The Type Of Liner That Will Ruin Your Air Fryer

Air fryers are certainly efficient, most of them can even cut hour-long cooking jobs in half. But while they may save time in some ways, one drawback of these appliances is that they are not the easiest to clean. Large air fryer baskets can take up the entire bottom rack of your dishwasher (if they fit at all) and many other models are not even dishwasher-safe in the first place due to their nonstick makeup. 

Because of the headache that comes with cleaning this popular kitchen gadget, it's best to take precautions so you don't have to break out the soap and sponge as often. One of the best methods for keeping an air fryer clean is to use a liner every time you cook. There are a ton of liner options out there, with some specifically made for air fryers, and some DIY. Still, there's one type of liner you should never use because it might ruin your air fryer, and that is wax paper. 

These fragile paper sheets are very heat-sensitive and do not work well in high-heat environments like ovens or air fryers. Accidentally using a sheet of this in an air fryer will cause the wax to melt, which could lead to smoke, a small fire, and a sticky machine. So, instead of using it in the air fryer, save wax paper for other kitchen endeavors, such as heatless baking tasks like rolling or kneading dough.

What liners you should be using instead

While wax paper is not an acceptable option for your air fryer, there are plenty of other choices that will get the job done. For starters, try aluminum foil. This reliable liner works in a pinch, just be sure to mold the foil securely to the food in your basket so it doesn't fully block the bottom of the fryer. The tiny holes at the bottom of an air fryer's basket allow air to circulate through the machine without all the food's oils falling through, so they mustn't be completely covered. Trim your foil as needed to prevent any blockages. 

Another similar option to foil is parchment paper (which, no, is not the same as wax paper). Often used to keep food from sticking to baking sheets in the oven, this liner serves the same purpose in your air fryer too. Just make sure to check the temperature restriction on the paper's box before cooking to ensure it can handle the heat.

For truly loyal air fryer users, consider investing in special air fryer liners. These liners are made especially for the device, so they offer the best fit and easiest cleanup. There are so many variations out there, so find one that fits the unique shape of your fryer. These come in plenty of different types of materials as well, from reusable silicone mats to disposable paper squares.

Other ways to keep this kitchen favorite clean

Even with the help of a liner, you'll need to give your air fryer a deep clean eventually. Though these machines are big and might be an awkward fit in your sink, they don't require much more than soap and a little bit of elbow grease to come back to their shiny, spotless state. 

To clean your air fryer, simply wait for it to cool down after cooking, then submerge it in warm, soapy water in your sink. Scrub it down with a sponge until it's clean, making sure to get into all those nooks and crannies where excess grease may be hiding, then rinse and lay it out on a drying rack. Make sure to use a soft sponge or cloth to avoid damaging the stainless steel surface of your air fryer's basket, and never use a metal tool like steel wool.

How often you should clean your air fryer depends on factors like how often you use it and your liner of choice, but ideally, it would be best to clean your air fryer after every use. This prevents any burning crumbs or grime from clinging on. Realistically though, just make sure to do it every once in a while. As long as you're using the right liner and paying attention to your food, your air fryer basket should remain in pretty good shape.