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How to Clean a Peanut Butter Jar

Assuming you don’t have a nut allergy, who doesn’t love peanut butter? Growing up, I don’t think there was ever a lunch at school where someone wasn’t eating a peanut butter sandwich of sorts. That said, cleaning up peanut butter can be a real task. We’ll be reviewing how to clean out peanut butter jars in a few simple and easy steps.    

How to Clean a Peanut Butter Jar

While we love peanut butter for its salty, gummy, sticky nature, that is also what makes it such a pain to clean up. Few things are worse than trying to scrub out a peanut butter jar with a clean sponge and cold water, only to be left in a worse predicament than when you started. To help you avoid that exact scenario, here’s how to easily clean a peanut butter jar.

Young boy making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich

Step 1: Let Your Tap Water Run Until Hot

You’ll want to start by running your tap water until it’s piping hot. This is about 120°F. This part is critical, and you do not want to introduce any cold water into the jar. Cold water will seize up the fats, making them turn solid. 

Additionally, you want to use tap water because it’s hard water. This will help to reduce the film that soap tends to leave on things when used with soft water.

Solid fats will be stuck to the sides of the jar, and worse off, they will stick on and into your sponges. Make sure your water is as hot as you can handle putting your hand under. This is probably somewhere around 120°F depending on your home and your personal tolerance for heat.  

Step 2: Add a Tiny Bit of Soap to the Jar

A tiny bit of soap will help keep grease off the sides of the jar. This will make your later rinse out and scrub down a bit easier. A single drop is plenty for a small jar. You’ll probably want 2 or 3 drops for one of the big family size tubs. 

Step 3: Fill the Jar Half Way With the Hot Water

Again, hot water is the key to this process. Hot water will liquify the fat, and then it will suspend the peanuts. This allows you to easily remove all contents in one go. 

Mom and daughter making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich

Step 4: Seal the Jar

Sealing the jar is just to make sure that when we shake it all up, nothing comes out. If for some reason you lost the lid, you can use a ziplock bag and a rubber band (but don’t be surprised if you have some leaks). 

Step 5: Shake Vigorously Until the Peanut Butter Is Dissolved

This step will be the longest part of the process. You need to shake the jar intensely until all of the peanut butter is dissolved. Heat and agitation are the keys to a clean peanut butter jar! Chances are your jar is clear, so keep shaking until there are not more pieces or globs stuck to the side of the jar. 

Step 6: Empty the Jar

Open up the jar and pour the contents down the drain. You should have successfully removed all the peanut butter from the jar at this point. If any pieces remain, you did not shake enough or your water got too cold. Run hot water over any remaining pieces if there are any. 

Step 7: Wipe the Jar Down

Just a normal soapy sponge will do here. You should not be physically removing any peanut butter at this point. All the peanut butter should have been dissolved into the hot soapy water. This final wipe down is just to make sure there is no greasy residue on the inside of the jar. 

Step 8: Rinse with Hot Water

Again, it is critical to use as hot of water as you can stand touching. Soap can leave a film when rinsed with cold water. Depending on what you want to put in the jar after it is cleaned, this could be a problem. 

Man trying to clean a peanut butter jar

Additional Tips for Cleaning out Peanut Butter from Jars

Liquifying the fat in peanut butter is the key to cleaning it easily. Peanuts are not water or fat soluble – they are just tiny pieces suspended in a medium. When you liquify the fat, the peanut components of peanut butter can now be suspended in the soapy water rather than the semi solid fat medium. 

I’ve seen quite a few articles touting eggshells as a way to clean peanut butter jars. I don’t think this is very practical or helpful as you aren’t going to keep eggshells around the house or magically make scrambled eggs every time you need to clear a jar. But, it is a potential way to clean these jars if you’re looking for an alternative idea.

What Do I Do if I Get Peanut Butter in My Sponge? 

If you get peanut butter in your sponge, I’d suggest throwing it out. Even after cleaning the sponge, you will never really know if there is still some peanut butter inside of it. Plus, sponges are teeming with bacteria, so if you think it’s dirty, it probably is. The best way to avoid this problem is to follow our hot water and soap method for cleaning your peanut butter jars. 

Conclusion

Save your sponges and save water. Cleaning peanut butter off a jar is all about technique, so with just a little know-how and the right application of heat you will be cleaning jars out quickly and easily.

Nathaniel Lee is an avid cook, drawing on his decades of home cooking and fine dining experience. With inspirations like Alton Brown and Gordon Ramsey, Nathaniel focuses on simple processes to make amazing food.