Some air fryers look almost like mini ovens, such as the Instant Vortex Plus Air Fryer Oven. So, it might have crossed your mind to ask yourself: can you use oven cleaner on an air fryer?
The short answer to this question is no, you can’t. Even on larger models which may require more elbow grease to clean fully, oven cleaner should never be used on your air fryer under any circumstances.
Carry on reading to learn exactly why this is a bad idea, and how best to clean your air fryer.
Can You Use Oven Cleaner on an Air Fryer?
Even if your air fryer is a complete mess, you should never use an oven cleaner (like easy-off) to clean it. Not only is it incredibly harsh on your air fryer’s interior, potentially stripping away any of its protective and non-stick coatings, but it will create harmful fumes which will hang around and circulate whenever you use your air fryer in the future.
What is so harmful about oven cleaners?
The way in which oven cleaners work is by gradually breaking down food and grease residue in an oven in order to allow for it to be wiped away easily without much heavy scrubbing. Oven cleaners (like PAM) are able to achieve this effect as they are incredibly strong alkaline solutions, usually containing ingredients such as ethylene glycol, ethers, methylene chloride, lye (sodium and potassium hydroxide), petroleum distillates and pine oil.
Just like how acid can melt things away, alkalines do the same despite being on the opposite end of the pH scale. This makes them incredibly caustic, especially as some oven cleaners measure 14 on the pH scale, which is as far up as you can go!
The effects of oven cleaners
If an oven cleaner makes contact with someone’s eyes, mouth, or skin, it can easily burn or damage the tissue making it exceedingly dangerous. Even if it is not able to burn the skin and it is wiped or washed away quickly, it can still cause irritation.
However, the main danger when it comes to using an oven cleaner on an air fryer is the fumes. In order to work and cook our food, air fryers circulate hot air around the compartment, helping to evenly distribute any oil used to minimize our need for it during cooking.
Now, if you imagine using oven cleaner on your air fryer and then turning it on, even if you have wiped it away, where do you think all of the fumes are going to go? They will not only vent out into your kitchen but also particles of the product will end up on any food you cook afterward.
At the very least you are risking bad-tasting food, but the fumes pose the risk of irritating or burning your airways and ingesting the cooked food will lead to these harsh chemicals entering your digestive system.
What to Use Instead of Oven Cleaners on Your Air Fryer
So, we’ve learned that oven cleaner is a dangerous choice when it comes to cleaning air fryers, but, what should be used instead?
There are lots of incredibly inexpensive products and household items out there that are perfect for cleaning your air fryer safely. These include soft sponges, cloths, and old toothbrushes, dish soap, baking soda, white vinegar or lemon juice, and just good old hot water.
However, the best source of information when it comes to how best to clean your air fryer is the manufacturer’s manual that came with the original product. This is why it is always a good idea to keep this information safe for easy reference when you need it.
Fryer Consumer has got your back when it comes to cleaning some models of air fryer, including the Ninja Foodi 6-in-1, Power XL Air Fryer, and the Instant Vortex Air Fryer, but if yours is not covered and you have lost the paper copy, you can usually find it online on the manufacturer’s website or at a manual repository.
How to Clean Your Air Fryer
The ideal approach when it comes to cleaning your air fryer is to do so after every use. Any shelves and attachments can be cleaned with dish soap and hot water in the sink, and the inside of the air fryer can be wiped down with a warm, damp cloth.
Always make sure that the air fryer is cool before you wipe it down. If you start cleaning it right away you could end up giving yourself a nasty burn!
There may be times when your air fryer needs more than just a quick once over with a cloth, such as when you might want to give the entire machine a deep clean, or you have cooked food that has a lingering smell that won’t seem to go.
It may be that you need to do a deep clean of the heating element to improve the performance of your air fryer, for which simple soap and a good small brush will be your tools of choice.
Small brushes are also great when it comes to a general deep clean of your air fryer. Getting into all of the nooks and crannies, they can help you to remove or break down dirt and grime that might have lingered for a long time and could be contributing to a bad odor in your air fryer.
Making a paste with water and baking soda and gently brushing this into any affected areas is a great way to break down grime.
Deodorizing an air fryer
Speaking of removing bad smells, there are also a whole host of household materials that can help you to naturally get rid of them from your air fryer.
These including placing a cut lemon in a bowl of water in your air fryer, or using orange peel to strip away any oils and leave your air fryer smelling fresh.
So, in summary, can you use oven cleaner on an air fryer? Absolutely not!
If not for the fact that it is harmful to you and your air fryer, there are so many other things you can use to clean your air fryer that are much more natural, and won’t break the bank!