Can You Vacuum Rice? (Cooked and Uncooked Rice)

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Rice is an important part of many cuisines, especially Asian cuisine. It is the perfect pairing for saucy dishes and go very well with many kinds of food. Unfortunately, accidents happen in the kitchen and rice can fall to the floor. When a huge amount falls to the floor, many would consider vacuuming the rice, but is it safe? 

Can you vacuum rice? It is not recommended to vacuum both cooked and uncooked rice. The average vacuum cleaner is not designed to suck anything soggy and moist. Rice can easily clog the filters which will cause the vacuum cleaner to spew dust back into the air. Use a paper towel to clean rice instead.

In most cases, using a paper towel to clean up wet kitchen spills gets the job done, but if you must use a vacuum cleaner, use a Shop-Vac (wet dry vacuum cleaner) instead of a regular vacuum cleaner for bigger messes. In this post, we will answer everything you need to know about: can you vacuum rice?

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Can You Vacuum Rice?

The biggest problem with vacuuming rice is the size and moisture. A vacuum cleaner is designed to pick up small and fine dust particles that are generally dry. So, clumps of cooked rice can not only clog the vacuum because of their size, but they can also damage the motor because of their moisture. 

When it comes to cleaning kitchen spills, dry ingredients like sugar, salt, and pepper can easily be picked up with a vacuum cleaner. These ingredients are safe for household vacuums because they are small and dry. In fact, a small handheld vacuum cleaner is more than capable of cleaning dry kitchen messes.

However, vacuuming wet food and ingredients like cooked rice, macaroni and cheese, baked beans, and fresh produce is not recommended. Not only can they clog the filters, but they can spoil inside the vacuum -- nasty! The last thing you want is cleaning a smelly mess from inside your vacuum cleaner.

So the next time you spill rice, use a paper towel and pick up anything you can with your hands. If the rice is dry, use the reliable combination of a dustpan and brush. But if the rice is wet and saucy, use a paper towel or washable microfiber cloth instead. Soak the liquid and mop the area thoroughly.   

You can also wait until the next morning to clean spilled rice. The rice will harden and will become ridiculously easy to sweep. As long as the rice has no sauce on it, you can leave it until the next day. Just make sure that your kids won’t pick them up and eat them. The same thing goes for your pets.

What About Vacuuming Uncooked Rice?

You may often see ads where a vacuum cleaner effortlessly sucks dry cereal and rice scattered across the floor. These advertisements are done in a controlled environment, done in a way to highlight the suction power of a vacuum cleaner. And so while a vacuum cleaner can pick up uncooked rice, it’s not recommended.

The same thing goes for vacuuming uncooked rice. Similar to oats and cereals, uncooked rice are larger in size than the typical dust particles, so vacuuming them is not recommended.

But if you must use a vacuum cleaner to suck uncooked rice, your best bet is to use a Shop-Vac. They are heavy-duty and more capable than the average vacuum cleaner. In most cases, however, you don’t need a vacuum cleaner to clean up rice. A broom and dustpan is more than enough for the job.

Can You Clean Rice Dropped on the Floor?

If you have kids running around the house, spilled food can become a daily occurence. Many homeowners come to us with the question: can you actually clean rice dropped on the floor?

If it is dry uncooked rice, you can easily clean them before cooking. In most cases, you can simply sift the debris off the rice and rinse them with clean water. To rinse grains of rice, put them in a bowl and add water. Stir the rice with your hands to get rid of starch and other contaminants. Repeat 3 times.

Rice and grains are agricultural products that are harvested and stored outside a sterile environment, so you can easily clean them if they were dropped on the floor. Cooking them will also indirectly clean them. However, if you're talking about cleaning cooked rice dropped on the floor, then it’s a slightly different case.

Most of the time, you can clean cooked rice that was dropped on the floor of your home. They are edible as long as you rinse them with clean water or cook them again. But if the cooked rice was left on the floor for more than a few minutes, it’s best to throw it away. You can eat them at your own risk.

How to Clean Spilled Rice on the Carpet

Rice can quickly become an issue when they are spilled on carpet. It is important to clean spilled rice as soon as possible because it can stick easily on carpet fibers. To prevent cooked rice from drying and bonding with the carpet, clean it up right away. Pick up the visible rice pieces with your hands.

But if you spill rice together with its sauces, it may stain the carpet.

To clean food stains from carpet, absorb anything you can with a paper towel first. Then, create a cleaning solution by mixing one tablespoon of white distilled vinegar, one tablespoon of dish soap, and two cups of warm water. Blot the stain with the homemade mixture and cloth until you can't see it anymore.

Final Words

And there you go, a short response to: can you vacuum rice? Now you know that vacuuming cooked or uncooked rice is not recommended. Thankfully, cleaning them is easy to do with a broom and a dustpan. By cleaning rice the right way, you are keeping your house clean without damaging your vacuum cleaner.