Hot cocoa is the main reason I need to know how to clean a milk frother. That and making countless lattes for my girls on the weekend. I once "did an experiment" to see how long I could leave it on the side — and *spoiler alert,* it didn't look (or smell pretty). Rancid milk door is truly barf-worthy.
Luckily, many of the best milk frothers are made in three parts. The main vessel you dump your milk (or plant-based alternative) in, the power unit, and a lid — making them super easy to maintain.
Cleaning a milk frother requires three cleaning supplies that you probably have at home anyway. I'll show you how to give your small kitchen appliance a good wipe-down in less time than it takes to enjoy your hot drink.
How to clean a milk frother
Good to know
Time: Less than 10 mins
Helpful hints: I used the Hotel Chocolat Velvetiser to show you how to go about cleaning a milk frother. Though we appreciate some small kitchen appliances are made differently, this particular kitchen gadget comes with a lid. Always consult your instruction manual or contact your manufacturer if you're unsure.
Whatever you do, don't be tempted to use any abrasive cleaning products or metal accessories (ie: a wire scourer or brush) to clean your milk frother. It's not necessary, and by doing this, you will damage your appliance and invalidate any warranty/guarantee.
Here's what you'll need
- Access to a sink with a faucet
- Your favorite dish soap — has to be Ecover for me!
- A small soft brush — I like this twin set from Oxo on Amazon
- A dish towel for drying (optional)
- A microfiber cleaning cloth, like this Amazon set
How to clean a milk frother
Step 1: Let your milk frother cool down
Once you've finished warming milk for your coffee or hot chocolate, switch off the power and unplug the power cord. Decant the finished product and enjoy your beverage, allowing the appliance to cool down in the meantime.
Helpful hint: The experts at Hotel Chocolat say that if you can bring yourself to wait a minute before you indulge in your hot chocolate, it’s a good idea to clean your milk frother before you start sipping. This is so the mixture won’t dry on the inside of the machine. For sparkling results, begin the cleaning process right after use.
Step 2: Fill your frother with a soapy mix
Fill your milk frother with warm water up to the max line and add a few drops of dish soap. You can either use warm water from your faucet or boil a small amount of water using your tea kettle and mix it with cold from the tap.
Warning: Try not to get the base wet, as this is where the electrical components are located.
Step 3: Wipe down your lid
Remove the lid (if your milk frother has one) and use a small, soft brush to gently wipe away any excess milk or drinking chocolate.
Step 4: Turn on your milk frother
Replace the lid and press the milk frother button, letting it work its magic to mix together the warm water and dishwashing liquid to create a soapy mixture. This self-cleaning step should do most of the work for you, including cleaning the magnetic whisk. This process will take approximately 2.5 minutes.
5. Pour out your suds and rinse
Pour the dirty water into the sink and rinse until the water runs clear. In a minute or so, your milk frother will be free from debris. Again — avoid getting the bottom of the machine wet.
Step 6: Inspect your whisk
In theory, the steps you've already taken should have sufficiently cleaned the plastic/metal whisk. If you need to, you can handwash it in the sink.
Warning: Do not put it in the dishwasher as the extremely hot water will warp and damage this component.
Step 7: Wipe down the milk frother exterior
If you've been a bit clumsy, there might be some stubborn milk scum or flaked chocolate on your vessel. Use a damp microfiber cloth, and a little elbow grease to get rid of any debris on this part, and double-check your lid while you're at it, too.
How often should you clean a milk frother?
"It’s best to clean your milk frother after each use," says Angus Thirlwell, CEO at Hotel Chocolat. "This results in a better-tasting hot chocolate and also prevents your machine from getting damaged and breaking. A build-up of milk and cacao traces could impair the whisk’s ability to blend your hot chocolate to that luscious, frothed consistency."
Can you put a milk frother in the dishwasher?
In most cases — the answer is no. "Like most electronic appliances, dishwashers are a no-no for [milk frothers]," says Thirwell. "Because the jug and power base are powered by electricity, they need to be kept away from excess water, including the trusty dishwasher. We also recommend only washing the whisk by hand.”
Meet our experts
Hey, I'm Christina, one of the e-commerce editors at Real Homes. I own the Hotel Chocolat Velvetiser and went through a stage in the winter of taste testing every single variety of hot chocolate that they've created. My favorites are the Coconut White and the Salted Caramel/Clementine flavors. I like that this appliance has a non-stick coating (like my non-stick frying pans and non-toxic cookware) which makes it super easy to clean. It may come as a surprise that, although I own a good small coffee maker that has a steam wand, I prefer this when frothing milk to make coffee.