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Cleaning And Caring For Your Tofu Press

Cleaning and caring for your tofu press ensures longevity, and the tofu gets pressed uniformly, thus retaining its quality. Caring for your tofu press also prevents cross-contamination. Unfortunately, it's not always clear how to clean a tofu press after using it, as various manufacturers use different materials to make the box or plate presses. 

Cleaning and caring for your tofu press is easy if you know what to do. Let’s take a detailed look into how to clean care for your tofu press and tips and tricks that will serve you in the long term.

How often Should You Clean your Tofu Press?

At a minimum, you should clean your tofu press after each use by rinsing it with warm, soapy water and wiping it down to remove any residue of soy milk or moisture that might build up and cause contamination. 

You should also clean your tofu press before using it, especially after extended storage. This removes any dust or other contaminants that might have accumulated on the tofu press while it was stored unused for a while. 

If you are working with multiple batches of tofu from different brands, purchase time, and firmness level, you should always clean up the tofu press after each batch to remove any residual flavors. 

Eventually, your tofu press will show signs of wear and tear with prolonged usage. In such cases, you will need to disassemble and scrub all surfaces to sanitize its surfaces while also fixing or repairing any broken parts. This is especially necessary if your tofu press has loose screws, gaskets, or elastic bands that tend to wear out over time. After the repairs, you should thoroughly clean the tofu press before using it.

How to clean your Tofu Press

How you get to clean your tofu press will depend on its design, the materials used, and the manufacturer’s instructions. So before proceeding, you should consult the cleaning instructions that came with your specific tofu press. This is especially important when the tofu has metallic parts such as springs and bolts that might not be dishwasher safe. Let’s take a detailed look into how you can clean various types of tofu presses.

How to clean a bamboo tofu press

Bamboo tofu presses are generally easy to clean after use. However, they are not dishwasher safe. There are a few ways to clean your bamboo tofu press, depending on the mess you are dealing with. You can perform after-use, deep, or restoration cleaning on a bamboo tofu press. 

How to clean a bamboo tofu press after use

  1. Remove any large pieces of tofu or food debris.
  2. Fill a sink with hot, soapy water and add a few drops of dishwashing liquid.
  3. Submerge the tofu press in the soapy water and scrub it with a sponge or dishcloth.
  4. Rinse the tofu press thoroughly with clean water.
  5. To disinfect, spray it with a solution of one part white vinegar and one part water, and then wipe it down with a clean, damp cloth.
  6. Allow the bamboo tofu press to air dry completely before storing it.

How to clean a bamboo tofu press after extended storage

  1. Disassemble the tofu press and wash each part with warm water and mild soap. Rinse well and dry with a clean cloth.
  2.  Check the springs, screws, and hinges for any signs of rust or corrosion. If you find any, you can try to remove them with a steel wool pad or a vinegar solution. If they are too damaged, you may need to replace them.
  3. Sanitize the tofu press by soaking it in a solution of one part bleach and nine parts water for 10 minutes. Rinse well and dry completely.
  4. Reassemble the tofu press and store it in a cool, dry place until you need to use it.
  5. Suppose you want to store the tofu press for another extended period. In that case, you should consider lubricating the screw threads with food-grade silicone grease and treating the bamboo press plates with food-grade mineral oil to protect them from moisture.

How to clean a bamboo tofu press when changing tofu types

  1. After pressing the tofu, remove the tofu from the press and rinse the press with cold water to remove any tofu bits or liquid.
  2. You can reuse the same press without further cleaning when changing from a softer to a firmer type of tofu. Just make sure to adjust the pressure accordingly to avoid crushing the firmer tofu.
  3. When you are changing from a firmer to a softer type of tofu, you should clean the press more thoroughly to prevent cross-contamination or flavor transfer. You can use a soft brush or sponge to scrub the press with warm water and mild soap, then rinse it well and dry it with a clean cloth or paper towel.

How to clean a Box Tofu Press

Most box tofu press designs use plastic or stainless steel molds to hold the tofu block in place as pressure is applied to extract the water.  As a result, most of them are dishwasher safe. However, you should make sure that the manufacturer has explicitly stated so. Any parts that are to be washed separately are removed and soaked in a mixture of half a cup of water and half a cup of white vinegar for up to 30 minutes.

