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Bakers, how do you clean up flour mess?

The only thing I don't like about baking bread or pie crust is all the flour. Even using a silpat like rolling sheet I still end up with flour on the counter. I was watching the American Baking Competition this summer and they showed a clip of one baker, Brian I think, at home cooking and he whipped out either the hose of his home vacuum or the shop vac and was vacuuming up all the stray flour off the counter. I was dumbfounded. What a genius idea. Has anyone else tried this?

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  1. A board scraper followed by a wet dishrag work just fine. Getting out the vacumn would be too much trouble for me.

    8 Replies
    1. re: Liz K

      I make the bread near the sink so I can scrape the extra flour into my undermount sink and then wipe counter with a damp paper towel.

      1. re: escondido123

        I too scrape off with a board scraper. i do it over the DW into my hand. Any that falls goes in there. Can't do too much or it may gum up the works.

        Wipe with a dish rag.

        I dare suggest I can do that faster than you can get out the vacuum.


        1. re: Davwud

          I've got a funny image in my head that won't go away -

          I thought "DW" was shorthand for "dear wife"


          Guess not.

          1. re: G8trDoc

            That's hysterical! My DH (dear husband) used to think that LOL meant lots of love--his friends didn't quite get it!

      2. re: Liz K

        Also the tips of all the vacuum attachments have been under furniture and places in the garage that I don't want to have contact with the area that I prepare food.

        1. re: Michelly

          Good point! Eeuuwww.... If you have to wash the counters after you vacuum, all you've done is add a step. I'm stickin' with my scraper and microfiber cloth.

          1. re: Michelly

            You can have multiple vacs (as we do) or even just multiple tools in your household to prevent this. I had a thought that one could use colored electrical tape to dedicate different tools to different areas of the home.

            1. re: Michelly

              A small little vacuum reserved for the kitchen would be a good idea.

          2. I use an offset spatula to scrape the flour off the counter, then use a wet paper towel to wipe up what's left, then a dish rag.
            Vacuum would be a bother.

            1. I also use a bench scraper to get the loose stuff, then a quick wipe down with a damp cloth. It usually takes all of 2 minutes.

              1. I do a fair amount of fresh bread each week.

                A large clean, wet sponge is all I have ever used.

                1. Sweep it off of the counter (using your hand, bench scraper, whatever isn't wet) directly into the trash can. That being said, I often vacuum my counter, oven and drawers but only when I'm all ready vacuuming the kitchen floor.

                  1. I don't bake, but I fry chicken sometimes. I always use the vacuum.

                    1. Plastic pan scraper that I got as a freebie (or a plastic spatula) to get the worst of it; then a damp sponge or paper towel to get the last bits.

                      1. I use my vacuum cleaner.

                        1. I find myself more and more using my hand-vac for crumbs, flour etc. follow up with damp towel. Dough cutter/scraper is still indispensible.

                          1. Like others, a bench scraper and dish towel. I usually take some bench flour and use that to scrub off my rolling pins, but if they're too yucky I use hot water and a green scrubby, then air dry. I have a plastic Tupperware thing I've had for nearly 45 years with marks for pie crust sizes, I wash that with hot soapy water and air dry, then it gets rolled up around the rolling pin.

                            As far as the actual work surface, it's so easy to just wipe it off. Maybe I don't throw flour around as one might in a competition???

                            1. pie crust or cut dough i roll the leavings and use them like a lint brush to pick up quite a bit of the mess...then a sponge.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: girloftheworld

                                Oh, whattawaste, girl! ;) You should be rolling those extra bits into "tootsie rolls"...and I don't know why we called them that, ever, but cinnamon and sugar sprinkled over the remaining dough (rolled out) then rolled up like a snail, then cut in pieces. Mmmm.

                                Meantime, back to the OP, what everyone else said--clean with a dishrag and use your vac for the floor.

                              2. I have several old cotton table clothes that I use strictly for baking/food prep. I lay one out on the counter, folding it so it is long & narrow. Then I do my baking/cooking thing. When I am done, I gather the table cloth up, take it out side for a vigorous shake, then put it in the washer. When table clothes were on sale at Kohl's, I bought a red checkered one for my daughter to use when she is cooking with her kids. It makes clean up so much easier!

                                1. I generally use the wet towel method on the counters but I ~love~ to vacuum the flour off of the floor AND out of the oven. We make a lot of pizza and flour and/or cornmeal tends to land on the oven door or the floor of the oven.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: pedalfaster

                                    I think if I did more production baking I'd do this. For my family, it's mostly one-offs or holiday baking. I tend to clean as I go. Also, pastry flour is finer and probably tends to land everywhere, so it might make sense if you're doing lots of cakes at one time. First time I've heard of vacuuming out the oven, not a bad idea if strewn with cornmeal. However, it does creep me out to use the same equipment in the oven as I use for pet hair--eeuuwww.

                                    1. re: blaireso

                                      If you designate a small shop vac or a small hand vacuum just for kitchen use, it is a great idea. Flour and water=glue of sorts and sticky counters.

                                  2. I recently went to a local bakery where they were doing the same thing in the back store where they prepare the food. It is a great idea.