The best way to clean a cotton candy machine is to soak or wipe down individual parts with hot water. First, run the machine for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Then turn off the machine, unplug it, and disassemble the parts. Soak the bowl and central floss head in hot water for several minutes. Manually brush the sugar off the floss head if necessary.
If it’s just hardened sugar, the above steps should deal with most sugar clogs.
Cleaning a cotton candy machine is a simple task but also requires constant cleaning after each use (for the best quality candy). The central heating head can get clogged over time resulting in a less efficient machine. Some parts of the cotton candy may be too crunchy or taste burnt if the machine isn’t cleaned regularly or thoroughly enough.
Why should you regularly clean your cotton candy machine?
Treating your machine right is the best way to make sure it lasts for as long as possible.
There are several reasons why you should clean your machine regularly:
If you own a cotton candy machine, then you probably use it often. It’s easy to forget that there are other parts that aren’t so hard to reach unless you actually look at them. The area around the motor and base needs cleaning as well. Keeping these areas clean will help prevent the motor from overheating and reduce the chance of burnt sugar.
Hot, melted sugar that builds up in random areas of the machine can attract airborne particles like dust and dirt!
How often should you clean your cotton candy machine?
Cotton candy machines should be cleaned at least once a week, ideally after every use.
If it’s been a while since your last cleaning, start by soaking the individual pieces in hot water. This will help break down any hardened sugar. This is important for the central heating head as it contains tiny holes that are easily clogged.
Some commercial-grade cotton candy makers have vertical airflow ports that can get clogged from extended use.
You don’t need to obsess over cleaning it, just enough so that the machine works properly.
4 Simple Steps to Cleaning a Cotton Candy Machine
1. Turn on the machine for about 1 minute on a high-temperature setting.
This will help melt and break down hardened sugar around the central floss head. The microholes in the spin head can be hard to clean, especially if sugar has hardened or burned in there. Leaving the machine running will make it easier to clean off the rest of the residual sugar.
2. Turn off the machine and unplug it from any source of power.
3. (Optional) Disassemble for a more thorough cleaning.
If the parts on your cotton candy machine are detachable and soak-friendly, take them out and set them aside. Everything else that stays on the machine can be brushed or wiped down.
4. Either wipe down or soak individual parts in hot water.
To clean hardened sugar that cannot be wiped down, soak in hot water. You shouldn’t need detergent though it could help. After a good soak, take a nylon brush or toothbrush and work away at any bits of sugar that is left. Some heads may have hard-to-reach crevices; if so, leave it in a hot soak for more time.
Before you start cleaning, turn off the machine so you can safely clean around it.
Takeaway: It’s best to clean your cotton candy machine after each use because allowing syrup and sugar to build up inside can damage your machine. Don’t underestimate how hard sugar can get in the crooks of your machine.
Tips for maintaining a cotton candy machine
How much floss sugar to use?
About a tablespoon of floss sugar is a good amount per serving.
How long to preheat machine?
Before pouring in the floss, let the machine run for a couple of minutes. If you hover your hand over the spin head, you should feel some heat.
The sugar heats more evenly this way and therefore does not clog the machine as much. Cheaper machines can take upwards of 5 minutes to heat up.
Hard candy is not melting evenly.
With hard candy, you might need more time to preheat the machine. Try to evenly distribute the hard candy in the spin head. The best way to do that is to smash the candy to bits before heating it.
Do not use sugar finer than powdered or caster.
In terms of “fineness”, the smallest to largest sugar goes powdered>caster>granulated (table). Caster and powdered sugar are way too fine for a cotton candy machine. If you have tried it, you may notice that it burns easily. These types of sugars are best for other types of confections and not cotton candy.
How to clean burnt sugar?
Soak in vinegar and use an abrasive pad to scrub away. It is important to clean burnt sugar as soon as signs of it start showing. As sugar caramelizes to a brown color, it is easier to clean compared to letting it heat up longer into a burnt black color. If you notice any browning along the inside of the floss head, take care of it (as best as you can) immediately!