I remember that I had a similar experience when I first got my champion last May. I was so excited. The first thing I wanted to do (and the main reason I bought it) was to make almond butter. I thought I was doing something wrong with the mess I made of it! I have found that carrots are sort of messy in it. I usually juice them with something high-water like tomatos or cucumber. The tomato especially seems to clean out the blade area. Now that I am used to it I juice the carrots with the ginger. Yes, you must be careful when you go to clean it. I bought a brush for pots from the supermarket. I put the blade part under hot running water and brush it clean. When you are removing the blade from the main body, I sometimes hold it with a dish rag in my hand so as not to cut myself. You will get used to using it and it will get much better. That thing was one of my all-time greatest investments.