The air fryer is slowly becoming irreplaceable in my life. It has given me the confidence to cook crispy food in minutes.
Looking closely, I noticed that while the inner parts are metal, it is coated on top with a non-stick layer. I wonder if the coating will last or peel off with time.
I just want my air fryer to last forever. But I also want to know that since it contains metals, will it rust? How do I keep my air fryer from rusting?
Can Air Fryers Rust?
Yes, air fryers can rust. Anything made of metal can rust if not maintained properly.
Rusting occurs when metals like steel, iron, or chromium come in contact with moisture or water for a long duration.
A precipitating factor here is aggressive scrubbing leading to the peeling of the non-stick layer and exposure of metal underneath.
An air fryer can rust if you soak the basket with water for a long duration. Or you forget to dry up after washing. Or you store the basket in a damp storage area where it is exposed to moisture.
Once it begins to rust, it will spread in all likelihood and damage the taste of your food.
The cheaper the quality of the Airfryer, the more chances of rusting. The metal part of the air fryer is made up of an amalgamation of different metals.
The amount of specific metals used in the amalgamation for making air fryers decides the rust resistance.
Let us look at how to stop the air fryer from rusting. I will also tell you what to do once it rusts.
How to Keep the Air Fryers from Rusting?
Here are a couple of preventative steps that will screen-guard your Air fryer and keep it from rusting
Buy a Good Quality Air Fryer
The first step is to make a wise purchase.
As I mentioned earlier, a branded air fryer will have minimum chances of rusting compared to cheap Chinese air fryers. Do not compromise on quality for making your food.
Cheap air fryers may not have undergone rigorous quality checks.
To cut down costs, the manufacturers may use cheap quality materials. All of the above is a bomb waiting to diffuse.
Clean Your Air Fryer Gently
An Air fryer is to be treated gently. You must never scrub hard or use hard abrasives while cleaning your air fryer.
Doing so will damage the non-stick coating on top, exposing the metal underneath. As an amalgamation of alloys is used, you may end up exposing certain rust-prone metals.
If your Air Fryer is not dirty after cooking, just wipe it with a damp cloth.
If it becomes dirty after cooking, give it a good soak in a hot soapy solution for a while. Scrub gently with a mild sponge and rinse.
Use the dishwasher when you don’t have time or when the Airfryer is dirty.
Too much exposure to the high temperatures of the dishwasher can affect the non-stick coating.
Also read: Do I Need to Wash Air Fryer After Every Use?
Dry the Air Fryer
After rinsing, let the basket and the pan dry up completely.
You can keep it on the countertop or near a window. The sun and air will help in quick drying.
In winter, the trick is to place the pan and basket in the air fryer and preheat for five minutes. Remove, dismantle and let it air out.
Once completely dried, store it in a dry place. You could also place it back into the Airfryer.
Add a Protective Layer
Pre-season your Airfryer before cooking. To do this, run your Air fryer at its default temperature ( mine is 350° F/ 180° C) for five minutes on an empty cycle. Remove the basket and apply an oil coating on it.
Choose an oil with a high smoking point so it doesn’t burn under high temperatures. Place the basket back and heat for another two minutes.
Another option is to use perforated parchment paper for cooking.
All the leftover residue will be collected on the paper and all you need to do is just wipe the basket with a damp cloth.
What to Do If the Air Fryer is Rusting?
The first thing is to see the area of rust. Rust always starts small and eventually spreads.
If the rusted part is not in direct contact with the food, you can continue using the Airfryer.
If it is in direct contact, this is a serious issue that needs immediate attention. Rust tastes like blood and is not good for health if consumed.
Although small ingestion may not be significant, consuming it repeatedly is dangerous.
Rust is a breeding ground for the bacteria clostridium tetani. Consuming this causes tetanus infection. Tetanus, as we know, is toxic causing muscle spasms. It can also turn life-threatening.
If the rusted area has loose flakes of non-stick coatings, the loose rusted flakes are going to fall inside your food when the high-speed fan starts to rotate. You need to sort this out.
