Naturally, numerous hacks explained on social media will make things easier in the kitchen. But just because someone is doing it online doesn’t mean that it actually works. For example, a viral clip shows how to clean an air fryer in record time. Not only is this “hack” an unreliable cleaning method, it could also damage your air fryer — or worse. This is the viral TikTok advice you should avoid.

Here’s the backstory

Air fryers have exploded in popularity over the past several years as the small kitchen appliances can cook, bake or fry nearly anything with hot air. They use less oil than conventional cooking, can save you money on your utility bill and prepare more healthy options. Just like any other appliance, air fryers need to be cleaned regularly. For a quick and easy way to clean it, you could follow this TikTok video’s instructions. Or you could follow the directions in your owner’s manual, because this method is potentially dangerous. In the video, the person explains that you can easily clean your air fryer by pouring some dish soap and water into half of the basket. Then, the person sets the fryer to operate for three minutes at 200°F. Like magic, the basket is sparklingly clean when the timer ends, and they pour out the water. If you understand how air fryers work, you will immediately realize the flaw in this hack. Hot air circulates inside, and with that much water, there is a real risk of it getting into the circuitry. The fryer can also use an immense amount of power to “cook” the water, leading to the appliance overheating and bursting into flames.

What you can do about it

There are several things that you should never put inside an air fryer, and half a basket of water is definitely on the list. Our advice is only to follow the manufacturer care recommendations for air fryers or any other product. Other things that you should never attempt to air-fry are:

Cheese (as the melted dairy product will drip and stick to the basket)Raw rice (as the temperature isn’t high enough)Broccoli (as it contains less moisture and will dry out quickly)Wet batter (as it will drip in the basket and burn to the base)Seasoning (as the air can blow it off and into the components)Sugary food (as the air could blow the sticky liquid into the circuitry)

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