The Tool You Should Never Use To Clean Your Air Fryer

The air fryer has revolutionized the way America cooks. Even people without a traditional oven can produce crispy French fries, crunchy chicken fingers, and juicy chicken wings, not to mention a whole roast chicken, crab cakes, and every type of vegetable on the market, per the Food Network.

The handy kitchen gadget works by circulating hot air around food that is placed on a basket or on a rack. As a result, this machine is basically a small convention oven. The air replaces the hot oil that is usually used to fry these foods, but cooking food this way can still make a mess. Let's face it, foods splatter, and the little oil that is used can coat the basket. More so, pieces of food can get stuck in the basket or flung around the inside of the fryer.

Your air fryer should be cleaned after each use, or debris may burn, or transfer odors to the food. Cleaning the air fryer is pretty easy, though there is one tool you should never use to clean your gadget. In fact, using this tool can ruin the most important part of this appliance.

Never use metal

The air fryer basket is coated with a nonstick ceramic or Teflon coating, so the food doesn't stick as it cooks, thus reducing the amount of fat you need to get that desirable brown and crispy finish. Unfortunately, that coating is not 100% indestructible. Just as you are warned to avoid using metal tools or harsh abrasives on your nonstick pans, avoid those tools when cleaning your air fryer.

If you use metal tools, which can include tongs, spatulas, cleaning brushes, pot scrubbers, and steel wool, on the coated basket, the coating will weaken and can eventually chip off. As a result, your food is going to stick, then you'll use steel wool or a pot scrubber again to get the food off, helping create a vicious spiral. All the while, the air fryer basket will not be usable.

To clean the air fryer basket, put it into hot soapy water, according to Ninja. Use a non abrasive sponge to remove the food debris and oil. You can soak the basket if necessary to loosen any stuck on food. Additionally, you should only use nonstick-safe tongs, forks, and spatulas when you are manipulating food in the basket and when you remove the food, per Consumer Reports. It's important to read the manual that came with your air fryer as sometimes the basket is dishwasher-safe.

A clean air fryer = great meals

The Pioneer Woman has more tips on cleaning this wonder appliance. Before you clean the air fryer, unplug it and let it cool completely, then when it is safe to do so, remove the basket or racks and clean them. Then you can wipe the inside of the air fryer with a damp cloth. Additionally, the outside can also be cleaned with a damp cloth. It's important that you're sure that it dries completely, inside and out, before you use it again.

Now that you have a squeaky clean air fryer, what are you going to make? You can try your hand at super crispy and juicy air fryer "fried" chicken, or try air fryer garlic shrimp – cean it well after this recipe! Air fryer fried pickles are a fun choice for an appetizer, and air fryer bacon always turns out crispy and brown. Yes, you can make meatloaf in your air fryer; serve it with air fryer Brussels sprouts or air fryer asparagus. And for dessert, make air fryer cannolis.