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TikTok Trends Debunked: Expert warns against ‘hazardous’ air fryer cleaning trend

TikTok is filled with cleaning tips, but some are more of a hindrance than helpful.

Welcome to TikTok Trends Debunked, a series where Yahoo Canada digs into the truth behind popular TikTok health, beauty and food trends.

HAND HOLDING AIR FRYER BASKET WITH TWO SLICES OF RAW SALMON READY TO COOK IN THE KITCHEN. TOP TikTok VIEW.
A popular air fryer TikTok hack has people filling their machine with soap and water. But is it safe? (Photo via Getty Images)

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Contact a qualified medical professional before engaging in any physical activity, or making any changes to your diet, medication or lifestyle.

Air fryers have been all the rage the last few years. They're versatile, easy to use and make delicious meals in a matter of minutes.

If your air fryer is in constant use, you may be wondering how to clean it. Luckily, TikTok is filled with cleaning tips and tricks that are useful and time saving.

However, some hacks are more dangerous than helpful. A popular air fryer cleaning trend involves filling up the machine's drawer with soap and water and turning it on to remove grease and grime.

As it's generally acknowledged that water and electricity don't mix, experts have warned against this trend.

But what are TikTokers saying about it on the app? What are safer ways to clean your air fryer? Read on to find out.

The claim — and how it started

  • Food, health and lifestyle TikToker @tracesoats posted a viral video demonstrating the cleaning hack.

  • In the clip, which has received over 535,000 likes, Trace fills the bottom part of his air fryer with soap and water, and turns on the machine to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for five minutes.

    • Once the five minutes is over, he dumps the water in the sink, which turned from clean soapy water to greasy gunk, revealing a sparkling result.

  • "You gotta save this [video], also you could just add tin foil to prevent the gunk," he wrote in the caption.

Context

  • TikTok cleaning hacks have been going on for years, with thousands of videos showing you various ways to clean your machine.

  • However, it's important to note that air fryers are not usually designed to hold that much water, which could wreck your machine in the process.

  • Osaid, some viral air fryer cleaning methods may not always be warranted. This is because it's recommended to clean your machine after every use.

What TikTok users are saying

On Trace's video, some TikTokers were amazed at how well the hack worked.

"Pouring out all the gunk is so satisfying every time," someone wrote.

"I've been doing this for so long and it's been great," said another.

"This is actually so clever, and it looks like it works wonders!" penned a user.

However, many people wondered if the trend was safe and advised against it.

"Most air fryers warn against cleaning it this way," cautioned a TikToker.

"Just wash it or throw it in the dishwasher. That won't ruin it," said someone else.

"Use aluminum foil and change it out every time, it's way easier," suggested another.

Air fryer machine  in home, Egg Tart ( selective focus ) TikTok
Always unplug your air fryer before and during cleaning for maximum safety. (Photo via Getty Images)

An expert weighs in

To get an expert's opinion on the trend, Yahoo Canada spoke to Sarah McAllister, Founder and CEO of GoCleanGo.

Upon first inspection, McAllister said "the hack sounds incredibly hazardous" and it's "absolutely not" safe.

"I have seen this hack on CleanTok, and my first thought was this is basically telling people to bathe with a toaster," McAllister said.

While TikTok serves up plenty of useful cleaning hacks, the cleaning expert said this is not one of them.

First and foremost, she urges people to unplug any appliance before cleaning it to prevent any injuries, issues, or possibilities of electrical damage.

"My first thought was this is basically telling people to bathe with a toaster."Sarah McAllister

To clean your air fryer in a safer way, McAllister recommends removing the basket and spraying it down with a cleaning solution or hot soapy water. Let it sit for a few minutes, then wipe, rinse and repeat if necessary — without turning the machine on.

"I like to give the inside of my air fryer a wipe down after every use with a warm soapy cloth as well to prevent buildup (It bears repeating that the unit is unplugged and cool when I do so)," McAllister said.

"Lastly, give the exterior a wipe with warm soapy water as well and then put everything back together."

Is it debunked?

After examining this trend and speaking with an expert, Yahoo Canada has debunked this trend.

While TikTok has a plethora of safe and effective cleaning hacks, this isn't one of them due to the potential damage it could cause to you or your machine.

Let us know what you think by commenting below and tweeting @YahooStyleCA! Follow us on Twitter and Instagram.