How to Clean a Dehydrator (Base & Trays) – Useful Tools, Tips & Recommendations

By Eric Mitchell •  Updated: Jan 6, 2024 •  11 min read

Food dehydrators are slowly becoming a staple for most homeowners today. Since you are reading this, the chances are that you already have one in your kitchen.

In that case, this article won’t be about the best dehydrators or which machines dry food faster. Instead, I’ll share with you a few tips on how to clean a dehydrator, base and trays, that might help to extend its shelf life.

Believe me, albeit seemingly delicate, a dehydrator could serve you several decades with proper maintenance.

How to Clean a Dehydrator (Base & Trays)

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How to Clean a Dehydrator – Things You Need

Before embarking on this task, you need to arm yourself with the following:

1. Soap

Not just any other soap works here. You need to go for specific soaps designed for cleaning dehydrators. In addition to giving you poor results, normal dishwashing soaps and gel cause damage to your device.

2. Warm Water

Arm yourself with enough water and enough space depending on the size of your machine.

3. Non-Abrasive Soft Brush

You’ll need these to scrub and scour away stubborn residue. Ensure that the brush is soft enough not to cause abrasions on your dehydrator’s surfaces.

4. Toothbrush

Helps you reach those hidden parts that the hard brush can’t access. And if you feel that some areas would be extremely hard to reach, feel free to get gas dusters or canned air.

5. Rubber Gloves

A good pair of gloves will protect your skin from the chemicals used for cleaning and the rigors of intense cleaning.

6. Sponge

It will aid in wiping off any moisture or vapor after cleaning. This wiping off also helps deprive harmful bacteria that survive in moisture in any thriving environment.

7. White Vinegar

This will knock out any form of hardened residue in your equipment.

Cleaning Dehydrator Trays

Soak your trays in warm, soapy water. If you intend to place them in the dishwasher, you need to check the instructional manual to see if it’s recommended. Add the white vinegar to thoroughly eliminate any stubborn residue. To get rid of that vinegar smell, just wash the trays with cold water.

Gently scrub your trays with the non-abrasive brush to remove any residue that might still be hanging around after soaking. Use the toothbrush to clean points that the hard brush can’t access.

For the best results, wash the different types of trays separately.

How to Clean Dehydrator Base

When cleaning the dehydrator base, keep in mind that different dehydrators have varied recommendations on this. For example, Nesco doesn’t recommend the removal of any part from the power unit. Here, diligently following the instructional manuals will guide you on how best to clean your case.

To perfectly clean your dehydrator, gently use the sponge to wipe off any moisture. You can dry the trays in the sun or keep them in a cool dry place.

Store the trays in a cool dry place with a cover to keep off dust. Ensure the environment is free from any bacterial contamination. Importantly, avoid places that experience temperature extremities.

Maintenance Of Your Dehydrator Machine

The following are quick tips on how best to maintain your dehydrator:

Why You Should Clean Your Dehydrator

Health Safety

Being a device that helps you prepare your food, the cleanliness of a dehydrator can’t be taken for granted. Cleaning and good maintenance will go a long way to ensure your health is not compromised by unhygienic food.

Boosts Its Usable Life

As with most machines, appropriate cleaning and maintenance of the dehydrator prolongs its lifespan. A poorly maintained dehydrator will develop complications and break down in no time.

You Get Quality Food Each Time

Besides the lifespan, the quality of the final product will be enhanced if your dehydrator is well cleaned and maintained. Poorly cleaned and maintained dehydrators tend to affect the quality of your food products down the road. A good example is the food particles that get stuck in your trays which later affect the taste of other food items.

On the same note, before using a newly acquired dehydrator, you need to clean it first so that you don’t end up with a funny plastic smell in your dehydrated food.

Some food items, for instance, onions have a strong smell that might be easily transferred to another batch. Therefore, it’s only wise to appropriately clean your dehydrator after drying certain foods to avoid transferring such smells and taste to your fruits. You can imagine how it feels like eating apples that taste like onions.


Cleaning and maintaining your dehydrator, as seen above, isn’t any herculean task. You just need to have the right set of tools and the will to do it. A nice, sparkling dehydrator is not only pleasant to the eyes but also to the well-being of your lovely family.

It’s also worth noting that since dehydrators differ in their designs, cleaning them too definitely differ. For example, cleaning non-stick trays require less amount of energy as compared to other types of trays.

So, a good knowledge of your dehydrator is so important for apt cleaning. Lastly, instructional manuals are priceless. Spare time for them.

Eric Mitchell

Eric is the owner, author, content director and founder of He is the lead architect and the main man in matters concerning dehydrators, their accessories, guides, reviews and all the accompaniments.Whenever he is not figuring out simple solutions (hacks) involving cookery and their eventual storage, you will find him testing out the different types of dehydrators, to bring us the juicy details regarding these devices.He is a foodie enthusiast, pasionate about making jerky has a knack for healthy and tasty food and won't hesitate to share out any ideas that might be of value around this subject.

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