Microplanes are great tools to have around the kitchen because they really simplify a number of different tasks. They are ideal for zesting citrus fruits, make it easy to grate whole spices like nutmeg and cinnamon, and are great for doing a quick shred of hard cheeses, like parmesan. If you really want to get your money’s worth out, you can even use them to mince garlic by rubbing a clove over the fine, sharp grates. Microplanes are touted as being easy to clean, and while they’re not difficult, it can take a little experimentation to figure out the best way to get all the food out of those tiny little holes.
Most microplanes are dishwasher safe, but loading them into the dishwasher isn’t enough to get those bits of zest off; you end up with stuck-on zest more often than a clean microplane after putting a dirty one in the dishwasher. I find that the best way to clean it is to take a soapy sponge or kitchen brush (one of the bristly scrubbers) and run it down the front of the microplane in the same direction as the blades go, loosening food without shredding your brush or sponge. Then, flip the microplane over and do the same thing on the backside, hopefully removing most of the bits you already loosened. I find that a couple of wipes and my microplane is very clean. I will put mine in the dishwasher at this point if I’ve used it for garlic or something smelly and feel like it needs a second cleaning so as not to contaminate my next batch of lemon zest with garlic.