatula. Shopwith us today.


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