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Is It Safe To Use Soap To Clean An Air Fryer?

hand holding dish soap
hand holding dish soap - Robin Gentry/Getty Images

We can all agree that keeping your air fryer clean is the best way to ensure its performance long term, but the exact method of cleaning this beloved countertop appliance is up for debate. Some air fryer aficionados claim mild dish soap and water is the way to go while some others prefer not to use soap, citing concern over leftover residue leaching into the food on the next use.

As it turns out, whether you use soap sort of depends on what part of the air fryer you are looking to clean. It's generally agreed upon that the best and most efficient way to clean the removable frying basket is to let it cool completely before soaking it in warm soapy water for up to an hour. Then, use a soft non-scratch sponge to scrub away any caked-on food particles or stuck-on grease. You'll want to avoid anything abrasive so you don't nick the non-stick coating. Some air fryer parts are dishwasher-safe but it's best to hand wash because the high heat could potentially compromise the coating.

Where you may want to avoid soap is when cleaning the inside of the air fryer itself, where the heating element and coils are. This area is prime real estate for food splatter stains and oil or grease build-up. Wipe down with a damp paper towel or scrub gently with a damp, soft sponge.

Read more: 11 Tips For Keeping Your Grill Shiny And Clean

The Truth Behind That Viral Air Fryer Cleaning TikTok Trend

water running in air fryer
water running in air fryer - SalmySaznira/Shutterstock

A purported air fryer cleaning hack that made the viral rounds on TikTok actually encourages users to "air fry" soap and water as a way to clean the frying basket.

The feedback on whether this hack works is somewhat split. Some users who have tried it acknowledge that it does seem to wash away some of the grime inside the air fryer drawer. "Worked like a dream! Not that much water needed," one TikTok user commented.

However, it doesn't rid the appliance of the really stuck-on residue. If nothing else, "air frying" soap and water for a few minutes is a super easy way to begin the cleaning process because it seems to loosen some of the tougher caked-on gunk. But you will likely still need to apply some elbow grease with a sponge afterward to get a totally clean machine.

How To Avoid Air Fryer Mess In The First Place

loaf of bread and slices
loaf of bread and slices - Em/Getty Images

Of course it's always best to avoid the mess in the first place. There are a few tips and tricks that will either help extend the time between full air fryer cleanings or help you avoid it altogether. Consider using air fryer liners or parchment paper to line the basket or tray before cooking. These liners not only prevent food from sticking to the surface but also catch any drips or crumbs, reducing the need for scrubbing later on.

If you're dealing with excess grease or oil, another handy trick is to place a piece of stale bread in the bottom of the air fryer basket. The bread acts as a sponge, soaking up any residual grease and preventing it from splattering or accumulating in the air fryer.

Lastly, when using oils in your air fryer, opt for varieties with a higher smoke point, such as avocado oil or grapeseed oil. Oils with a higher smoke point are less likely to produce smoke or cause splattering, minimizing mess.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.