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Air Fryer Smells Like Plastic? Here’s What You Need To Know

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If your internet searches have led you to this post, then chances are that you just got yourself your first air fryer. And now you’re standing in front of your first batch of fried chickens, wondering what’s up with this plastic smell. Worry no more because we’re about to clear all your confusions on why my air fryer smells like plastic in the following post.

What Is An Air Fryer?

An air fryer is a miniature convection cooker that uses minimum to no oil for frying crispy foods. By the dint of a high-speed mechanical fan, it flows extremely hot air around the food until it’s cooked.

Due to the lack of oil, air frying is a much healthier option than conventional frying.

Health experts state that air frying cuts down more than 75% calorie compared to oil-frying. If you’ve used an air fryer before then you already know how convenient it is for quick preparations.

You can fry-up frozen foods in an air fryer without having to spend hours thawing it in the refrigerator.

How Does An Air Fryer Work?

Think of a convection cooker. Now imagine it on a smaller scale. That’s an air fryer for you. The only difference is that air fryers have a limited space and heat generation capacity. Other than that the working mechanism of an air fryer is fairly simple and similar.

An air fryer lives up to its name by simply passing extremely hot air around the food. To think in a literal sense it doesn’t really fry your food.

What it does is heat the food to an extreme extent causing the cooking reactions to start. This is also the reason due to which the foods start to turn brown.

Simply put your uncooked food on the tray and slide it in the fryer. Depending on the model of your fryer you might have the option to control temperature and duration.

The air fryer will draw in air from the top, heat it, pass it around your food to initiate the cooking and then finally exhaust the used air through the vent.

Air Fryer Smells Like Plastic

Most customers complaining about the plastic smell in their air fryer have one thing in common. It’s the fact that all of their fryers are very new if not straight out of the box.

This information helps us narrow down the reasons due to which your fryer smells the way it does.

Think of it this way. When the air fryer passes hot air across, over and under your food, the air also comes in contact with the inner walls of the fryer.

These inner walls are made of plastic, which makes it the primary source of the smell.

Here are a few reasons why this happens:

  • Most air fryers come with a protective coating over the plastic. This coating can give off a plastic smell upon heating.
  • Since manufacturers don’t get enough time to test run the fryers too many times, therefore, the plastic smell sticks to the very first batch of food that you fry in it. Sometimes the smell lasts up to the first 4-5 batches.
  • Many mechanical parts of the fryer such as the venting fan are plastic molds. During the first few usages, these parts may overheat and release the plastic fume that everyone complains about.
  • Other reasons include lack of maintenance/cleaning, improper usage, or even factory defects.

Before buying an air fryer, you should really know about the pros and cons of buying an air fryer. To learn about the disadvantages, check out our post on air fryer disadvantages and know our verdict on buying an air fryer.

How To Get Rid Of The Plastic Smell?

You simply can’t keep on using an air fryer that makes your food smell like plastics. We understand that and are most eager to help you out of this misery to ensure a pleasant experience in the kitchen.

Some users reported that their smell had disappeared after using only twice. While others reported that they couldn’t get rid of the smell even after using it for more than 20 times.

In other words, the solution to this problem will depend on your model of the air fryer and how it was manufactured.

Here are a few sure-fire methods to drive away all unwanted odors from your air fryer:

  • Take the time to clean your air fryer in the right way. Spend individual time and effort on cleaning the tray, venting fans, the bottom of the grill, etc properly. Consider a soap bath for all the components for the best output.
  • Brush a little oil on the inner walls before heating the fryer. This lubrication will help reduce the heat load on the walls, resulting in lesser fume release.
  • Make a mixture of 1 part distilled vinegar and 1 part lemon juice and place it in the fryer. Then let your fryer work on it for about 2 minutes. The mixture will suck up the unwanted smells that are trapped within.
  • When running the fryer for the very first time, don’t put any food inside. Rather let it run for 15-20 minutes without food to give the fryer a kick start. This step can be a game-changer for users with low-end air fryers.
  • Last but not the least, make sure that you have taken the protective coating off before you use it for the very first time.

What To Do If The Smell Stays?

In all honesty, air fryers can be a peculiar appliance to maintain. If you’ve tried all of the methods mentioned above and still found no luck then contact your manufacturer right away.

Ask them for a replacement or refund. A constant plastic smell that doesn’t fade away even after all this can mean potential harm to your health!

The store always warns the customer of this issue during purchase. So you can easily perceive that it’s a pretty common problem that deserves addressing. We advise you read and reread this post to make the best out of your fryer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Most of the air fryers contain BPA free plastic that is not harmful to your health. You can use the basket even in the dishwasher which will not affect the taste and quality of your food.

Many air fryers contain plastic components in the basket or other parts. Still, it doesn’t contain any BPA material or anything that is harmful to human health.

Some of the air fryers contain a Teflon coat on the basket to ensure a nonstick surface. This requires even less oil than you need.

Air fryers can provide some healthy food as it requires less oil and uses effective technology to make your food perfectly cooked. With an air fryer, you can get a less calorie, less oil food with only a little compromise in taste.

Air fryers are not dangerous at all since it does not contain any harmful components. Rather it provides healthy food for you. Although, you need to be careful as an air fryer operates at a very high temperature.

If you power through these methods properly then you’re bound to break free of the plastic smell in no time! Get rid of all the unwanted odors today & have a happy meal.

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11 Responses

  1. In my case, I turned on the air fryer with a piece of cardboard in it (that was below the basket when it was delivered). It turned to ash (so I assume caught fire) and coated the inside with blackness and, of course, a horrid smell. I wiped down the inside well and flipped it over and wiped down the coil and surrounding area as best I could, but I couldn’t reach all the areas and it still smelled. I used this vinegar/lemon technique and, when I opened the basket, it was clear that some of the blackness had dripped down off the inaccessible area by the burner down onto the basket and bowl. I am saying all this to suggest that you may want to run this trick a few times for stubborn issues. I am finding that I get some brownness, but decreasing amounts, each time I run it.

  2. Thanks, mine is horrid. Burns my eyes. So I took outside and will run for an hour; then do the wipe down and vinegar/lemon thing. Jury is out. Haven’t tried to cook in it yet – the smell is overwhelming. I do understand the plastic off gassing but wow!

  3. Wow, I was ready to purchase an air fryer. Reading all the comments about the odor it gives off. You see I suffer from migraines and this smell would bring on and attack. I’m glad I dug deeper and won’t purchase one. I wonder if the fryers declare this warning. This is a game changer. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Was excited to use my kyvol air fryer, however, I’ve tried everything to get rid of smell but can’t. It permiates my house with a horrible plastic smell. I have had it 1 month and had to throw away the food I cooked. Help!

    1. Please follow our guideline, if it doesn’t work, the problem lies in your air fryer. If possible, get rid of your air fryer and get a stainless steel air fryer.
      Thanks.

  5. Do you know which air fryer is totally stainless steel and have no plastic parts at all? Please let me know the brand or model of the air fryer if you have. I bought a Chefman AF oven style, it smells like plastic each time I use. I also bought Mealthy crisp lid (because I have an instant pot), it smells also, even on the food.

    1. The ultimate way to eradicate the plastic smell is using a toaster style air fryer, which is fully made of stainless steel. There are plenty of them available in the market. But if you seek our opinion, we would recommend the Geek Chef Air Fryer Toaster Oven which is 24 Qt in size. It doesn’t have any plastic content at all, and even if it happens to smell like plastic, make sure to preheat on a very high temperature to rule out any plastic smell off your kitchen. Thanks for commenting.

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