How To Clean a Flour Sifter? | Quick and Easy Ways With Things You Already Have At Home

Using a flour sifter can change your cooking and baking for the better. Many women find that their baking is lighter and has fewer lumps after sifting the flour. It also helps to have one on hand for recipes that call for sifting specifically. But how do you clean your flour sifter – and do you even need to? 

The most effective way to clean your flour sifter is with soap and water. Make sure that all the dry flour is removed, then scrub with a sponge and soapy water. Dry it thoroughly before using it again. There are some other quick and easy methods and considerations when cleaning your flour sifter, including using a vacuum or a toothpick to get stuck on flour out of the mesh.

Below, we’ll include detailed instructions on how to clean your flour sifter, why you should, and more.

Cleaning Your Flour Sifter

How you clean your flour sifter will depend on whether there is flour stuck in the sifter or not. Getting flour wet will make it stick to the mesh, making it more difficult to clean in the long run. For this reason, you should make sure to remove all flour before cleaning your flour sifter. It’s incredibly easy to clean a flour sifter, especially if you wash it right after using it. The first 

Remove Flour Lumps and Debris

Flour stuck in the sifter mesh is one of the easiest ways to make a mess of your flour sifter. To remove it, shake the sifter out over a trash can. If your sifter is sturdy, you can bang it against the sides of the trash can to dislodge any flour. Banging it against your hand is also an effective method.

If that doesn’t work, you can try a variety of other methods.

Method 1: Vacuum Cleaner

A vacuum cleaner will easily remove stuck flour. Use a clean, soft-bristled attachment and run it lightly over the sifter mesh. The loose flour should be sucked up into the vacuum, allowing you to clean the sifter. 

Method 2: Toothpick

You can try to dislodge flour clumps using a toothpick, especially if the mesh is particularly small. Poke out any clogged sections. You can do this over a trash can or over a towel to keep the mess down. 

Method 3: Toothbrush

Toothbrushes are great at getting into those small spaces you can’t usually reach. Scrubbing at the mesh gently with a toothbrush dislodges most flour lumps that are stuck on after sifting.

Method 4: Compressed Air

The same compressed air you use to clean your electronics can help get the flour out of your sifter. Make sure that you spray it out over your sink or trash can so the flour doesn’t fly everywhere. 

Clean with Soapy Water

Once you have cleaned the excess flour off of your flour sifter, it’s time to clean it. You can soak the sifter for an hour in a solution of water and soap. However, metal sifters should see as little water as possible to prevent rust. 

The soaking process allows all remaining flour to dissolve, leaving only soap behind. This only works on very small amounts of flour. That’s why you need to remove the excess before introducing it to water. 

Otherwise, simply run a sponge or cloth over the mesh. Use a small amount of mild dish soap and rinse immediately afterward. 

Dry Thoroughly

Whether you’ll be using the sifter again immediately or not, drying is important. You want to make sure that every part of the sifter is completely dry. This is especially true of metal sifters, as they can easily rust. 

You don’t want to deal with removing rust from your sifter. For that reason, make sure to dry it thoroughly. Don’t just leave it on your dish drying mat and hope for the best. 

The best way to dry your sifter is to remove all water with a towel. Do the best you can here. It is important that you remove most moisture with the towel. 

Afterward, you can place it in your oven. Put it on low heat, and allow it to dry up any of the remaining water. Alternatively, you can use a hairdryer on your newly cleaned sifter.

Can You Put a Flour Sifter In The Dishwasher? 

Say you don’t want to go through the steps listed above. Can you just throw your flour sifter into the dishwasher? Putting your flour sifter in the dishwasher is the easiest way to clean it. However, you have to make sure that you have removed all of the flour residues beforehand. 

Most flour sifters will be fine on the top rack of the dishwasher. Make sure that you read instructions for your specific model, particularly if you have a more expensive or mechanical sifter. 

