How to Clean the “Pokey” Side of a Box Grater

A box grater is an essential tool in any kitchen, perfect for grating cheese, vegetables and more. However, one challenge many home cooks face is cleaning the “pokey” side of the box grater. The sharp, spiky holes can trap food particles, making it difficult to clean thoroughly. But fear not! As a food expert, I’m here to share some valuable tips on how to effectively wash the “pokey” side of a box grater so it stays clean and ready for your next culinary adventure.

Start With a Quick Rinse

After using the box grater, give it a quick rinse under warm water to remove any loose food particles. This initial rinse will make the rest of the cleaning process easier.

Use a Toothbrush or Pastry Brush

To tackle those stubborn bits of food stuck in the holes of the grater, grab a clean toothbrush or pastry brush. These small brushes are perfect for reaching into tight spaces and removing any remaining food particles. Gently scrub the “pokey” side of the grater, brushing both along and against the holes to ensure a thorough clean.

Dish Soap and Warm Water

Next, apply a small amount of dish soap to the toothbrush or pastry brush. Scrub the grater again, this time concentrating on the areas with trapped food. The soap will help break down grease and stubborn residue. Rinse the grater thoroughly under warm water to remove any soap residue.

Use a Baking Soda Paste

For a deeper clean and to eliminate lingering odors, make a baking soda paste. Mix one tablespoon of baking soda with a little water to make a thick paste. Apply the paste to the “pokey” side of the grater and gently scrub with the toothbrush or pastry brush. Baking soda is a natural cleaner and deodorizer that effectively removes stubborn stains and odors. Rinse grater well to remove baking soda residue.

Air Drying or Towel Drying

After washing the box grater, allow it to air dry completely before storing. Placing it upright or on a drying rack will help ensure proper drying and prevent moisture buildup. Alternatively, you can use a clean kitchen towel to thoroughly dry the grater.

Safety Precautions

Remember to use caution when cleaning the “pokey” side of the box grater. The sharp holes can cause injury if not handled properly. Always keep your fingers and hands away from the sharp edges and use a toothbrush or pastry brush to clean the grater.

Tips for Storing a Box Grater to Prevent Damage

Here are some tips for storing a box grater to prevent damage:

  1. Clean and dry before storing: Before storing your grater, make sure it is thoroughly cleaned and dried. Lingering moisture can cause rust or corrosion, so it’s important to make sure it’s completely dry before putting it away.
  2. Find a suitable storage location: Choose a storage location that is dry, clean, and away from excessive heat or humidity. Avoid storing the grater near sources of moisture, such as sinks or dishwashers, to prevent potential damage.
  3. Use a protective cover or sleeve: Consider using a protective cover or sleeve to shield the sharp edges and blades of the grater. This will help prevent accidental cuts and keep the grater in good condition. Some box graters come with their own protective covers, but you can also find generic covers that fit different sizes of graters.
  4. Store in an upright position: Storing the box grater in an upright position can help maintain its shape and prevent the blades from bending or warping. You can place it in a utensil holder or stand it upright in a drawer to keep it stable and protected.
  5. Separate from other utensils: Avoid storing the grater in a crowded drawer or container where it may rub against other utensils. This can cause the blades to become dull or damaged. Store it separately or use dividers to create a designated space for the grater.
  6. Consider wall storage: If you have limited drawer space, consider installing a wall-mounted storage system designed specifically for kitchen utensils. This will allow you to hang your box grater securely on the wall, keeping it easily accessible while protecting it from potential damage.
  7. Inspect regularly for damage: Periodically inspect your box grater for signs of damage, such as bent or dull blades. If you notice any problems, it may be time to replace your grater to ensure safe and efficient shredding.

By following these tips, you can store your box grater properly and protect it from damage, ensuring its longevity and continued usefulness in your kitchen.


Cleaning the “pokey” side of a box grater doesn’t have to be a daunting task. By following these expert tips, you can effectively remove food particles, grease, and odors to keep your box grater clean and ready for your next culinary creation. Remember to clean the grater thoroughly and use caution when handling it. With a clean box grater, you can confidently continue to explore new recipes and enjoy the delicious results. Happy cooking!


Can I clean the “pokey” side of a box grater in the dishwasher?

While some box graters are dishwasher safe, it is generally recommended that they be hand washed to ensure proper cleaning and to prevent potential damage to the grater or other items in the dishwasher.

What should I do if food gets stuck in the small holes in the grater?

Use a toothpick or small cleaning brush to gently pry the food out of the holes. Be careful not to damage the grater or injure yourself.

Can I use a sponge or scrub brush to clean the box grater?

It’s best to avoid using sponges or scrub brushes with stiff bristles, as they can scratch the surface of the grater. Stick to softer brushes such as toothbrushes or pastry brushes for effective cleaning.

How often should I clean my grater?

It’s a good practice to clean your box grater immediately after each use to prevent food residue from drying and becoming harder to remove. Regular cleaning also helps maintain the performance and hygiene of the grater.

Should I oil or lubricate my grater to prevent it from sticking?

It is not necessary to oil or lubricate the grater. In fact, adding oil may make it more difficult to clean. Proper cleaning and drying after each use should be sufficient to prevent sticking.

How do I prevent rust on my box grater?

To prevent rust, make sure your grater is completely dry before storing. If your grater does develop rust, gently scrub it with a sponge or brush and a mixture of baking soda and water to remove the rust. Then dry it thoroughly.

Can I sharpen the blades on a box grater?

Box graters typically have stamped or etched blades that are not designed to be sharpened. Attempting to sharpen them may damage the grater or reduce its performance. If the blades become dull, it’s best to replace the grater.

Is it safe to store other utensils with a box grater?

It’s generally recommended to store the box grater separately from other utensils to prevent accidental damage to the blades or dulling of the grater. Consider using a protective cover or storing it in a designated area to maintain its condition.

How long does a box grater typically last?

The life of a box grater depends on its quality, how often it is used, and how well it is maintained. With proper care and regular cleaning, a good quality box grater can last several years before needing to be replaced.