If you love to cook -- but you're messier than the cooking show perfection we'd all like to achieve -- then yourprobably ends up with a grimy layer of flour, oils and other ingredients after use. You can't give your mixer unit a dip in the sink, though, so a little TLC is in order.
Wipe it down
After removing the bowl and attachments, give the entire mixer a wipe-down. Dampen a cotton cloth with warm water and then use it to remove any stubborn food and dust. Don't forget to wipe down the bottom of the mixer. Drips can seep underneath and cause rust.
If your mixer is oily -- and warm water just isn't cutting it -- you may need to use a cleanser. I recommend window cleaner over other kitchen cleaners because it doesn't need to be rinsed off and won't leave a film that can attract dust.
You can make your own by mixing 1 cup of water, 1 cup of rubbing alcohol and 1 tablespoon of white vinegar in a spray bottle. Don't use cleanser every time you clean your mixer, though -- it can wear down the finish.
Swab those crannies
Flour and other ingredients can also make their way into the holes around the tilt mechanism (also called the motor head locking lever) and speed switch. The best way to clean these areas is by spraying a cotton swab with cleanser and then working it in and out of the holes.
Attachments and attachment areas
Attachments are what make stand mixers handy, but they need special care. The bowl, coated flat beaters and coated dough hook are the only attachments that can be put in the dishwasher. The wire whips, burnished dough hooks and burnished beaters should be washed by hand with hot water and dish soap, then rinsed well and dried right away to avoid tarnishing.
Most mixers have two different attachment areas and both need a good cleaning after each use. If you don't clean these areas well, the mixer may stop working properly. For the beater shaft attachment area, dampen a sponge, fold it around the attachment area and twist your hand back and forth. This will get grime out of the coils around the shaft.
The attachment hub should be cleaned with a cotton swab, just like the switch areas. Dampen your cotton swab with cleanser and then wipe down the inside of the hub. The hub cover and attachment knob can be cleaned in the dishwasher or by hand.
Editors' note: This article was originally published on Jan. 4, 2016, and has been updated.