Air fryer cleaning hack you should avoid or risk ruining machine

Air Fryer cleaning hack using a dishwasher tablet

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Air fryers are not only easy to use but also easy to clean. If you use your machine regularly, it’s a good idea to clean the air fryer often to not only keep it hygienic but also to get the best results. But, in a bid to save time washing up, there’s a viral hack doing the rounds on social media suggesting the air fryer can do the cleaning for you. 

TikTok user @maverickmcbee posted an air fryer cleaning video on their account which left followers divided. “It gets the grease and stuck food off really good,” the noted. 

First they removed the basket and filled it with warm water at the sink. 

A small drop of washing-up liquid and placed the basket back into the machine. 

The video then showed them pressing the air fryer button and increasing the time to three minutes. 

After the time was up, the basket was removed and the dirty water emptied into the sink. 

@hello_happy_mom @Tanya Home Inspo | Home Hacks thanks for the tip! #airfryerhack #airfryercleaninghack #momhack #airfryer ♬ original sound – hello_happy_mom

“I decided to do mine again because mine was insanely dirty,” they told their followers and they repeated the aforementioned steps to ensure a thorough clean. 

Using new warm water, they rinsed the basket and then dried it before returning to the machine. 

The video received hundreds of comments, with many suggesting this method of cleaning an air fryer was not safe. 

Nichi commented: “Instructions say to literally not do this.” 

Megan added: “Even tho it didn’t hurt your air fryer that’s a no no. It could damage the air fryer.” 

Kay said: “Be careful. I did this before and my whole air fryer stopped working.” 

Haljenkel explained: “Did this for 30 seconds and the fumes were TERRIBLE! Had to open the windows to get the smell out.” 

Another TikTok user with the name wazuppeeps wrote: “I would think it would eventually mess up those heating coils right above that basket. Not worth the risk.” 

Morgan reiterated: “I was told it would ruin the machine over time it specifically says not to use it with water in it.” 

Emily suggested: “You’re supposed to dump the crumbs out after cooking and just wipe with a paper towel. Simple.” 

Dawn offered: “Just simply wash after each use it takes seconds.” 

Chris added: “Putting it in the machine with the water does nothing, just let it soak in the sink and tip it out, no risk to the machine.” 

How to clean an air fryer 

1. Let the air fryer cool completely – they can get very hot when cooking, so unplug it after use and wait until it’s cool before cleaning. Don’t leave it too long or you’ll end up with solidified fat which is trickier to remove. 

2. Take the air fryer apart – most come with a removable basket and tray that either slot inside or is attached to the handle. Either way, this should lift away from the basket itself. Both need to be cleaned. 

There’s also the inside of the air fryer itself, which does not have to be cleaned after every use, but it is still good to clean every once in a while. 

3. Get scrubbing – submerge the basket and tray into warm water and use a soft-bristled brush and washing up liquid to remove the grease. 

To prolong the life of the machine, don’t use harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaning methods as most air fryer baskets have a non-stick coating which makes the cooking process easier but can be scrubbed off if not cared for. 

4. Wipe with a dry cloth – ideally a microfibre to remove any remaining grease as well as leftover water. Then leave it to air dry. Don’t put it back into the machine until it’s fully dry as this could result in steam the next time it is used, which is not helpful when aiming to get food air-fried crisp. 

5. Wipe the exterior – it’s worth wiping the outside of the machine with a damp cloth too as this can get greasy from daily use. 

6. Clean the heating element occasionally – not after every use but it’s good to do every few weeks to make sure the air fryer is working properly and safely.

Flip the air fryer upside-down to access the heating element (the basket should be removed to do this). Try not to use anything that could leave fumes when cleaning this element especially, as it could prove dangerous when you have your next air-fried meal.

Use a microfiber cloth to remove any grease that’s on the heating element. If it’s proving difficult to remove you can use a very gentle scrubbing brush, or even better, an old toothbrush. 

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