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Baking can be a wonderful way to spend your time in the kitchen. Baking bread at home is not only delicious, but it also leaves you with a sense of pride and accomplishment. If you’ve ever baked anything at all, you’ve had to use flour, and you know what a trick it can be to clean up. 

Baking with flour is often a messy task. From measuring it (that overflow is a pain) or sprinkling it on the counter to roll out the dough, you are likely going to get flour on just about every surface. 

What’s worse? When you don’t clean up your flour messes right away, they run the risk of getting even the slightest bit wet. Wet flour turns into a sticky glue-like substance that is difficult to remove, especially when working on or with a metal surface. If you let this substance dry, it’s even tougher to remove.

Our quick guide to cleaning up flour messes off your metal counters, mixing bowls, or metal utensils will help you become a pro and keep your metal in tip-top shape. 

Removing flour from metal surfaces

Removing dry flour is a relatively easy task, but you want to be sure you avoid trying to clean flour off your metal surface with water. All you need is a dry cloth, a trash bin, and a brush. 

  1. Use the brush or broom to sweep the flour into a garbage can nearby. You can sweep it into your hand and transfer it to the trash. 
  2. Wipe down your metal surface with a dry cloth after you sweep. 
  3. Shine your surface with a cleaner once the metal is clear of the surface.

Some people swear by keeping a small handheld vacuum dedicated to the kitchen. It makes it easy to vacuum up your flour messes quickly. 

How to remove wet flour from your metal surfaces

Removing wet flour is another story. You’ll need to ensure you have the proper supplies to get the job done. 

Gather the following:

Steps to take to remove the flour

  1. Start by using the metal scraper to get as much of the dough off the counter as possible. 
  2. Use the hot water to moisten the remaining flour stuck to the metal surface. Water will begin to soften the dough and make it easier to remove. Let the water sit for a few minutes to saturate thoroughly.
  3. Use the scraper again to remove the remaining dough on the counter, or use a scrub brush or sponge.
  4. Clean the surface with a fresh cloth. Use a metal cleaner to shine the surface.

If you struggle to remove the flour using the methods above, add a little vinegar to the water to boost the cleaning power.

*Hot water may strengthen the gluten in the flour, causing the flour to be an even tougher mess to clean. 

Cleaning your metal flour sifter

Many will tell you to avoid cleaning a flour sifter at all costs, but you should clean the sifter regularly for health purposes. 

A flour sifter can be a difficult utensil to clean. A sifter is a complex tool with many surfaces that are difficult to reach. It’s challenging if the sifter gets damp at any point in your baking process. You want to be sure to be extra careful to keep your metal sifter dry. 

Things you need:

  • Mild Dish Soap (Unscented)
  • A dry towel
  • Sponges
  • Small Fan or Handheld Vacuum (Optional)

Here’s how to effectively clean your metal sifter without destroying it:

  1. First, you will want to ensure you remove any excess flour from your flour sifter. Turn it upside and make sure you crank it a few extra times. You could even use a fan or a small vacuum to get the flour out of those tight nooks and crannies. 
  2. Submerge the flour sifter in warm soapy water for at least 30 minutes when all the flour is removed.
  3. Next, use a sponge to scrub the interior and the exterior of the sifter, including the mesh strainer. Be gentle when scrubbing and take care not to break the sifter mechanism.
  4. Rinse the sifter with clean water
  5. Dry the sifter with a towel as best as you can and lay it out to air dry on a towel.

If the sifter is complex and dishwasher safe, you may want to run through the dishwasher but be sure to dry the metal sifter as soon as the cycle is complete to prevent rust. 

Ways to prevent making a mess with flour

The best way to clean flour off your kitchen counter is to do your best to prevent it. Now we understand that it’s almost impossible to avoid, but you can try some of these tips and tricks next time you need to bake with flour to limit the mess.

  • Try to clean up the dough before it hardens to make cleaning up easier. 
  • Make sure your dishwasher is empty before you start baking. Having a clear dishwasher makes cleanup simpler. Instead of leaving dishes in the sink, put them straight in the dishwasher.
  • Keep a garbage bin nearby to make it easy to drop scraps in without the need to carry them across the kitchen. 
  • When you measure your dry ingredients, set down a cutting board or some wax paper under your measuring station to minimize the mess on your metal surfaces. When you use wet ingredients, measure over an empty bowl to catch the overflow.

Flour can be a sticky mess to clean up but using the methods we’ve taught, whether you go the preventative route or you’re cleaning up after making a mess (messes happen), you’re sure to be able to keep your metal surfaces shiny and clean. 

Cooking in the kitchen leaves with you all kinds of messes to clean up. Check out some of our other tried and true methods of cleaning your everyday kitchen tools.