How to Clean Your Food Dehydrator
Are you interested in enjoying healthy, wholesome snacks that are made in the comfort of your own kitchen? If yes, you must have looked into buying a dehydrator. There is a wide range of dehydrators available in the market today. Each comes with its own functions and features, but there is something common in all these dehydrators.
Every dehydrator must be cleaned regularly to ensure it works the way it is supposed to. Regular cleaning also adds keeps the drying environment clean and adds to the life of the dehydrator.
Also, a clean dehydrator can make the task of dehydrating things a total joy. With regular use, you might find after a while that the dehydrator is not functioning to its optimum ability.
Ten Reasons to Clean Your Food Dehydrator
A clean dehydrator ensures that all snacks you prepare in it will be hygienic and when you store them for later use, they will last for a long time. A clean dehydrator will also work for many years and it will save you the trouble of repair or replacement of parts. Here are some more reasons why you should clean your dehydrator.
- Get Rid of the Plastic Smell
When you first get a dehydrator, it's packed in plastics and the smells can sometimes leech into the food if you start drying food without cleaning the dehydrator properly. Cleaning the dehydrator gets rid of the plastic smells and you can enjoy dehydrating food that smells natural and fresh.
- Ensure a Hygienic Drying Environment
The purpose of dehydrating all kinds of food is to get delicious snacks that are fun to eat and healthy too. An unclean dehydrator does not provide a hygienic environment for drying foods and cleaning it is a must to create healthy dehydrated snacks.
- Remove any Residual Food Particles
After a few dehydrating sessions, there might be build up of residual particles inside the dehydrator and on its trays. This can make the dehydrating environment unfit for future dehydrating sessions. Cleaning removes the residual particles and you can dehydrate foods without worrying about contamination.
- Remove Any Previous Smells
Certain dried foods, such as spices, and herbs, can have overpowering smells. This can affect the taste and smell of any future batches that need to be dehydrated. With a clean dehydrator, you can have snacks tasting and smelling as they're supposed to.
- Add to Life of Food Trays
Clean trays last longer as there is no wear and tear because of any stuck food, oils, or sugars from the food.
- Keep the Trays and Dehydrator Looking Clean
A clean dehydrator adds to the whole look of a kitchen.
- Save Money On Accessories
Cleaning the dehydrator accessories is the ideal way to save money. Unclean trays and sheets get ruined easily and don't work for a long time, either.
- Ensure Optimum Performance
Regularly cleaning the dehydrator ensures that it keeps working in an optimum condition for a long time to come.
- For Storage When Not In Use
If you need to store away your dehydrator when you're not using it, make sure you clean it properly. Whenever you decide to use it next, you can start after a basic cleaning.
- Remove Drippings at the Base
Many foods often drip while they dry and these drippings can accumulate at the base of the dehydrator. Cleaning the dehydrator ensures such drips don't interfere with proper drying of the food.
Ways to Maintain a Clean Dehydrator
Simply cleaning a dehydrator is not enough, you need to maintain a clean dehydrator through uses or storage, too. Here are some tips that can help you make an easy job of cleaning the dehydrator as and when needed.
- Slice Food as per Recipe
Every food ingredient behaves differently when dried in a dehydrator. It is important to follow the instructions given in the recipe and cut the food as mentioned for optimum drying.
- Use sheets to collect extra drippings
Believe it or not, some foods tend to drip when they're put in a dehydrator. Insert an extra sheet at the base of dehydrators that have back-mounted fan or top-mounted fan to collect the drippings. Dehydrators with bottom mounted fans will need to cleaned after every use.
- Wipe Dehydrator After Use
Once you're done using the dehydrator and it's cooled down. Wipe it down with a dry cloth to remove any excess oils, small food particles, or residue that might have built up during the drying session. This will make it easy to clean the dehydrator properly at a later stage as any food that might get stuck can get wiped down at an early stage.
- Avoid Using Oil
It's hard to clean oil from a dehydrator. Even if you see any online recipes using oil while drying food in a dehydrator, avoid using it as it can accumulate in crevices of the device and impact the drying performance. Oily trays can also contaminate the food that you dehydrate later and give it a funky taste.
- Don't Use Hot Water for Cleaning Trays
If you're dipping trays in water, make sure it's just warm and not too hot. The trays are often made of plastic or polycarbonate materials that can warp and bend if kept in hot water for too long. This will make it difficult to fit the trays properly in the dehydrator and further lead to improper drying of the food that you need to dry.
- Use Parchment Paper for Fruit Leather
Fruit leather is fun to eat and fun to make, too. Place a sheet of parchment paper in the dehydrator to ensure the fruit leather mixture doesn't drip or stick to the trays.
- Follow Manufacturer's Instructions for Use
Different dehydrators have specific features and functions that can make it easy to use them. Read through the guidelines to see how to properly operate the dehydrator and get the best performance from the device.
- Don't Overheat Ingredients
Overheating can lead to ingredients drying up completely or becoming inedible. Every food has a certain temperature range and time for which it should be dried. Most dehydrators have drying instruction booklets that have the given temperature and time for every kind of food item.
