My girlfriend and I moved into a new flat together and now we´ve got at least 2 salt- and 2 pepper mills. We only need one of each kind and I wanted to ask, if somebody knows a good way to "clean" the mills and prepare them for reuse with another spice.

Is there an ideal, neutral substance for cleaning or any other trick?


The amount of salt that would stick to a dry mill is very small. Salt is also quite abrasive, cheap and water soluble. So to get pepper out I'd grind salt. For most savoury mixes a little salt won't hurt -- in fact you may well put a fair bit in the mix. If you really want to remove the salt, then wash it; just be sure to get it really dry before refilling. Leave it on a sunny windowsill for a few days, in a warm oven (depending on what it's made of, of course), or on a radiator.

  • good point.. What do you think about rice??
    – Joshit
    Apr 18 '17 at 14:23
  • @Joshit - I was going to comment that sitting on a sunny sill, filled, at least partially, with dried white rice grains would probably be a more complete drying. Apr 18 '17 at 14:26
  • Rice might work. It partly depends what you want to do with it - a few crumbs of rice getting into a wet dish wouldn't matter too much, but ground on at the table might be a bit crunchy.
    – Chris H
    Apr 18 '17 at 15:25
  • 2
    IIRC the "Dry things with rice" method has been mostly disproven (as opposed to "dry things with moving, dry air"), which sitting on a radiator or in a warm oven would accomplish.
    – Joe M
    Apr 18 '17 at 18:02
  • 1
    if they're already salt and pepper mills -- as Joshit stated -- then I would expect salt to be just fine. I know of several restaurants that use salt to clean their spice grinders (then send the ground salt to the tables... yummy). Apr 18 '17 at 22:49

There's no special trick to it, you don't want to use water to clean them as it's hard to dry them afterwards and you risk getting wet spices clogging things up. First I would empty the mill, then I would give it a few taps and shake as much as can out of it. Next I would use a brush and/or paper towel to clean the parts I can reach. Once it's as clean as I can get it I would run the new spice through the mill for as many turns as it takes to get the old spice out of the works.

  • I was looking for something else here.. As I answered, you can try it with rice.. I am really looking for something to neutralize/clean the mill (and I believe that there are more possibilities) :)
    – Joshit
    Apr 18 '17 at 13:09
  • 2
    If you already had an answer why ask a question @Joshit ? If you are looking for something specific that has not been addressed I suggest you edit your question to make it clearer.
    – GdD
    Apr 18 '17 at 13:14
  • I found this possibility after i asked my question.
    – Joshit
    Apr 18 '17 at 13:20

I was looking for something like that: http://lifehacker.com/5558040/use-rice-or-bread-to-clean-coffee-and-spice-grinders

I´ll try today, if milling rice will solve my problem.. And I´ll tell you as soon as I tried, if that is valuable..

  • 2
    I would have though bread would get stuck in there. Crackers would be better as they're drier.
    – Chris H
    Apr 18 '17 at 14:08
  • @ChrisH : yeah, but they're crumbly ... and if it turns to too fine of a powder, it'll stick to everything.
    – Joe
    Apr 18 '17 at 14:22
  • @ChrisH Using bread would only work, if the bread is absolutely dried. I go with Joe with the Cracker-thing..
    – Joshit
    Apr 18 '17 at 14:26
  • 1
    Hi Joshit, and thank you for a nice first question. You have probably by now noticed that this site doesn't work like a forum which simply records a conversation chronologically. Here, the question is always on top, and we only allow answers below it, and they change their position depending on voting. We also allow self-answering, so it is nice that you posted here a solution found by your own research! It should still be an answer though, so I removed the invitation for alternative solutions. The original question is considered enough to get people write them, if they have them.
    – rumtscho
    Apr 18 '17 at 14:39
  • @rumtscho: Thanks for your feedback! Really appreciate fair feedback and guidance from mods and/or competent users.
    – Joshit
    Apr 18 '17 at 14:45

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