Prep Equipment

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Cleaning and Maintaining Food Processors

The service life of food processors depends on use. Well-maintained units can last 8 to 10 years, but this equipment often needs replacing between 5 and 6 years. Failure to regularly clean and maintain a unit will eventually lead to food buildup under the blade and bowl, which will result in an overworked and overheated motor and a shorter service life.

Clean a food processor with a mild detergent after each use. This involves removing the lid and inside blade assembly. Also remove the bowl, which typically has a twist lock. Some factories recommend operators wash lids by hand.

At least once a month, check the food processor’s aired inlet in the base to make sure there’s no food buildup on the louvers. This can restrict airflow and compromise the motor.

If liquid gets into the shaft, it can impact the motor and cause issues. For this reason, major spills at the base of the unit or near the motor housing should be wiped up immediately. By the same token, the food processor’s base should never be hosed down or immersed in water. Any liquid in these areas can cause catastrophic failure.

Where the motor shaft comes up on the blade assembly is a seal that needs to be lubricated regularly, checked and replaced when not working correctly. This seal can last six to eight months if it’s taken care of, but only two to four months if neglected. Operators can wipe the seal down and lubricate it with food-grade grease, vegetable oil or mineral oil.

If the food processor won’t turn on, there may be an interlock problem or the magnet in the bowl or lid may have been displaced. In either case, the unit requires service. A unit also may be inoperable due to a blade assembly that is worn and not seating properly. If the unit is intermittently not turning on, it may be on the verge of a full-on failure and needs to be serviced.

Manufacturers recommend only loading three-fourths of the bowl; otherwise, the excess food volume can wear out the motor. The pulse feature can help overprocess food. Also, use the unit’s pusher to guide food into the feed tube. Foreign objects should never be put in the tube.

Similar to blenders, food processors don’t have many parts that can be replaced before it makes sense to purchase a new one. If processed food quality decreases or consistency changes, the unit may need new blades, knives or cutting discs. If the unit requires numerous repair visits or is experiencing excessive downtime due to service, it may be time to replace the food processor. In addition, food processors with cracked bases or housings are irreparable and should be retired.

Operators should not use sharp objects to switch food processors on and off. This can puncture button safety covers. Also, users should refrain from overloading the unit or using harsh cleaners, which may impede the alignment and overall operation.