Do You Need to Wash Bamboo Steamers – All You Need to Know!

Yes, you do need to wash a bamboo steamer. To clean your steamer, simply take a fresh lemon, cut it into wedges, and run it all over the surface of the steamer. Place it over a pan of boiling water and rinse thoroughly with hot water. 

do you need to wash bamboo steamer

You can steam delicious meals & vegetables using a bamboo steamer. It is one of the best and healthiest ways to cook your meals. Bamboo steamers are not only affordable, but they are very simple to use as well.

Since they are made from bamboo, a natural product, you have to wash the steamer meticulously after every use. Let’s learn how you can clean your bamboo steamer, get rid of any food debris & odor, and keep it in prime condition for several years to come.

What are Bamboo Steamers

No kitchen should be without bamboo steamers. Made from simple interwoven strips of bamboo, these pan-like steamers originate thousands of years ago in China. It is very simple, easy, and quick to make amazingly delicious dishes in them.

What makes bamboo dishes truly amazing is that you can cook numerous dishes in them simultaneously. Simply stack the steamers on top of each other – the steam will rise all the way to the top and each layer will be cooked simultaneously!

You can cook a lot of dishes – from Bao buns to Chinese dumplings and sticky rice – in these simple steamers. Condensation builds on the surface of metal steamers. However, bamboo steamers most of the moisture and you get light, fluffy meals.

How are Bamboo Steamers Made

Just like the name suggests, bamboo steamers are made using bamboo. Buy your steamer bamboo steamer now, before cute little pandas eat up all the bamboo and there is no bamboo left for making steamers! *winks *

Each steamer is made by weaving the strips together in the form of a ring. Narrow bamboo strips are woven together so that you can keep your food on it and steam can easily pass through as well. 

There is a lid for the steamer as well that you use when you are cooking only one meal. When you are stacking steamers, you place the lid only on the topmost steamer. You can place the steamer on a pan or wok that has boiling water in it. 

This allows the hot steam to funnel up through the steamers. When you are stacking the bamboo steamers, it is a good thing to swap the steamers midway through the cooking so that the meal in each content is cooked thoroughly. 

Usually, hot steam has a temperature of 100°C/121°F. As the steam rises, it envelopes the food inside the steamer and gently cooks it. All the nutrients stay inside the food this way and don’t fritter away as they would have if you immerse & boil them in water.

Why Do You Need to Clean the Bamboo Steamer

Bamboo steamers allow the hot steam to pass through and cook the food in them. Bamboo is a natural and organic material. However, when the steam passes through the bamboo, food bits stick to the steamer.

Moreover, the steamer starts to smell like the food you cook in it. Therefore, you need to clean it thoroughly after each use. 

bamboo steamer on top of boiling water

How to Clean Your Bamboo Steamer

Here are four ways that you can use to clean your bamboo steamer easily.

Use a Fresh Lemon

Lemon is a natural cleaning agent. It is non-abrasive and has a nice, pleasant aroma. 

Things You Will Need

  • Lemon
  • Hot Water


  1. Take a lemon and cut it into small wedges. 
  1. Wipe the lemon wedges over the entire bamboo steamer thoroughly.
  1. Place the steamer over a pan of hot, simmering water and let the steam run through it.
  1. Do this for 15 minutes.
  1. Rinse using hot water and let the steamer air dry.

2. Use White Vinegar

Things You Will Need

  • White Vinegar
  • Hot Water
  • Cup


  1. Take 1 cup of hot water.
  1. Add ½ cup white vinegar to it and create a solution.
  1. Gently coat the steamer with this solution.
  1. Let it sit for 15 minutes.
  1. Rinse the steamer thoroughly using hot water.

3. Use Teabags

You can’t only have a great cup of tea using tea bags but you can also use them as natural cleaning agents.

Things You Will Need

  • Teabag
  • Hot Water


  1. Take a teabag. It is better if you use black tea bags.
  1. Soak the tea bag in hot water for a couple of seconds.
  1. Rub the wet tea bag all over the steamer. Make sure that you rub gently or you will split the teabag.
  1. Rinse the bamboo steamer using hot water.

4. Use Baking Soda

Baking soda is an excellent cleaning agent that draws out any odors and moisture easily.

Things You Will Need

  • Baking Soda
  • Hot Water


  1. Sprinkle the steamer with baking soda liberally.
  1. Keep the bamboo steamer aside for 2 hours and let the baking soda work its magic.
  1. Boil some hot water and use that to rinse the steamer.
  1. Let it air dry. Your steamer is good to use again!

5. Use a Nylon Brush

There is nothing like good old scrubbing using a brush to get your steamer clean.

Things You Will Need

  • Dishwashing Liquid
  • Scrubbing Brush
  • Hot Water


  1. Take a bowl of hot water.
  1. Add 1 tbsp. dishwashing liquid in it.
  1. Stir until suds are formed.
  1. Dip the soft nylon brush in the soapy mixture.
  1. Gently scrub the steamer with the brush, making sure that you don’t damage the steamer.
  1. Place the steamer over a pot of simmering water for 15 minutes.
  1. Rinse using cold water thoroughly and let the steamer dry.

How to Use Your Bamboo Steamer

If you are new to the world of bamboo steamers and don’t know how to use them don’t worry – we have got your back. Here’s how you can use bamboo steamers.

  • Take a pan and fill it with water. The size of the pan you take should be smaller than the basket.
  • Place it over your stove.
  • Let the water boil.
  • Once it starts boiling, lower the heat and let the water simmer.
  • Place the steamers on top of the pan just like you place a lid.
  • The steam will permeate through the steamer and cook the meal as it does so. 

Tips to Keep Your Steamer Clean

We all know that prevention is better than the cure and this holds true in the case of bamboo steamers. Here are a few tips to keep your steamer clean.

  1. The best way to keep the food from sticking to the steamer is to line it with parchment or waxed paper. If you don’t have waxed paper or parchment, then you can use cabbage or lettuce leaves as lining.
  1. Don’t keep the steamer inside a plastic container. If there is any moisture left on the surface of the steamer and you keep it in a plastic container, it will result in condensation. This will encourage the growth of mold and mildew.
  1. Another thing that you have to keep in mind is that you can’t store anything on the top of the steamer. If you do so, the weight of the item will cause the steamer to weaken and crack.
  1. When you purchase the bamboo steamer, you need to clean it before using it. It is likely to have some dust while it was on display or in storage. Therefore, thoroughly clean the steamer before using it.
  1. Don’t put your steamers in dishwashers – they are not dishwasher safe and you will end up ruining your steamer. Simply use the above-listed methods to clean your steamers.

FAQs for Do You Need to Wash the Bamboo Steamer

Should I coat the steamer with oil after each wash?

Yes, you should coat your steamer with oil after each wash. This will keep your bamboo steamer from drying out and becoming brittle. You can use any cooking oil for this.

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