Whether you're new to a Vitamix or have owned your blender for a while, you might be wondering how to use a Vitamix so it lasts as long as possible. Indeed, by following a few simple practices, you can ensure your Vitamix blender keeps running in tip-top shape for decades.
In this post, you'll learn 7 tips for extending the life of your Vitamix.
How to Use a Vitamix
Although a Vitamix blender is a long-lasting appliance, all machines - even the best of the best - have their breaking point. However, if you take care of your Vitamix, it can last a lifetime.
A case in point - my Vitamix blender is close to 30 years old now (I inherited it from my husband’s grandma who bought it in the early 1990s). Surprise, surprise the model is no longer available, but fortunately I have never had to replace a single part in it.
So, let's discuss how to use a Vitamix and take care of it, so it lasts a really long time.
Load the Vitamix Container Correctly
Many blender users are not aware that there is a correct sequence to adding food and liquids to a blender. (I did it wrong for a really long time, to be honest).
To properly layer items in a Vitamix container, start with liquids followed by soft items, and finally hard items:
- Liquids (water, almond milk, juice, yogurt)
- Dry goods (powders, seeds, grains)
- Leafy greens
- Fruits and vegetables
- Ice and frozen ingredients
There are several reasons for layering ingredients in this order:
- The liquid at the bottom prevents air pockets from forming around the blade.
- Heavier, frozen items help weigh down the lighter items and push them into the blade, which gets the blend moving faster.
- Soft, light items are easy on the motor and perfectly fine to blend at low speed while hard, heavy items can cause the blend to stall if the speed of the blade is too low. So, ideally, soft items get pulled into the blade first - when the speed of the blade is still low - and hard items get pulled in last - when the speed of the blade is already high.
Other than efficiency of blending, this layering also ensures that the blade doesn't stutter - it can happen at low speed with heavy ingredients - and doesn't wear the drive socket.
Note: the order of ingredients for the 20-oz blending cup and the 8-oz bowl is reverse since the containers sit upside down on the Vitamix base.
One of the most important things to remember when using a blender is not to overload it. Adding too much food or liquid can add a lot of pressure on the motor and cause it to wear down more quickly.
From a practical point of view, over-filling a blender container can also lead to the ingredients spilling over the top of the container. If you've ever blended something before, you know that as the blade begins to spin and vortex forms, the content of the blender expands and arches upwards. So, always stay below the maximum capacity line on the container.
With a Vitamix, there is also such a thing as a minimum volume. While having too few ingredients in the blender doesn't necessarily cause any damage, it may not produce the best results. If the blade of the blender isn't sufficiently covered, it will just splat those ingredients to the outside of the container rather than creating a vortex and pulling the ingredients down into the blade.
Change Blending Speeds Incrementally
Vitamix blenders come with multiple speeds. With a push of a button you can easily switch from the slowest to the fastest speed. However, starting the machine on high every time can overwork the motor.
Whether you’re making smoothies, soups, dips, or ice creams, you’ll almost always want to start the blender on low and gradually ramp up to high (speed 10/high speed). This way the motor has a chance to warm up. When you're done blending, turn the blender off gradually, going all the way to the lowest speed before turning it off completely. The blade should come to a complete stop before you lift the container off the base otherwise the drive socket will quickly wear out.
Blend on High
Blending on high not only reduces blend time, but it also activates a cooling mechanism and helps to keep the motor cool.
Vitamix motor is cooled by air blown by a fan on the bottom of the drive shaft. The fan spins at the same speed as the motor. The lower the motor speed, the lower the fan speed. So, naturally, blending for too long at too low a speed will overheat the motor.
Fortunately, Vitamix blenders are equipped with a thermal override, which automatically turns the motor off before the motor burns out. If the thermal override kicks in, you cannot run the Vitamix until it cools, which can take 20–60 minutes. Occasionally overheating the motor is fine, but if it happens regularly, it puts more wear and tear on the motor. So, start on low but quickly increase the speed to high.
Use the Tamper Correctly
One of the features that separates a Vitamix blender from other blenders is a tamper.
The tamper is designed to break up air pockets that typically form during blending. This is especially useful for thick/frozen blenders, such as nut butters, dips, ice creams, or crushed ice. If the blend is stalling, insert the tamper through the lid plug and rotate it around the four corners of the container until a vortex begins to form and the blend is moving freely.
The tamper will never come into contact with the blade as long as the lid is secured properly in the locked position. However, if he lid is off, there’s nothing to stop the tamper from reaching the blade. Even if you try to be careful, due to the powerful vortex action, there is quite a bit of suction when the blender is running. As soon as the tamper touches the blending mixture, it gets pulled down into the blade. So, always use the tamper with the lid on.
Your Vitamix container may technically be dishwasher-safe (all SELF-DETECT containers are). But to extend its life, I recommend using the self-cleaning cycle or washing the blender container by hand.
First of all, if you put the container in the dishwasher, it's most likely going to sit there for a while, resulting in a stained and/or cloudy container. In order for your container to keep looking new and fresh, clean it right after you use it. I can't stress this high enough. As soon as you're done blending. empty the blender container and wash it with warm water and soap. You can also fill the container halfway with warm water and a few drops of soap and run the cleaning cycle. Towel-dry the container right after washing to avoid any mineral build up, especially if you have hard water.
Second, the dishwasher can put stress on the container, blade, and bearings. The hot temperatures and harsh detergents certainly aren't conducive to prolonging the life of your Vitamix. If you're set on using the dishwasher anyway, at least strictly adhere to the instruction about temperatures, detergents, and racks to be used.
Even if your Vitamix is a permanent fixture on your kitchen counter, you should not have it plugged in when it’s not in use. Not only is it wasting energy, but it will (over time) wear down the electrical components of the appliance. The Vitamix owners manual specifically instructs to "unplug from outlet when not in use".
Obviously, there are some kitchen appliances that would be unwise and impractical to unplug - oven, freezer, or dishwasher are a few that come to mind. But others are worth the effort to unplug.
Using a Vitamix Correctly
When you know how to use a Vitamix correctly, you can make the best of it. Just by following these few simple tips, you can make sure your machine performs the best and lasts a really long time.
If at any point you think your blender is acting up, give a call out to the customer service department. Vitamix is a family-owned business and as such the customer representatives are truly caring.