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Air Fryer Users Warned Over How Often They Should Be Cleaned

Air fryer owners are being warned about how often they clean their appliances.
Credit: Alamy

Air fryer owners will know just how important it is to take care of and maintain the appliance, however, there is a debate about how often they should be cleaned. 

The popular kitchen device uses hot air to cook food by circulating it around at high speed, serving as a healthier option to traditional deep frying.

It has become a mainstay in modern homes as you can cook crispy meals without the need for excessive oil – meaning you can cook your favourite dishes without the hassle.

The appliance has become a viral sensation too, as you just have to open TikTok to see countless air fryer recipes.

While you may be inspired by what you see, it is vital to take care of your appliance and you need to make sure you are cleaning it correctly.

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We’re all guilty of putting off washing the dishes after cooking a meal, while you will eventually get around to it, there isn’t massive harm in not washing the dishes immediately.

If you own an air fryer, you have probably done the same thing and left it to sit dirty for a couple of days.

However, according to BBC Good Food, this is a kitchen appliance that needs to be cleaned after every use.

The outlet writes: “We recommend cleaning the basket of your air fryer after every use so that dirt and grime doesn’t become baked on.

“Small crumbs can also burn if not cleaned out, which may taint the flavour of whatever you’re air-frying.”

Air Fryer
Cleaning your air fryer after every meal should be seen as a top priority. Credit: Alamy

On top of that, the lack of cleaning will likely increase the chance of cross-contamination – leading to foodborne illnesses such as food poisoning.

Food poisoning is caused by eating something that has been contaminated with germs, according to the NHS.

Symptoms of food poisoning include stomach cramps, feeling sick, diarrhoea, being sick, aches and chills or a high temperature.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 48 million people in the US get food poisoning each year – with 128,000 being hospitalised and 3,000 sadly dying.

So for example, imagine that you have cooked a salmonella-infected piece of meat in your air fryer – but it’s slightly undercooked and unsafe to eat.

The air fryer wouldn’t have killed all of the bacteria, and if you haven’t cleaned the appliance properly, the salmonella could still infect another food item, or yourself, when you next use it.

According to USDA, salmonella usually remains infectious for up to 32 hours on a dry surface.

E. coli can survive for up to three to five days after drinking or eating foods contaminated with the bacteria, as per the Cleveland Clinic.

air fryer
You have to make sure you clean an air fryer immediately as you could suffer food poisoning. Credit: Alamy

To avoid suffering from food poisoning, BBC Good Food suggests using washing-up liquid, baking soda, an all-purpose cleaner, an old toothbrush, a soft sponge or a cloth.

After unplugging the device and taking out all the removable parts, clean each part individually (and thoroughly) with washing-up liquid and the soft side of the sponge.

“If there are any burned-on bits of food that can’t be removed by the sponge alone, make up a paste of baking soda and water and place it onto the stubborn parts,” BBC Good Food explains.

“Leave this to work for 20 minutes, or, if you’re short on time, gently buff this solution with an old toothbrush.”

Once you’ve rinsed each component, leave it dry for around 20 minutes.

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As the main unit of an air fryer can’t be submerged in water, this will have to be cleaned by hand.

While they don’t completely rule it out, the site also advises not to wash the air fryer in a dishwasher due to the combination of the high temperature of the appliance and the dishwasher tablet chemicals as this will likely ‘strip the non-stick coating’.

However, if you do want to wash it in the dishwasher, BBC Good Food recommends that you check the manual first to find out which components of the air fryer can be washed.

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Written by Rosario Monachino

Rosario is a former content editor at IGV who specialised in film, TV and entertainment news. He has a degree in English and Film from the University of Salford and a masters in Journalism from Liverpool John Moores University.