An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure when it comes to bamboo steamers. Your best bet is to prevent your bamboo steamer from molding in the first place, and we have the steps below to do just that. But if your bamboo steamer has mold, we can help with that too.
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Bamboo Steamer Overview
A bamboo steamer helps you to prepare healthy and delicious meals.
To keep your bamboo steamer fresh and mold free, you must use it properly, wash it properly, and store it properly.
Preparing sticky foods, and exposure to moisture when not in use, are two main causes of odors and mold in bamboo steamers.
The good news is that it is relatively easy to prevent your bamboo steamer from molding, and, if caught early, to clean your steamer and rid it of mold.
How to Clean Bamboo Steamer
- Always clean your bamboo steamer outside or in your garage to prevent the mold from spreading to other surfaces in your home.
- Wash your steamer with soapy water. Do not submerge your steamer in water, just use soap and water as needed. Gently towel dry
- Apply an antifungal to the moldy areas. Vinegar (acetic acid) or lemon juice (citric acid and malic acid) work well, are inexpensive, usually on hand, and quite safe to use
- Bleach works as well but we don’t recommend it. It is not safe for contact with food, it is not safe for skin and eyes, and you need to be careful to never mix it with ammonia. Stick to lemon juice or vinegar
- If your stain is old or extensive, you can power up your vinegar by adding some baking soda, and you can increase the capability of your lemon juice by adding some salt.
- Gently scrub the affected area with a soft brush
- Rinse the bamboo steamer carefully and make sure the antifungal is rinsed off all the way and gently towel dry
- Ideally, continue to dry your bamboo steamer in the sun
- If drying in sunlight is not possible, use a hairdryer
- If the sun and the hairdryer are not available, be sure to allow it to dry in an open, cool, dry place
- Do not use until you can be certain that your bamboo steamer is 100% dry
- There are various bamboo oils and cleaners on the market intended for bamboo furniture. Never use any of these products on your bamboo steamer
Related: Bamboo Steamer Alternatives
How to Prevent Bamboo Steamer from Molding
To keep your bamboo steamer free of odors and mold, you need to use it properly, wash it properly, and store it properly.
Use your Bamboo Steamer Properly
Fungus thrives on carbohydrates, such as glucose, fructose, and sucrose.
Every time you use your bamboo steamer, some of these carbohydrates end up on your steamer and are typically washed off.
However, if the food you are cooking is sticky, carbohydrates that you can’t see will likely remain stuck to the inside of your steamer.
Your best bet is to not have these sticky foods make contact with your steamer at all.
You can line your steamer with cabbage leaves, lettuce, parchment paper, or aluminum foil when cooking sticky foods. Some people line their steamers every time they use it, whether the food is sticky or not.
Lining your bamboo steamer when used with sticky foods is a critical step to preventing mold and odors.
Wash your Bamboo Steamer Properly
There are four excellent rules for proper bamboo steamer cleaning:
- Never submerge your bamboo steamer
- Wash gently with soap and water only
- Do not let your dirty bamboo steamer sit; wash as soon as possible after use
- Dry completely and thoroughly (details available in our How to Clean Bamboo Steamer section above)
Store your Bamboo Steamer Properly
The most important thing about storing your bamboo steamer is that it must be kept in a cool, dry place.
The humidity level in your storage location should be between 30% and 50%. Store your bamboo steamer away from washers, dryers, water heaters, dishwashers, humidifiers, and radiators.
As you can see, a major focus to caring for your bamboo steamer is avoiding moisture. Therefore, before you store it, make sure it is 100% dry.
Also, do not store any other items inside of your bamboo steamer, and do not store your bamboo steamer with the lid on.
Remember your three steps for long term Bamboo Steamer care: use it properly, wash it properly, and store it properly. Refer back to this article for help with how to prevent bamboo steamer from molding and how to clean bamboo steamer.