The Very First Step You Should Take After Unboxing Your New Air Fryer

removing air fryer basket
removing air fryer basket - Marcio Binow Da Silva/Getty Images

Air fryers can be a wonderful addition to every home chef's arsenal. While food cooked in air fryers isn't technically fried, that's the main draw: These devices are beloved for their ability to create a delectably crispy exterior, without the need for tons of oil. If you're the proud owner of a brand-new air fryer, you'll want to jump right in, but don't cook with it just yet. A thorough cleaning job is a must-do prior to using the appliance for the first time.

One big reason is that the materials used to make air fryers can give off odors when they're first heated up. While these scents aren't likely to harm your health, they can certainly make your kitchen smell unpleasant. It's also possible that the air fryer has collected dust and other debris while being packaged. Washing the device and its accessories remedies both possible pitfalls, and allows you to fully enjoy the first meal you whip up.

The basic steps of cleaning are to locate any removable parts, then give them a good wash. After cleaning, make sure each part is fully dry before reassembling your air fryer. While this task is fairly straightforward, there are some cleaning mistakes you'll want to avoid with your new appliance.

Read more: The Best Way To Clean That Nasty Grease Off Of Your Kitchen Cabinets

Tips On Cleaning Air Fryer Parts For The First Time

wiping air fryer basket with cloth
wiping air fryer basket with cloth - SalmySaznira/Shutterstock

The design and configuration of every air fryer can vary greatly. However, virtually all brands feature removable parts such as baskets, drip trays, and grates. If you're not sure which components are removable and washable, the owner's manual will have the answers you're looking for. These manuals can also include instructions for cleaning and maintenance, and often recommend washing the accessories prior to using the appliance.

Air fryer manuals may call for a different treatment for each component. For example, baskets can often be hand-washed or placed into a dishwasher. Other accessories, such as the metal grates, should usually be hand-washed, as the dishwasher may damage their finish. With most models, harsh scrubbing pads should be avoided, as these cleaning tools can also affect finishes or cause other forms of damage.

Soap is generally safe to use in most parts of an air fryer, but you should always defer to the instructions for your specific appliance. As for other problematic cleaning methods, using the wrong types of cleaner or submerging certain parts of your air fryer in water can range from damaging to downright dangerous.

Practices To Avoid When Cleaning An Air Fryer

hand opening air fryer next to plates of food
hand opening air fryer next to plates of food - Hazal Ak/Shutterstock

When it comes to cleaning agents, bleach is definitely a no-go when washing your air fryer. While it is effective as a germ-killer, bleach is toxic to consume and rapidly degrades under heat. You don't want to risk any lingering residue transferring to your food. White vinegar is a much better option, as it's a natural disinfectant and an impressive cleanser when dealing with tough stains. It's great for cleaning your air fryer for the first time and between each use. There are also lots of other white vinegar hacks you'll wish you knew sooner to make cleaning a breeze in the kitchen.

If you're pressed for time, you might consider placing the whole air fryer into the sink so you can clean each component faster, or maybe some food got stuck to a non-removable part. However, you should absolutely never dunk your air fryer into water. This is a surefire way to damage wiring and other electrical components, which can ruin the appliance and create a significant risk of starting a fire. If you get food or grease on a non-washable part of the device, gently wipe it with a damp, soapy cloth instead.

Similarly, you should always leave the device unplugged while cleaning it, instead of merely powering it off. This reduces the risk of electric shock. Air fryers are highly reliable kitchen tools, and you'll get the absolute most out of yours when you clean and maintain it appropriately.

Read the original article on The Daily Meal.