Most of the things we buy will last a lot longer with proper care and maintenance and your food dehydrator is no different. Cleaning your dehydrator and keeping it properly maintained will increase the odds that it will last for a long time and work the way it is supposed to. If you neglect your machine it will break down and stop working so how should you go about cleaning your food dehydrator?
Keeping your food dehydrator clean is actually quite easy. With most dehydrators, many of the parts are dishwasher safe, so once you are done making a batch up your favorite snacks you can just disassemble the parts and put them in the dishwasher. One problem though is that sometimes food will get stuck on the trays and simply running them through the dishwasher is not enough to get some of these dried on foods to come off.
When you dehydrate food you are removing the moisture and during this process the natural sugars from the foods will condense and become very sticky. Food items can adhere onto the trays of your dehydrator like glue. Dehydrator trays are often fragile so you can’t use harsh abrasives or vigorous scrubbing to get these dried on food bits to come off. What you want to do in that situation is let the trays soak in a sink full of hot soapy water. Letting the trays soak will rehydrate the dried on food particles and dissolve the sugars, breaking the bond they have formed with the tray. After you have soaked the food trays for a couple of hours some light, gentle scrubbing should get dried on food pieces to come off. Then the trays can be placed in the dishwasher or washed and rinsed off by hand.
You might be able to prevent food from sticking to the trays in the first place. Some food dehydrators come with food trays that have a Teflon coating that will not allow food to adhere to it. Food trays with a Teflon coating can usually be wiped off very easily and there is no need soak the trays for long periods of time. Some people are afraid to use anything with a Teflon coating because they have heard that Teflon can be toxic. It’s true that Teflon coated cookware has been shown to release perfluorooctanoic acid which is suspected to be a carcinogen as well as other various chemicals but these substances are not released unless the Teflon is heated to 360°C. That temperature is far beyond what you would subject any cookware to, especially a food dehydrator that never goes much beyond 150°F