Hand sifters are fine on the top shelf as long as your dishwasher performs well. If your dishwasher won’t dry your dishes correctly, make sure to remove the sifter and dry it yourself. 

Cleaning Rust Off of a Flour Sifter

If you fail to dry your flour sifter correctly, it may rust. You absolutely should not use your flour sifter if it is rusty. Instead, take some time to clean the rust off of the sifter first. 

It’s important that you use natural, food-safe ingredients to remove the rust. Some chemicals may end up in your food if you use them to clean the sifter. 

For metal or aluminum sifters, choose an ammonia-based cleaner. Soak the sifter in the cleaner. Leave it for about an hour, then come back and check on it.

You may need to soak your sifter for longer depending on the severity of the rust. After soaking, rinse and re-wash your flour sifter. 

Note that a sifter that continually rusts will need to be replaced. If you use your sifter often, invest in a higher-quality tool. 

Do I Need to Clean My Flour Sifter? 

You may be asking yourself if it’s worth it to clean your flour sifter. After all, it only deals with flour. It can’t be that dirty if it’s only sifting one thing, right? 

But the truth is far more complex. Of course, you should still wash your sifter regularly, if not after every use. This is especially true if you use your sifter for powdered sugar as well as flour. 

In the interest of food safety and reducing bacteria, cleaning your flour sifter regularly is the best practice. Just make sure to clean and dry it thoroughly enough that it won’t’ rust.

What is a Flour Sifter? 

A flour sifter is a kitchen utensil that helps break up lumps in flour to help with cooking and baking. While these devices aren’t necessary, they can help elevate your dishes to the next level. 

A hand sifter consists of a small basket with a handle. The flour goes in the basket, and you gently move the sifter back and forth to distribute the flour. 

There are also more advanced sifters. These use two different layers of mesh and a turning mechanism. No matter what type of sifter you use, the cleaning process is more or less the same. 

Benefits of Flour Sifting

But why should you sift your flour, to begin with? Isn’t mixing it with other dry ingredients enough?

While you can certainly pour flour and mix it to break up lumps, sifting your flour is best. This can help you maintain an even texture. It also helps mix ingredients evenly. Plus, some recipes absolutely require sifting. Lightweight cakes such as angel food cake can be completely ruined by lumps.

Sifting your flour also makes it lighter. It separates the flour out so it’s more even and easy to mix with other dry ingredients.

Does Sifting Flour Make a Difference?

Sifting flour can make all the difference in your finished product. As I previously mentioned, my cooking and baking were denser before I started sifting flour. My lightweight cakes didn’t turn out right, and any dough I made fell flat (sometimes literally).

Sifting flour does matter, and you should heed the recipes that call for it. Lumps can absolutely destroy some recipes. While you can certainly bake and cook without it, a flour sifter can be an essential part of your kitchen.

Does Sifting Flour Increase Volume? 

Many people wonder if sifting flour changes the flour at all. Why does there seem to be more of it after sifting? 

Sifting your flour actually increases its volume. The sifting process adds air, breaks up lumps, and makes it go further.

Some recipes require you to measure your flour before sifting it. Some prefer that you sift before measuring. There is always a reason for these specifications, so follow them closely to achieve the desired result.

Can I Sift Flour Without a Sifter?

Using a flour sifter is best, but in a pinch, you can use a whisk. Make sure to aerate the flour as much as possible, whisking it vigorously to remove any clumps.

It won’t be the same as using a flour sifter, but it can get your flour closer to the intended texture.

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Final Words

Cleaning your flour sifter can be a pain, but it’s ultimately worth it. Make sure to remove all leftover flour, then use soapy water to soak and clean your sifter. Drying the sifter thoroughly is essential to avoid rust. Cleaning rust off of your flour sifter isn’t difficult, but it can be tedious. 

If you want to know more about different substitutes of spelt flour, including gluten-free options, check out our recently published article.

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