How to clean a box tofu press 

  1. Remove the tofu from the press and rinse the press with warm water.
  2. Use a sponge or dishcloth to scrub away any tofu residue. If it's still covered in tofu, you can soak it in warm, soapy water for up to 15 minutes before scrubbing.
  3. Disinfect the tofu press by lightly spraying a solution of one part water and one part white vinegar.
  4. Rinse the tofu press with clean water and allow it to air dry completely before storing it.

How to clean a dishwasher-safe box tofu press

  1. Remove the tofu and immediately rinse the press under running water to remove the tofu residue. If the tofu residue has dried or is sticky, you should soak the press in soapy water for 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Place the press in the dishwasher and run a normal cycle, which uses the dishwasher detergent and hot water to remove built-up oils or stains. 
  3. Let the press dry completely, and you can seal it in a plastic bag to prevent odor and bacterial growth.

Tips for Cleaning and Caring For Your Tofu Press

  1. Rinse immediately after use

Don't let tofu residue dry on the press. Rinse under running water to remove any leftover tofu bits. This prevents staining and buildup.

  1. Soak in soapy water.

For dried-on residue, soak the press in warm, soapy water for 10-15 minutes to loosen. Use a soft sponge or cloth to remove the residue gently. Avoid abrasive scouring pads.

  1. Run through the dishwasher.

The hot water and detergent in a dishwasher can sanitize and clean the press thoroughly. Make sure the press is secured so it doesn't bang around.

  1. Use vinegar for hard water stains.

Soak the press in equal parts white vinegar and water for 30 minutes to break down mineral deposits and hard water stains.

  1. Dry thoroughly after washing.

Don't store the press wet. Make sure it's completely dry to prevent mold growth. You can even store it in a sealed bag in the cupboard.

  1. Tighten screws occasionally

Check that the screws are adequately tightened every so often. Frequent pressing can loosen the screws over time.

  1. Oil lightly after drying

You can apply a light coating of food-grade mineral oil on the press plates to maintain the surface and prevent staining.

  1. Don't use abrasive cleaners or scouring pads.

Stick to gentle cleaning with soft sponges or cloths to avoid damaging the surface.

  1. Check for cracks

Inspect the press for any cracks in the plates or wood over time. Cracks can harbor bacteria.

Troubleshooting Your Tofu Press

Here are some common problems that can happen with tofu presses and tips for fixing them:

  • Tofu sticking - Make sure to line the press with paper towels or a cloth before adding the tofu. You can also try spraying the press lightly with cooking spray. Gently ease the tofu block into the press rather than dropping it in.
  • Tofu not draining fully - Ensure the press is tightened enough to apply even pressure. Check that the water is draining out and the tofu looks compact. Leave it pressing for longer, up to 30 mins. Consider adding extra weight on top of the press lid.
  • Press leaking - Check that the bottom and sides of the press don't have any gaps where liquid could leak through. Use enough paper towels or clothes to line the press fully. Make sure the tofu block is centered in the press.
  • Tofu breaks apart - Handle the tofu gently when placing it in the press. Don't press it for too long or use too much weight, which can cause it to crumble.
  • Moldy tofu - Press tofu within a couple of days of opening the package. Clean the press thoroughly after each use. Discard any tofu that looks very mushy or smells off.
  • Press plate, not level - Use the press on a flat, level surface. Adjust the tightening knob/screws so the top plate sits evenly. Add a washer if the tightening knob is loose.
  • Damaged press - If any press parts become cracked, warped, or worn out, replace them to ensure even pressure. Check for damage before each use.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How often should you clean the tofu press?

Clean your tofu press after each use for best results. Tofu residue can cause staining and odors over time.

What should you use to line the tofu press?

You can use paper towels, cloth napkins, cotton muslin, or cheesecloth. Avoid using materials that will shred; you can also look for reusable tofu-pressing clothes made from cotton or nylon.

How can you prevent mold from growing on the tofu press?

You should regularly clean and sanitize the tofu press while allowing all parts to dry thoroughly before storage. You should also avoid pressing tofu blocks that are larger than your press, as the excess could leak into hard-to-clean spots where mold will grow.

Pressing tofu will remove the excess water, making the block firmer with improved texture and holding its shape better. Pressed tofu fries more crisply and absorb more flavor. Cleaning and taking care of your high-quality tofu press will ensure consistent results every time without any odors while also prolonging its usage. If you are in the market for a high-quality bamboo tofu press, check out our store


By Susan Grey
Written September 2023

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