I recently grinding some chilies with ginger in my granite mortar and pestle, and after cleaning it still has a bit of gingery smell (and maybe a bit of color too?). I washed it with warm water, let it dry, and then grinded some white rice in it as well.

Is it okay that it still smells a bit like ginger? If not, what should I do to remove it?


3 Answers 3


Should be fine, in fact some people argue that a pestle and mortar is suppose to have remnants of past spices and that it adds to variety and such.

If you're really concerned of the taste, smell or if you ground nuts (allergies), etc. or just don't want the smell/taste then soak it for a long period of time, then rewash it and repeat till it fades.

  • 5
    If you're worried about genuine allergies, get another one to keep nut free. The quantities that can trigger severe allergies are tiny.
    – Chris H
    May 13, 2018 at 6:36
  • Oh just saying incase anyone has a wooden pestle and mortar, you probably shouldn't soak it!!!!
    – Jade So
    May 23, 2018 at 19:59

With the caveats about allergy already given, A traditional method to clean a pestle and mortar is to grind uncooked rice in it. Hard work, though.


I would add a hint of washing up liquid and fill the pestle with water and let it stand for a couple of hours or overnight if possible. The smell usually goes away.

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