How to Clean Sous Vide: Everything You Need to Know

Sous vide involves sealing food in a vacuum-sealed bag and then cooking it in a water bath at a precise temperature. This cooking method allows food to be cooked evenly through and retain its natural moisture and flavor.

While sous vide is an excellent cooking method, it can be tricky to clean the equipment properly. In this article, we will go over how to clean sous vide equipment so that you can get the most out of your cooking experience.

One of the essential things to remember when cleaning sous vide equipment is to always use distilled water for the cleaning process because tap water can contain minerals that can build up on the equipment and affect the quality of your food. Another good tip is to avoid harsh chemicals or cleaners on the equipment, which can damage the delicate components.

Instead, stick to using mild soap and warm water. Finally, dry the equipment thoroughly after cleaning as moisture can lead to corrosion. With these tips, your sous vide equipment will clean and work correctly for years.

How to Clean Sous Vide

Cleaning Method

Women cooking healthy sous vide cooking.

Always disconnect your equipment before using a clean, absorbent towel to carefully wipe down the entire machine (including the head, stainless steel skirt, etc.). Ensure the towel is damp before using it to clean.

Removing Scale Accumulation

Hard water has a high mineral concentration and is prevalent in many homes. The accumulation of minerals can result in the development of scale, which can harm water heaters and piping.

You can clean your machine with a vinegar and water solution to eliminate the scale accumulation. Any type of sous vide apparatus can be cleaned with this vinegar bath. Follow the instructions below to keep your machine operating well if you notice any mineral buildup or excessive dirt.


  • White vinegar
  • Water
  • Bowl


Use a damp, absorbent cloth to cleanly wipe off the machine (all parts, including the head and stainless steel skirt). Install the immersion circulator into the vinegar bath container. The container should be as compact as possible because this reduces the amount of vinegar needed and lowers cooking times.

Fill a pot with water and white vinegar in equal parts. Turn on the immersion circulator until it reaches 140° F (60° C). The cleaning is complete when the machine reaches this temperature. Once finished, pour the vinegar/water mixture into a new container and fill it with fresh water. Dry the device off with a clean cloth, then examine it to ensure the mineral deposits are gone.

Tips and Tricks for Cleaning Sous Vide Equipment

Use Only High-Quality Bags for Sealing the Sous Vide Bags

Don’t fill them up too full, and make sure the seals are tight. Brown water and rotten food are the results of a ruptured bag.

Regularly Descale

Keep an eye out for mineral build-up to determine how frequently to perform this. This changes according to how often it is used and how hard the water is.

Descaler for Stubborn Descaling

CLR Remover (Calcium, Lime, and Rust Remover) is a commercial descaler that can be used when vinegar fails to remove mineral buildup.

Avoid Using Plastic Wrap

Don’t use plastic wrap to move your immersion circulator after using it. Allow your immersion circulator’s casing’s remaining humidity to escape through the ventilation grid.

Regular Maintenance

To keep the sous vide machine gleaming, wipe it down after each use. Detach your immersion circulator from the container and store it in a dry area after turning it off. Avoid turning off your immersion circulator over a hot water bath.

Keep Away From Any Electromagnetic Field

It’s crucial to keep your immersion circulator away from potential electromagnetic fields as well as sources of dust and oil. It is common for an induction stove to produce a high electromagnetic field. Unfortunately, this electromagnetic field can interfere with your immersion circulator’s temperature measurement equipment.

Do not put your immersion circulator directly beneath or next to an induction hob. Some professional equipment that is operational but has poor ventilation can produce an electromagnetic field unnaturally. Move your immersion circulator a few meters away and test it if this occurs to you. Then, get in touch with the company that fixes the defective equipment.

How to Clean Vacuum Sealers

Vacuum sealer machine and meat .

Vacuum-sealed bags may be the most fantastic option for food storage, and they unquestionably make Sous Vide cooking much more straightforward. When operating the vacuum sealer, keeping it clean is one of the most crucial things to keep in mind.

Any pollutant in the vacuum sealer tray can cause food to spoil and the growth of microorganisms. After each usage, you should clean your vacuum sealer. Fortunately, with today’s models, it is a straightforward task.

Start by unplugging and turning off your vacuum sealer, especially if it is a Sous Vide model. The front panel, the buttons, and the vacuum channel can all be cleaned with a moist cloth.

It is especially important to clean the drip tray. Thankfully, most drip trays today can be washed in the dishwasher, although you can alternatively do it by hand.

Empty any extra liquid from the drip tray after removing it from the device. It should be cleaned in warm water with a gentle antibacterial detergent. Put it back into the vacuum sealer after it has dried.

The vacuum sealer must thoroughly dry before being plugged in. Otherwise, an electrical shock might happen. If your vacuum sealer is a chamber model, you can clean its exterior surfaces with a damp, clean cloth and a light soap.

You can clean the vacuum chamber with a clean cloth and a sanitizer safe for food. Finally, submerge the external vacuum hose in hot, soapy water to clean it. Before using it again, rinse it and allow it to fully dry.


Will a thorough cleaning solve problems like warmth, whistling, or excessive scale buildup?

Yes, a deep clean will be beneficial for problems with warmth, whistling noises, and excessive scale buildup. The water flow in the sous vide, which can cause the accumulation of mineral deposits, may hamper the machine. Inaccurate temperatures may result from this, and the interrupted water flow may produce a whistling sound.

What can be used as a descaling solution’s replacement?

You could first use a solution of equal parts white vinegar and water to dissolve mineral deposits before the descaling solution. Try descaling if the vinegar-water solution fails to remove the mineral deposits.

How are sous vide coils cleaned?

If the sous vide coils are accessible in your model, you can clean them with a toothbrush and warm, soapy water. Take care not to harm the immersion circulator heating coil or any other internal parts while doing this.

Does my sous vide need to be cleaned?

Your sous vide equipment should be cleaned. Cleaning keeps the sous vide cooker running properly and helps to extend its lifespan. Mineral buildup must be removed to maintain its functioning accurately and effectively.

Why should my sous vide circulator be cleaned?

Minerals may accumulate on some parts of the immersion circulator, particularly the heating unit, depending on the water composition in your sous vide bath. The sediments in tap water cause this buildup. Depending on your water source and pipes, these deposits may be white, brown, black, or green.

If these deposits build up to a significant enough amount, they may affect the spinning impeller or lessen the heating element’s effectiveness. Therefore, it makes sense to regularly clean your circulator if you want it to run at its best efficiency.

How frequently should I clean my circulator?

It is challenging to determine how frequently this needs to be done because it relies on the water in the bath. It’s easiest to simply keep an eye on the internal parts and clean them when they start to look worn out.

How to handle a leaking sous vide bag

Although it happens infrequently, catastrophic water bath accidents can occur. It’s crucial to make sure your immersion circulator is thoroughly cleaned if this happens.

You should start with the Vinegar Bath technique to determine whether that will be enough depending on how terrible the issue is. The next thing would be to perform the CLR Bath process if the vinegar doesn’t work. This technique might need to be repeated in extreme circumstances to restore the circulator’s workings to perfect condition.

Final Thoughts

Sous vide machines are becoming increasingly popular in the culinary world. Not only do they make cooking more accessible, but they also produce restaurant-quality results. However, you must be careful and ensure they are well cleaned after each usage.

Like any other kitchen appliance, knowing how to clean your sous vide machine is essential if you want it to last long and function properly. Always adhere to the manufacturer’s guidelines. Before packaging food with sharp edges, secure it with paper towels and avoid overfilling the bags. Additionally, avoid using harsh chemicals and always use gentle antibacterial cleaners.

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