If you have a dehydrator, then definitely you are facing the issue that how to clean the dehydrator trays. Because cleaning of dehydrator tray is the troublesome task and time consuming too.
You might often clean the dehydrator trays, but sometimes it is very hard to remove sticky residue. The food residue can adversely affect the taste of the next food batch and also makes dehydration process lengthier.
As the food dried in a dehydrator for longer, they are much difficult to take out. So, cleaning of dehydrator tray is very tough.
For making dehydration process healthier and with the right time, you need to clean the dehydrator trays precisely. Here I will talk over that how to clean dehydrator trays which makes your dehydrator cleaning process easy and troublesome.
What is a Dehydrator Tray?
The dehydrator is a device which dehydrates the food with low temperature and fan located inside it to dry the food. It eliminates the water and moisture from food with keeping enzymes and nutrition intact.
Dehydrator tray is one of the essential parts of the dehydrator. The dehydrator trays assist in the dehydration process. It holds the foodstuff which we need to dehydrate.
The tray design is different according to the model and size of a dehydrator. Some are removable whereas some are rigid trays.
Electric dehydrator comes with circular drying rack. Some newer models come with rotating trays.
There are slots of sliding trays in a dehydrator. The dehydrator operates with circulating the warm air around the trays which made of plastic or metal.
The dehydrator tray helps to evaporate water content from food which is the primary job of the dehydrator. Usually, trays are adjustable according to the ventilation.
Some dehydrator trays allow you to monitor the dehydration process through the top tray.
Why Do You Need to Clean Dehydrator Tray?
1.Eliminate food residue
When you are using a dehydrator to dehydrate your food, most of the times the food residue got stuck on trays. It affects the taste and dehydration process adversely.
2. Remove the smell of food residue
You need to remove the smell of food residue of the previous batch which left in a dehydrator. So that it will not affect the aroma of the next food batch.
3.Ensures hygienic environment
Hygiene is the essential factor when it comes to food. The food you are going to eat should dehydrate in a hygienic environment which makes it safe to eat.
4.Enhance the lifespan of the device
Cleaning the dehydrator trays regularly helps for a smooth functioning of a dehydrator for a long time. This helps for the flawless operation which enhances the life-span of the device.
Benefits of Cleaning Dehydrator Trays
You can enhance the efficiency of your dehydrator by keeping it clean always. Following are the benefits of cleaning the dehydrator trays.
- Reduce drying time
Keeping your dehydrator clean helps to reduce the drying time of food. If there are some leftover food particles remains from the previous batch, they also heat up and delays the drying time. If the trays are clean the food dehydrates quickly.
- Keep intact taste and aroma
If there are food residues on the tray, it affects the taste and aroma of next food batch. You will lose the real taste and aroma of the food due to food residue of the previous batch.
Due to the absence of food residue after cleaning, they don’t interfere in the process of dehydrating. It helps to keep the taste and aroma of food intact.
- Breeze in cleaning
If you clean the dehydrator trays after using every time, it allows you for ease of cleaning. If you clean it after several batches, cleaning becomes dreary and time-consuming job for you. Regular cleaning needs little time and effort.
How to Clean Dehydrator Tray?
The cleaning of dehydrator tray is very tough due to dried food residue. But following easy tips will make your cleaning job super easy.
Warm water and soap solution
- Soaking the trays
If the trays become so dirty, you need to soak it in the warm water and soap solution. This will loosen the dirt from the tray. Fill the sink with warm water and soap solution. Soak the trays in the warm water overnight.
- Scrubbing with brush
Use a scrubbing brush to remove the food particles. You can also use the toothbrush to scrub the tough food residue. The toothbrush helps to clean hard to reach nooks and crannies of the tray.
Wash the trays under running water and clean out remaining food particles. Use high-pressure water to remove small dirt particles.
- Dry with sun or outside air
When the cleaning process is completed, dry the trays thoroughly in sunlight or outside air. If there is any moisture or water, it becomes a breeding ground for bacterial growth. So, it is important to dry it before keeping them in a dehydrator.
Epsom salt is actually not a salt. It is a mineral known as Magnesium Sulfate. It is nontoxic household cleaner which is safe to use. This can be used to clean a washing machine, tiles, hair and skin.
If the tough food residue cannot clean with just warm soapy water, you can use this Epsom salt to clean out. So, clean your dehydrator tray with following steps using Epsom salt.
- Fill the sink with hot water and keep the dehydrator tray in hot water. If the trays are larger in size, keep them in the bathtub filled with hot water. Make sure trays are covered with one inch or two inches in water.
- Sprinkle one small cup of Epsom salt over the water and let soak them overnight in solution.
- Take out the trays from water and simply rinse with soapy water.
- Make it dry with a cloth rag.
Check Out following video that shows how to clean dehydrator tray with Epsom salt.
Vinegar is the natural cleaning agent which is used to clean various things around your house. Dehydrator tray is not an exception. You can clean the dehydrator tray with vinegar with following steps.
- Soak the dehydrator tray in 2 liters of warm water. Add 10 ml of white vinegar in the water.
- Soak it for at least one or two hours.
- Clean the food particles using a brush.
- Rinse it well with clean water till all vinegar smell goes.
- Use a sponge to remove the moisture and make it dry.
Baking soda is an amazing cleaner to clean and freshen the things. It is a natural deodorizer which removes the stains easily. It can clean greasy dishes and pans, upholstery, mildew from a bathroom and many more.
There is no doubt you can use baking soda to clean out the dehydrator tray.
- Fill the sink or bathtub with hot water.
- Add dish soap and baking soda into the water.
- Use soft bristle brush or toothbrush to scrub the tray to remove the residue.
