I am sure we have all been there…..one of those excited consumers that has just bought (or took delivery of) a shiny new air fryer. Our first instincts are to simply rip off the packaging and start cooking straight away. Believe it or not, there are other things you should do before you make that first air fried meal. That is what we will talk about today. The steps to take when getting a brand new air fryer in your life 🙂
Step 1: Unpack Your Air Fryer
Yes, this is a pretty obvious step so I won’t say much. It goes without saying to make sure you remove all of the packaging from your air fryer. This includes any packing from inside your air fryer. That’s right, air fryer manufacturers often like to put things such as cardboard inserts inside the cooking compartment of their air fryers to prevent damage during shipping. Make sure to check out your air fryer in full to make sure everything is removed. You don’t want that first air frying session to turn into a panicked call to your local fire department 🙂
Step 2: Clean Your Air Fryer before Use
This should be a simple step. In the past I have done all kinds of elaborate things involving things such as vinegar and baking soda, but these days I go for a simple approach. Mainly because I discovered a simple hack (that I explain in step 3) that mitigates the need for complex cleaning tactics 🙂
Traditional ‘Bucket Style’ Air Fryer
If you are using a traditional bucket style air fryer, simply submerge the air fryer basket and cooking compartment into hot soapy water and clean with a non-abrasive cloth. Never ever use any kind of abrasive pad on your air fryer, as they have a delicate non-stick coating that can be easily damaged if not treated properly.
After this make sure to fully dry all of the components of your air fryer that you just washed.
Air Fryer Oven
An air fryer oven is slightly trickier, as you cannot remove the cooking compartment. So instead you should get a bowl of hot soapy water and a cloth. Place the cloth in the water and use it to wipe down the entire inside of your air fryer. Make sure to squeeze out any excess water from your cloth first though. And take care with the air fryer’s heating element, which is often situated at the top of the unit. You can wipe it carefully but make sure cloth fibers are not left over on it or it could be a potential fire hazard. And don’t expose it to any more than a slightly damp cloth. Excess water could cause an electrical fault.
The easier part is cleaning your air fryer oven’s baking trays and metal racks. Again, use hot soapy water and make sure they are fully dry before use.
Last but not least, give the exterior of your air fryer a quick wipe with the same damp cloth from before. It has just rolled off a factory line after all!
Step 3: Remove the New Air Fryer Smell
Pretty much all air fryers are made in China and use a whole host of plastics in their production. For a number of reasons (talked about in depth in my other article on the subject) this means that most new air fryers come out of the box with a plastic like smell. If you cook straight away with this smell present, it could affect the taste of your air fried food (no-one likes plastic smelling and tasting food, right!).
Therefore, I have developed a simple method that will get rid of this new air fryer smell once and for all.
Firstly, run your air fryer empty for around 30 minutes at the highest temperature. This will help burn off any unwanted chemical or oils from your new air fryer. I recently took delivery of a new air fryer oven and they mentioned in the manual that this will burn off oils they have placed in the air fryer to prevent damage and friction during transit. So I am not just making this stuff up 🙂
I always place all of the baking trays, grill trays or air fryer basket (depending on the type of air fryer you have) in the air fryer during this time, as they also need to burn off this factory smell. If they don’t all fit, run two sessions of 20 minutes instead to get them all done.
Now for the genius part. When this 30 minute stint is done, place some citrus based rind in your air fryer. I often like eating pink grapefruit, so after I have eaten one I will keep hold of the rind and cut it up a little. Place it on a baking tray or in your air fryer basket and leave it overnight. The rind should be fresh though, it won’t work if it is dried out. To be clear, I put this in after the 30 minute ‘burn off’ stint and am not actually cooking the grapefruit rind. However, if the factory smell remains, you can actually slice some citrus fruit and cook it in the air fryer for 30 minutes too. Then it should be totally gone.
This citrus rind method has been a true godsend for me, as it always seems to get rid of any plastic factory smells without having to resort to more complex methods of cleaning. Try it out for yourself, you will be amazed 🙂
What Else to Consider with a New Air Fryer?
Read the Manual
I know it is a running joke with most people that they never read manuals, but it really is a vital step for a new air fryer owner. The manufacturers will warn you of any particular hazards or things to watch out for when using their specific model of air fryer. This is an important step to avoid any mishaps. Also, if your air fryer has an issue due to your negligent use it probably won’t be covered in the warranty. Not to worry though, as most air fryer manuals are pretty short. My last one was a mere 19 pages 🙂 If it is thick this is usually because it’s in multiple languages, so don’t be scared 🙂
Think About Placement
Make sure to place your new air fryer carefully in your kitchen. First of all, do not in any circumstances use your stove top or stove top cover to place your air fryer on. I have seen so many melted air fryers because of this, trust me!
Secondly, the air fryer usually has an air vent at the back. This is used to vent hot air that is circulating around your appliance. The air venting out of here can get pretty darn hot and could melt anything plastic too close to it (like plugs for example). So be careful to give your air fryer plenty of space around it.
Place your air fryer on a solid and heat retardant surface, to put it simply.
Watch it Like a Hawk!
The only other thing to say is watch your new air fryer like a hawk the first few times it is used. Air fryers are powerful cooking machines with strong heating elements. Those first few times are critical. You need to be watching for signs of smoke so that you can immediately step in and rectify the situation. You should always be in the same room as your air fryer but those first few times you should also be actively watching it!
Enjoy Your New Air Fryer
There you go, it wasn’t too painful, was it? You are now up to speed on how to deal with your new air fryer or air fryer oven. You are free to enjoy it without fear or plastic smells or fire hazards (fingers crossed!).I have good success with this process on all kinds of air fryers, from cheap Chinese generic branded units to my more premium Philips model. Hopefully, you have the same!