So you've grated (and eaten!) a big helping of cheese onto your plate. Now you're gazing at the cheese grater, knowing you need to clean it but dreading the task. I've been there before. Nobody likes cleaning a clogged grater, but it doesn't have to be a time-consuming or difficult chore. There are various secrets to it, which I'll share with you in this simple tutorial on cleaning a cheese grater.
Rinsing your cheese grater immediately after use makes cleaning it much simpler. The longer the cheese shreds set, the more difficult it will be to remove them from the metal plate. While this may be the last thing you want to do before sitting down to a homecooked meal, in the future, you will be grateful.
If you didn't immediately rinse the grater (which happens to the best of us), soak it. In a large container, combine a few drops of liquid soap with hot water and immerse your cheese shredder. Allow it to rest for about 30 minutes to allow the firm cheese to soften.
After the soak, use a firm brush to scrape off the shredded cheese. A dry scrub brush, pastry brush, or even an old toothbrush might be used. It will work as long as the bristles are coarse and rough. Furthermore, there are additional kitchen items that can be cleaned with this type of brush, so keep one on hand at all times!
Remember to clean up after yourself and the grating plate. In other words, run your toothbrush or pastry brush along and against the grater's "pokey" holes.
Even the best stainless steel cheese graters may occasionally develop stains. If yours has seen better days, there is a method for removing those unsightly "cheese streaks."
Drizzle some liquid dish soap on your grater and scrape it again, for example, with a pastry brush. The stains should disappear after a minute or so of stroking the metal plate. You can do the same thing with white vinegar.
To remove crusted-on food particles, use half a lemon instead. Cut your lemon in half, season the juicy side with coarse sea salt, and then vigorously spray your cheese shredder with it. It will become clean and fragrant in an instant.
I usually recommend letting your cheese grater (and other stainless steel cooking equipment) air dry. If you don't have the time, pat it dry with a microfiber cloth.
Finally, if none of my methods worked, you could put your grater in the dishwasher to clean it. (Of course, if the manufacturer clearly indicates that your grater is dishwasher-safe.) Dishwashing liquid and high water pressure (and temperature) will help release any cheese that has been lodged in the grating holes.