How to Clean a Bamboo Steamer

By A.J. Andrews

Hearty and filling, the steamed dumplings served at dim sum really stick to your ribs -- and your bamboo steamer, if you don't line it with parchment paper, Napa cabbage or leaf lettuce. But dumpling dilemmas needn't end in disaster, as a little detailed detachment -- and acidic adjustment, for the main stains -- gets your bamboo back to its bare-bones beauty.

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Sticky Bits

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Step 1

Scrape off chunky, sticky bits of food from the steamer using a wooden chopstick or wooden scraper. Avoid using metal or hard plastic and you won't damage the bamboo.

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Step 2

Scrub the gummy residue from the bamboo using a soft nylon brush and run hot water over it. Don't press too hard with the brush; let the gentle friction do the work for you.

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Step 3

Rinse the steamer under hot running water and let it air dry before stacking it. Line the inside of the basket with a round of perforated parchment paper before storing it so it will be ready to go for the next use.

Stains and Smells

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Step 4

Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a wok or pan. Place the basket of the steamer upside-down in the wok or pan.

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Step 5

Set the steamer lid on top of the inverted basket. Steam the basket for 5 minutes then remove it.

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Step 6

Scrub the discolored portions of the basket with a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and water using a nylon scouring pad. Scrub firmly but not hard enough to damage the bamboo.

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Step 7

Steam the basket a second time for 5 minutes to remove the vinegar smell. Rinse the basket in hot water and let it air dry. Steam and scrub the basket lid using the same technique if needed.