- Avoid Using Old or Cracked Trays
Old or cracked trays can't perform as well at drying as new trays. If your trays are showing signs of wear and tear, replace them with new ones.
- Use Cleaning Agents Made for Dehydrators
Regular cleaning agents don't do too well for cleaning dehydrators. Check in the market for light cleaning agents such as powders and soaps that are made specifically for dehydrators.
- Store in a Cool, Dry Place
When your dehydrator is not in use, clean it thoroughly and store it in a cool dry place. Leaving an unclean dehydrator in the open can lead to the buildup of germs and bacteria that can contaminate any future drying projects.
Supplies Needed to Clean a Food Dehydrators
Cleaning a dehydrator is a simple task, but having some supplies at hand can make it easy and efficient. These are supplies that are mostly available in all homes, but for some of them, you might need to head out to a supermarket. Here's a look at some of the supplies that can make cleaning a dehydrator an easy task.
- White Vinegar
White vinegar is the perfect cleaning agent that can make an easy job of cleaning the toughest residue on the dehydrator sheets. When you soak the trays in warm water after a cleaning session, add vinegar to the water so that it's easy to clean up the trays later. The ideal ratio should be 100ml of white vinegar to 20L of water. Wash the trays with cold water later to get rid of the smell of vinegar.
- Soap and Water
These are the essentials when you need to scrub tough buildup from the dehydrator trays. Use a light soap and warm water as extra hot water can end up damaging the trays.
A fresh toothbrush can help you reach difficult areas where you can't reach with your hands. Whether it is inside the dehydrator or in the crevices of the trays, the bristles of a toothbrush can make a world of difference in cleaning a dehydrator.
- Hard Brush
For the tough to remove buildups, you need a hard brush that can cover a large area and give you control over the area that you're cleaning. A good scrubbing brush will always do a better job than using a dishrag.
- Full Sized Sink
If the trays don't fit in the sink, it can be a troubling task to clean them properly. Even before buying a dehydrator make sure your house has sinks that can be used to dip the trays completely. Alternatively, you can use a small tub to submerge and clean the trays.
- Rubber Gloves
Dishwasher cleaning agents might not be suitable for your skin type and these can leave your hands feeling rough. Always use rubber gloves to wash trays or any other accessories when you're using powders or soaps meant for washing dehydrators.
- Cleaning Agents
Get cleaning agents that are made specifically for cleaning dehydrators. Dish washing soaps and gels can negatively impact the trays and any other accessories as these are made for different kind of utensils.
- Canned Air
Even after all the cleaning, there are certain areas where you just can't reach. In such instances, canned air is the best way to clean hard to reach areas. Simply target the area where you find it hard to clean and spray it with canned air that can dislodge the stuck particles.
Q-tips can be useful when you have to clean the small and hard to reach areas inside the dehydrator. The tray rails can accumulate residue from every dehydrating session and you can use a q-tip dipped in water to gently clean the rails so that the trays can glide in easily.
Once you're done cleaning the trays and insides of the dehydrator, wipe it all with a clean sponge that can soak up any moisture or water vapor. This can help to prevent the buildup of any bacteria or germs that thrive in moisture.
Six Tips for Cleaning Your Dehydrator
- Wipe The Trays
After every dehydrating session, give a thorough wipe to the trays and the dehydrator to clean off any food particles, oils, or sugars that might be stuck to the trays or any surface inside the dishwasher.
- Soak Trays In Warm Water
Take out the trays from the dehydrator and soak them in warm water in the kitchen sink or a tub that can submerge the trays. You can also add dehydrator cleaning products or vinegar to the water to make it easy to clean the trays.
- Scrub Residual Particles
Use a small toothbrush for cleaning hard to reach areas and remove any residual particles from the trays as well as inside the dehydrator. For cleaning the trays, you can use a hard brush to scrub out all the debris and stuck particles.
- Wipe Inside The Dehydrator
Use a damp cloth to wide inside the dehydrator so that all surfaces are free from any oils, sugars or anything else stuck to the surface.
- Clean in Dishwasher
Check with your dehydrator's instruction manual to see if the trays are safe for washing in the dehydrator. You can put the trays in the dishwasher for a single cycle and see if they are cleaned properly. If not, then you can soak the trays in warm water and clean them by hand.
- Air Dry
Drying the trays is essential to prevent any buildup of bacteria or germs. This becomes even more important if you're storing the trays while they're not in use. Always store trays and dehydrator in a cool, dry place to prevent any contamination.
Video Guide on Cleaning your Dehydrator
A clean dehydrator can go a long way in helping you make delicious snacks from all kinds of fruits, vegetables, and meats. Keeping your dehydrator clean adds to its life and also helps you to get the most out of the appliance. A clean dehydrator also looks good in the kitchen. A well-maintained dehydrator can save you from any future maintenance or repair expenses.
Remember, every dehydrator is unique in its design, construction materials, and functions, so read up on the operating manual to understand how to properly clean the specific model that you own.
Follow the simple tips in this write-up and enjoy hygienic and delicious snacks from your dehydrator every time you use it.