How to Properly Clean Your Sous Vide Equipment

How to Properly Clean Your Sous Vide Equipment

If you own any type of a Sous Vide machine, then you probably know that they are pretty easy to maintain. The food inside is cooked securely in vacuum-sealed bags, so contamination can rarely become an issue. However, to preserve the machine in the best possible working condition, you should clean it after each use.

Cleaning Process

It doesn’t matter if you are using an immersion circulator or an all-in-one unit – cleaning it is quite easy. Always remember to unplug your equipment first, and wipe it with a clean, damp and absorbent cloth.

Gently wipe the interior, as well as the exterior, and let it dry. That way, you will ensure the longevity of your equipment.

If you are using the immersion circulator, such as the Anova or Joule, or any other common ones, do not attempt to rinse the electronic head of the machine, or submerge it under water. That could severely damage the device.

If, by any chance, a food particle finds its way into the machine, follow the instructions on the manufacturer’s website and disassemble the machine’s head. Afterward, slowly wipe the sensitive components with a damp cloth or a toothbrush, and then reassemble it.

Removing scale buildup

Many households have hard water which contains high levels of mineral content. The mineral build-up can lead to scale development which can cause damage to plumbing and water heaters.

To get rid of the scale buildup, you can clean your machine by using a vinegar and water solution. You can use this vinegar bath to clean any form of sous vide equipment.

All you have to do is put equal parts of white vinegar and water in a pot. Then put the circulator in the pot, turn it on, and set the temperature to 140°F. When the machine reaches this temperature, the cleaning is complete.

As an alternative, you can use a 10% solution of CLR (Calcium Lime Rust Remover) and water. After running the circulator with this solution, rinse the water and let it dry completely.

Vacuum Sealers

When it comes to storing food, vacuum-sealed bags might be the best possible choice, and they surely make Sous Vide cooking so much easier. One of the most important things you must remember when using the vacuum sealer is to keep it clean.

Any impurity in the vacuum sealer’s tray can lead to spoiled food and bacteria growth. You should clean your vacuum sealer after each use. Luckily, with modern models, it is an incredibly easy task to do.

If you are using a Sous Vide type of a vacuum sealer, start by turning off the appliance and unplugging it. You can wipe the front panel, the buttons and the vacuum channel with a damp cloth.

The most important part is to clean the drip tray. Fortunately, nowadays most drip trays can be cleaned in the dishwasher, but you can also do it manually.

Remove the drip tray from the appliance and empty any excess liquid. Wash it in warm water using a mild antibacterial detergent. Allow it to dry and put it back into the vacuum sealer. Before plugging it in, let the vacuum sealer dry completely. Otherwise, it can result in an electrical shock.

If you are using a chamber type of a vacuum sealer, you can wipe its external surfaces by using a damp, clean cloth and a mild soap. You can clean the vacuum chamber using a clean cloth and a food-safe sanitizer. Lastly, to clean the external vacuum hose, immerse it in soapy, hot water. Rinse it and then let it dry completely before using it again.

How Often Should I Clean my Sous Vide Machine?

I would recommend giving it a quick wipe down with some damp paper towels after every use. Just make sure it is dry before storing it away.

In terms of a deeper clean, that can be done less frequently. You should periodically inspect the Sous Vide machine and observe how much mineral and calcium build up there might be on there.

Additionally, I would definitely recommend a more deeper clean if there was a puncture in one of the food bags, or if somehow the water bath got contaminated.

Final Thoughts

Both Sous Vide machines and vacuum sealers are game-changers when it comes to upgrading the culinary experience in your own home. Nevertheless, you should pay attention and make sure that they are clean after each use.

Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Secure the sharp-edged food using paper towels before packaging it and do not overfill the bags in any way. In addition, always use mild antibacterial cleaning agents and try to avoid harsh and toxic chemicals.

You could also use vinegar baths to clean the equipment. By doing so, not only will you ensure the longevity of your device, but you will also improve your own health.

Be sure to also check out our sous vide machine buying guide.

Finally, for tips on cleaning your cast iron pan, check out our article here!

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