So I bought this old style hand meat mincer. It's apparently made of cast iron. But the whole thing smells. Not sure if the smell is from the metal or from some chemical. It's like the odor you normally smell in car repair garage or perhaps it smells a bit like kerosene. I don't want to use it with the odor. I washed it once but the odor doesn't go away. It's mostly coming from the metal blades. See the photo below:

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  • It's probably coming from some grease/lubricant that lodge in the small holes due to irregularities in the metal near the center, which is not miscible in water. I would try to 1) dry it then clean it with a paper towel, 2) dry it (warm it to remove all humidity) then, once its temperature cooled down, keep it into linseed oil for a few hours, then wipe it off with a paper towel.
    – Déjà vu
    Jan 27, 2020 at 8:27
  • Leave it to soak for several hours in detergent and (initially) hot water mixed rather more strongly than usually used for washing up. Scrub all the parts with a stiff brush, in the threads and crevices, and try to rotate some of its bristles in the mincer holes. Rinse well a few times. Jan 28, 2020 at 21:29
  • Thanks ... I'll do these and will let you know
    – xbmono
    Jan 28, 2020 at 21:31

3 Answers 3


My parents used to have an almost identical meat grinder that we used not all that frequently back in the 80's and 90's. It was old then. The reason I'm telling you this is because it was often very rusty and had to be scrubbed clean before use. You can see some rust still in the threads of the piece in the bottom right of your pic. This is because the chrome has very slightly chipped off.

However, the blades and the perforated plate are bare metal and will rust quickly, unless properly treated. In this case, proper treatment should have been a light coating of a vegetable oil. Unfortunately, vegetable oils can decompose after a while, so either that happened or the previous owner used an oil that wouldn't decompose, like kerosene, WD-40, or another light machine oil. This can happen if it's actually a brand new piece that's been manufactured, rather than a "new to you" purchase.

The way to fix this is to use a soap that's very good at removing grease (such as dish washing soap). Since this is cast iron, it has all kinds of nooks and crannies for the oil to hide. Be sure to use plenty of soap, warm to hot water, and let it soak for a couple minutes before you scrub it really well with a bristle brush. A scratch pad, sponge, or a wash cloth aren't going to get into everywhere as well as the bristles. The link below also suggests using white vinegar to help remove the smell. The vinegar should also help break down any oils leftover.


FYI, when I finish working on my cars engine and my hands are covered in grease and are completely black with nastiness, I use WD-40 to remove most of it. After that, I use a pumice soap and a fingernail brush to help remove the rest of the crud as well as the WD-40, and then I use another, de-greasing soap to finish removing the WD-40. I normally use Dawn dish soap in all my liquid hand washing dispensers because of this. At this point, my hands are generally as clean as they were before I started the repair.

Because of my method of cleaning my hands, I know that it should work quite well for the metal blades.


I have a lot of vintage and antique appliances. When I want to strip then free of gunk I soak them in a pail with The Works toilet bowl cleaner which contains hydrochloric acid, then rinse VERY well, then dry immediately and oil lightly. You can use vinegar but it takes longer. That product is super cheap... a buck or two per bottle. If you already have muriatic acid you could use that instead, but diluted. Note that when you use acid the metal is so stripped it oxidizes very quickly after rinsing so you have to dry each part really well.


Hand grinders should be cleaned and stored after every use.

Before you get started: After you use the grinder, run a few pieces of bread through the grinder as if it were meat to absorb fat, and dislodge loose matter in the hopper and feed tube of the grinder.

Pull it apart: Separate the handle, grinding/feed screw, cover, plate, and blade - The blade should be exceptionally sharp for the grinder to work well.

Wash it well Disassemble the grinder and wash all of the parts that came in contact with the meat carefully by hand in hot soapy water with a bottle brush. Wash inside and outside. Don't use a dishwasher which can dull the steel blades and the machined surface of the plate.

Dry it properly When the pieces are washed thoroughly, dry each of them with a clean towel. Do not Air Dry. You must dry each piece inside and outside. Anything left wet will rust. Make sure everything is "bone" dry.

Store it Finish the job by properly storing all of the grinder parts. After you have dried off all of the meat grinder parts, spray a little bit of mineral oil (or spread it manually) on the inside and the outside of every element. Then store the grinder disassembled - small parts go into a plastic bag/or jar filled with dry rice to keep the blade and plate dry to avoid rust.

Note: To inhibit rust, use Mineral Oil which is not toxic, is edible, and preferred to industrial chemicals for use around foodstuffs. It has no odour nor taste and in nutritionally inert.

Tip: Before you use your meat grinder again, disinfect it by spraying or wiping it down with equal parts of bleach and water to take extra precautions with easily contaminated food preparation equipment.

Good luck.

  • This does not mention what it is that made the smell before the first use nor how to clean it before the first use.
    – Willeke
    Mar 8, 2020 at 17:04
  • @Willeke I have no way of knowing. As it looks new, it might be a protective coating. The source of the odour notwithstanding, my answer should be okay for most stuff, if not all. My wacky "order" to clean and maintain this tool—for first use—needs work. Guilty. My intent was for the user to continue as if it were previously used—to not assume that because it was new, it was sanitary and ready to use.
    – Stan
    Mar 9, 2020 at 2:36

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