- Rinse and wash with clean water. Allow it to dry completely.
Borax aka Sodium Borate is used for cleaning purpose and many other different tasks. It is one of the inexpensive cleaner having amazing cleaning properties.
A little amount of borax works great to clean out the stuff. Then why don’t try for dehydrator trays?
You can use this borax to clean out the dehydrator trays to remove tough food residue.
- Fill the bathtub with hot water.
- Pour a little amount of borax in hot water. Soak it overnight.
- Scrub the residue with brush and rinse the tray with dish soap.
- Allow the tray to dry in the sun or air.
Apple cider vinegar
- Take a food-safe spray bottle and transfer the apple cider vinegar into the spray bottle.
- Spray the apple cider vinegar on dehydrator trays.
- Soak the trays for at least 15 minutes. It helps to loosen the dirt on trays.
- Clean the tray with pressure water to remove the deposits. Repeat this step till all dirt has gone.
- Wash the trays with dish soap and water thoroughly.
How to Sanitize or Disinfect Dehydrator Trays?
Bleach is good stain remover having disinfectant properties. It does an amazing job to destroy the germs. So you can use bleach to sanitize your dehydrator trays.
You can sanitize your dehydrator with bleach with the following two ways:
A. Soaking Method
- Fill the sink with hot water.
- Pour chlorine bleach into the water. Use ½ teaspoon of bleach per gallon of water.
- Soak it for 10 seconds in the solution.
- Allow it to air dry. Don’t use a towel to dry it.
B. Spray Method
- Prepare sanitizing solution with bleach. For this, mix a ½ tablespoon of bleach per quart of water.
- Take a spray bottle. Pour the solution into the spray bottle.
- Spray it on food contact surfaces on a tray.
- Allow it to air dry.
There are other cleaning products like Oxyclean, Pam, Mazola, Ajax which helps you a lot to clean out the dehydrator trays. You can clean your trays with ease using these cleaners.
Caution While Cleaning the Dehydrator Tray
- Unplug the dehydrator from outlet before cleaning. Let the device cool before taking out the trays.
- Do not clean the trays with metal objects or scouring pads as they could damage the surface of the tray.
- Use rubber gloves while cleaning the trays as cleaning agents can affect your skin.
Quick Clean-up of Dehydrator Trays
If you want to clean up the dehydrator trays quickly, you can clean it in dehydrator itself.
Wait! Wait! Don’t be surprised. Yes, you can clean the trays in a food dehydrator.
For this, Turn on the base of the food dehydrator. Allow it to heat up little.
Unplug the dehydrator. Take out the trays and wipe off sticky food residue immediately. While the residues are warm, they can be cleaned easily.
In this way, you can clean the dehydrator trays in a dehydrator itself.
Can You Put Dehydrator Trays in the Dishwasher?
Yes, you can put your dehydrator trays in the dishwasher. But before putting it in the dishwasher, you should check out in the manual whether it is dishwasher safe or not.
Some dehydrators are safe to clean in the dishwasher and some are not.
Some dehydrator trays are dishwasher safe. It is advisable to clean the dehydrator trays in the top rack of the dishwasher. Take them out before the automatic drying cycle starts.
Before placing the trays in dishwasher check the material of the dehydrator trays. If they are made of polycarbonate/ Lexan should not use dishwasher soap. Because this soap is alkaline. Polycarbonate material is not apt for this alkaline property. So, wash these trays with hot water only. Take out before drying cycle.
If the trays are dishwasher safe, they are easy to clean and saves your time considerably. But if they are not dishwasher safe, it is good to clean manually.
Tips to Clean the Dehydrator Trays
- Wipe out the trays thoroughly after each use
Take out the trays from the dehydrator. There are food elements, oil left in dehydrator after use. So, you should wipe out the trays after each use. It helps for quick clean up next time.
- Use Vacuum
You can use vacuum instead of wiping off the dehydrator tray to get rid of crumbs from it. Using vacuum is very easy compared to wiping them.
How to Prevent Food from Sticking to Dehydrator Tray?
You can apply following remedies which prevent the food from sticking to dehydrator tray.
- Turn the food
Turning the food can prevent from sticking to dehydrator tray. If you leave it for longer, the outer part of food gets dry and stick to the tray.
- Use cooking spray
You can use cooking spray to prevent sticking the food. But don’t use flavored spray. If you don’t like the spray, you can apply oil with fingers on the tray.
- Line the trays with parchment paper
If you are going to dehydrate wild game or meat, line the trays with parchment paper then place your meat or any other foodstuff that might drip. Trash the paper after use. It saves your washing time considerably.
- Use the plastic mesh screen
The plastic mesh screen specially made for dehydrator is a very useful accessory while dehydrating food. It is made with flexible plastic. It works great for sticky food. If food stick to the mesh screen, you can easily bend the screen and the sticky food automatically will come off.
- Don’t slice extremely thin
Slice the food with standard cut thickness or as recommended in the recipe. If the slices are too thin, they can easily stick to the tray.
Usually, ¼ inch or 6 mm thickness is good to dehydrate fruits or vegetables. Higher the water content in food, larger the cut thickness.
6.Lemon and water solution
If you are going to dehydrate sugar-rich food, use equal parts of lemon and water solution. It prevents the stickiness of food during the dehydration process.
Now you know how to clean dehydrator tray and why it is important. I am sure you will clean them regularly for the hygiene of your food and health purpose.
If you don’t clean your dehydrator trays, you may not end up with desired results from your dehydrator. It also adversely affects the taste and smell of food.
So, clean your dehydrator trays regularly and get healthy and nutrient-rich food from your dehydrator.