Simple tips to care for food processors and mixers

July 27, 2015

If you want to get the most out of your food processor or mixer, it's vital you maintain the appliance, keep it clean, and use it correctly. Here are some simple tips to keep your appliance running with optimal performance.

Simple tips to care for food processors and mixers

How to clean and maintain a food processor

Food processors have removable blades that slice, shred and mix foods. There are two kinds of processors: belt-driven and direct-driven.

In a direct-driven food processor, the mixing bowl sits on top of the gear assembly; the spindle is connected directly to the motor.

In a belt-driven model, the bowl sits to one side of the motor and a rubber belt connects the drive shaft to the blade shaft, spinning the blades.

Because the blades are extremely sharp and can cause injury, all food processors have a safety switch that won't allow the motor to operate unless the cover is securely in place. If the unit doesn't run, first check that the bowl cover is locked in place.

Cleaning a food processor

  • To run smoothly, food processors must be cleaned after each use.
  • Always unplug the unit for cleaning.
  • Wipe all the parts, especially the spindle and blades. Caked food in the shaft of the blade or on the spindle can cause the blades to shimmy, damaging them or the gear assembly.
  • If the blades vibrate and don't cut properly, shut off the machine immediately and unplug it.
  • Remove any food caught under the blades, inside the blade shaft or on the spindle.
  • Use a nylon scrub pad to scrub off hardened debris.

Repairing a food processor

  • On some models, the spindle or drive shaft is part of the gear assembly and can't be replaced separately.
  • On other models, the spindle is secured by a locknut or special washer and can be replaced.
  • On some other models, the spindle is covered with a plastic sheath. If you have one of these models and the sheath has become cracked, you can replace it.
  • To remove the sheath, gently pry it and the attached spring-washer up with a screwdriver.Clean the spindle underneath with a nylon scouring pad. Then install the new sheath.

How to clean and maintain a mixer

Food mixers, both stand and portable, are basically a motor in a metal or plastic casing. The motor runs a set of gears that turn two shafts. Beaters snap into the shafts and rotate when the mixer is turned on. Most models have variable speeds for different functions. Portable mixers have enough power to whip cream, beat eggs and mix simple batters. Stand mixers provide more torque for things like kneading heavy dough or mashing potatoes.

Mixer care

  • Forcing a mixer to work too heavy a load can cause overheating. If a mixer sounds strained, the beaters slow down or the housing becomes warm, stop and remove some of what you are mixing and try the process again.
  • Beater sockets can become clogged with hardened food, causing the beaters to grind together or shimmy. With the mixer unplugged, clean out the sockets with a toothpick.
  • Never bang the beaters against a hard surface to clean them. If they're bent out of shape, they may grind together and strip the mixer's gears.
  • To care for beaters, wipe off food with a rubber spatula and wash them in warm, soapy water.
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