Here are some things you can do to counter rusting:
Cover It Up
If the rusted area is near the food surface, cover it up. You can use parchment paper, or aluminum foil, or season the basket with oil.
Covering it up with another layer will protect your food from being in direct contact with rust.
Purchase parchment sheets that fit the dimensions of the basket. Opt for perforated ones, but make sure the holes do not expose the rust underneath.
You could also buy plain loose parchment sheets. Make holes and cut them to fit the basket dimensions.
Fight It Out
There are a few methods you can try to remove the rust from the air fryer physically-
You can use baking soda and see if it works. There are two ways of using baking soda
- Make a 1:1 ratio of baking soda and water. Apply the paste. Let it sit on the rusted part for some time. Scrub gently and wash as normal.
- Make a paste of baking soda and vinegar in a ratio of 2:1. Rub the paste on the rusted part. Wait for a while. Rinse.
Lemon Juice /Vinegar
I would advise this for small areas. Being acidic, both lemon and vinegar can dissolve rust.
If you plan on trying vinegar, take 1 part vinegar and 1 part water in equal quantities.
Mix and apply it on the area using a cloth or a brush. After some time, scrub with a cloth or a brush. Rinse with water.
For the lemon method, take one lemon and squeeze out the juice. Now add two spoons of salt to make a paste.
Apply the paste using a cloth or a brush. Leave it for a while. Scrub gently and rinse.
Take the Help of the Brand
If you own a branded air fryer, contact the manufacturer.
There is a lot of competition in the market regarding air fryers. If you contact the brand, they will try their best to solve your issue.
Even better if your Airfryer is under warranty so you don’t have to pay for repair service.
If they can’t fix it, they will sell/send you a new basket, and your problem will be solved.
Replace the Basket
If nothing works just replace your basket with a new one. There are many options to buy online. You could search on Amazon or your brand website.
Just in case you don’t find one or it’s expensive, consider replacing the air fryer with a new one.
If your Airfryer is old or the rusting is too much to handle, compare the cost of replacing the basket with a completely new Airfryer.
What Not to Do to Remove Rust
I have told you about different methods you could try out to remove rust.
Let me warn you about what you must never do
- Don’t try to scrape it out with a metal spoon. Metal will further damage the non-stick coating on the basket.
- Never use commercial oven cleaners in your Airfryer. Oven cleaners contain harsh chemicals that might damage the coating of the air fryer
- Don’t use a magic eraser on the rust. It will damage the non-stick coating of your Airfryer.
Air Fryers That Have Minimum Chances of Rusting
If you just don’t want an air fryer that can rust, you can purchase one that has no chance of rusting.
Here are some examples I found worthy of sharing-
I have owned one for three years and there is no rusting whatsoever. I have also read customer reviews on Amazon and none complain about rusting.
Cuisinart is a well-known brand. The air fryer is made of excellent quality stainless steel. Among all the reviews on Amazon, there was no mention of rust whatsoever.
A Californian brand, this Airfryer oven is completely rust-proof. All the construction inside is from good quality stainless steel. There is no mention of rust in reviews.
Although made in china, the Ninja is a well-known brand that works hard to bring quality to your kitchen.
As the air fryer basket is made of good quality stainless steel, there are minimum chances of rusting. There was no mention of rusting in the Amazon reviews either ( i checked twice).
As you are now aware, it is quite easy to protect your air fryer from rusting.
Buy a branded Air fryer and do not use hard abrasives to clean it up. Wash gently and make sure to keep it dry.
Add a Protective layer like parchment sheets or oil seasoning.
In case you are already facing a rust attack, don’t worry. I have got you covered by mentioning the solutions above.
The first step is to recognize what you want to do. Start with covering it up, try to remove it physically by the methods mentioned above, take the help of the brand, or buy a new branded Airfryer.
If rusting terrorizes you, I have mentioned a few options you can choose among air fryers that won’t rust.
End of the day, take care of your appliance well and it will take care of you. I wish you happy rust-free air frying days ahead. Cheers!
Other articles you may also like: