Immersion blenders, or stick mixers, come in several different sizes and types. Keep in mind the longer the shaft, the more stress will be put on the components. That means sizing represents a key consideration with this equipment.
These are probably one of the most used tools in a kitchen and, in turn, can be the most abused pieces of equipment. Following simple steps will help keep immersion blenders operational for a long time. Here, John Schwindt, vice president of operations/general manager for Hawkins Commercial Appliance Service Co., based in Englewood, Colo., provides details on maximizing the service life of immersion blenders.
- Remove and clean the end cutter daily. Don’t just rinse it under warm water. Running these in warm soapy water, for a minute or two, does wonders before removing and physically cleaning the cutter.
- Failing to properly clean the unit can result in contamination issues when working with more dense mixtures, such as pinto beans.
- When cleaning the end cutter, check for sideways play, as there should be no play at all. This is a sign of wear, which in turn will make the blender impossible to clean properly. As a result, this will cause excessive wear on all the other mixer components.
- It’s best to also check the drive shaft to see if it moves sideways. Again, if it moves this way it is a sign that the bearing and seal are worn out. If this is the case, food debris can break through the seal and migrate into the bearing housing, causing damage to the drive shaft. These food remnants also can contaminate the product being mixed.
- When using the blender, limit the run time in the product, especially hot product. The unit shouldn’t be locked on or left running for long periods of time. Instead, it should be held and operated only until the product is properly blended and then turned off. I have seen units put in a container of product, locked on and run for 20-plus minutes when 2 minutes would have been plenty of time. This will ruin the seals and cause premature failure of the unit and expensive repairs, especially with hot acidic product like tomato sauce.
- Keep the blender’s bell cutter away from the container sides, otherwise the blades can get caught and jammed. This will cause the drive shafts to strip out or break and lead to premature motor failures.
- For maximum safety, operators should make sure all of the attachments are in proper working order. Also, blades should not be exposed from the sides.