Flour sifters are wonderful utensils that allow you to sift flour for recipes. Sifting breaks up the lumps in flour and makes it much lighter and easier to mix into your recipes. If you sift flour with other ingredients, it helps to mix them so that they are evenly distributed in your recipe.
Some recipes really benefit from using sifted flour, whereas sifting isn’t necessary for other recipes. If you want the flour to be light or consistently mixed with another ingredient, you should sift it.
What Is a Flour Sifter?
A metal flour sifter has two layers of wire screen with a sifting mechanism between them. You turn a handle on the side of the sifter to filter the flour and make it light and fluffy.
When you pour the flour into the top of the sifter, it moves through the first screen, after which you turn the handle to sift it. It then moves through the second screen and is ready for use.
How to Clean a Flour Sifter
There are different methods for cleaning a flour sifter, depending on your goal. If there is no flour stuck in the sifter, you can hold the flour sifter over the trash can and shake it. You should bang the side of it until the flour falls out.
If you want to wash your flour sifter you can, but you must make sure that it is completely dry afterwards. Wash it with warm water and soap. You can let it sit in the sink and soak in the soapy water for an hour.
Once it is clean, you can rinse it and make sure that there is no debris or flour left in the sifter. You can dry it with a towel, and then use a hair dryer on a low setting to completely dry it.
Another option is to use a hose with bristles on your vacuum to vacuum the flour sifter. That way, you won’t have to get the metal sifter wet and worry that it will rust.
What to Do If Flour Lumps Are Stuck Inside the Sifter
If you have lumps of flour stuck inside the sifter, you will need to try to get them out. You can try to use a toothpick or a toothbrush to break the flour loose.
If this works, you can wash the sifter with warm water and soap and dry it with a hair dryer. You can also dry it on low heat in the oven.
Another option is to use a compressed air device to blow the lumpy flour out. These devices are commonly sold for use on computer keyboards, and you can find them at office supply stores.
This will allow you to clean the flour sifter without getting it wet.
Why Is It So Important to Dry the Flour Sifter?
It is very important to dry your flour sifter for a few reasons. First of all, if the sifter is wet, the flour will not sift, but will instead clump together and get stuck in the middle section of the sifter. This will prevent you from being able to use the sifter, and you will need to find a way to loosen the flour and get it out.
The problem is that it is very hard to clean the space between the two layers of wire mesh, as you cannot get inside. You will have to dry the device and use an air compressed device or vacuum to clean the flour out.
Second, when metal flour sifters get wet and are not promptly dried, they can rust. You cannot use a rusted flour sifter because it will get flakes of rust in your flour.
Is It Necessary to Clean a Flour Sifter?
Many people do not do more than shake the flour sifter into the trashcan and bang on the side until the flour all falls out. These utensils are almost exclusively used for flour, and if you store the sifter in a plastic bag after each use, you may never need to wash it.
If you want to be able to wash your flour sifter, you can buy a plastic one that is able to go on the top rack of your dishwasher. You cannot use the same heating mechanisms to dry it, but you can leave it out until it dries because there is no risk of rust.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.