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The Fabulous Food Dehydrator Part 4: How to Care for Your Food Dehydrator

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Once you own a food dehydrator, you will want to be sure you care for it well so that it will keep performing for years! The longer you keep it in optimum working condition, the longer it will continue to save you money in the kitchen. Some dehydrator owners will tell you that they have been using the same machine for 15 years.  My mom received her Excalibur as a wedding present and it’s still going strong 30+ years later. With proper care and maintenance this is very possible. Below, you will find some simple tips that will teach you how to care for your food dehydrator and keep it in its best working condition! After all, just like any appliance it is an investment you want to protect.

Keeping your food dehydrator clean is actually quite easy. With most dehydrators, many of the parts are dishwasher safe. When it needs to be cleaned, here is what you should do!

  • Disassemble the parts.
  • Rinse each one well in warm water.
  • Put them on either rack of your dishwasher and wash on a general cycle.
  • You can also hand wash with a mild detergent and soft cloth.

Sometimes, extra gooey and stubborn messes might make your dehydrator a nasty mess. In those instances, here is what to do:

  • One problem many food dehydrators complain of is that food will get stuck on the trays. This is expected since when you dehydrate food it can become very sticky. No worries! Just let the trays soak in a sink full of hot soapy water. Then, some gentle scrubbing should get dried on food to come off.
  • Don’t be afraid to let your pieces soak for several hours if needed.
  • Dehydrator trays are fragile so never use harsh abrasives on them.
  • Some people coat their trays with a flavorless no stick spray before drying. You can try this and see if it helps keep your trays cleaner.

Prevention is key to keeping your dehydrator in peek condition. There are several actions you can take to keep your dehydrator from getting extremely dirty in the first place. For example:

  • Don’t allow food stains and dried food to set in.
  • As soon as you are done drying, wash the parts of the dehydrator or begin soaking them.
  • Don’t run your dehydrator for any amount of time that is longer than necessary.
  • Avoid getting the food stuck in the first place. Line the trays with wax paper for the first hour of drying. After the hour has passed, the wax paper can be removed and the drying fruit carefully returned to the trays using a spatula.
  • Parchment paper can also be used in the same method, or no stick spray as mentioned above.

A few more helpful tips and tricks to remember:

It is important to always unplug your food dehydrator and allow it to cool before attempting to remove any of the individual trays. You don’t want to risk electrocution or burns! Because most models use stacked trays, you may need to start by removing the top tray and then work your way down until all of the dirty trays have been removed. Don’t rush it, take your time and prevent any injuries.

By following these tips, you will be able to keep your food dehydrator in tip top shape and perfect working condition! As mentioned in a previous post, save your warranty info in case any mechanical issues creep up. But otherwise, as long as you use your dehydrator according to instructions and clean as indicated in this article you should be able to enjoy it for many years to come!

Don’t Miss The Rest In The Fabulous Food Dehydrator Series

So What Exactly Can You Make?
What is Food Dehydrator All About?
How to Choose a Food Dehydrator




  • Rosie

    I have a Nesco dehydrator with the fan on the bottom. I never dry anything without the leather sheets, b/c I’m so worried about liquid going down in the works. Do you know anything about that, is that somewhat unnecessary? I know after the apples, strawberries, etc., are sufficiently dried, they won’t drip (or much), but it takes so long for anything to dry with the leather sheets. I love dehydrating, though!

  • Ellen Christian

    My dehydrator has been in a box for ages. I should probably take it out and do something with it.

    • Brandy

      With your skills I am sure you could put together something amazing with your dehydrator and the endless possibilities with it!

      • Ellen Christian

        Thanks so much! I really need to figure out where I stashed it.

  • Gena

    These are great tips! I love my food dehydrator and I want it to last forevvvver! 🙂

    • Brandy

      A dehydrator is an investment to start up but so worth it! If they have the proper care they last forever. My mom has an Excalibur that she told me the other day she actually had before she got married and so she thought it was 36 years old.

  • Diane Holland

    Love my food dehydrator! These are really good tips for keeping in top working condition. We use ours year round, but with gardening season coming it will get a work out!

    • Brandy

      I think my dehydrator is already shuddering at the extra hours it’s going to be putting in!