After several uses, Actifry™ owners start facing the issue of how to keep the paddle clean.
The issue can be that food becomes baked onto the paddle during cooking.
Here are a few comments from Actifry owners about the topic, to let you know you are not alone in wondering about this:
I do find it hard to clean the paddle – does not wash clean using conventional products.” 1
“The paddle gets greasy and although I soak the parts of the appliance that are removable, it never really comes up clean. I don’t have a dishwasher but saying that, I would be reluctant to place the parts into a dishwasher are they are quite flimsy.” 2
“Only thing against is I can’t get the paddle really clean – tried soaking in soda crystal solution which loosened it a bit but it’s got quite a few crooks and crannies that I can’t reach, so still use it as it is!!!”3
Food can particularly become baked on when you are making dishes such as risottos and curries; crispy bits from potatoes can also get caked on when you are making fries and roast potatoes.
Some users suggest using oven cleaner:
“I cleaned my paddle with oven pride leave on for 20 min and rinse off great…”4
But I would be worried about the caustic chemicals of the oven cleaner, which are meant for metal, weakening the plastic of the paddle.
The best method of cleaning baked-on stuff away seems to be to simply soak the paddle in water for about half an hour or longer; most of the built up stuff should just fall off after that. The stuff that truly is baked on, in a layer, you can go at it with a scrub brush.
Some users suggest after a soak, scraping the paddle with a knife:
“I soak in hot soapy water to soften solid stuff ( long soak) then use a blunt table knife to scrape off.”5
But I’d be worried in general about scraping the surface of the paddle and making it even less non-stick than it has already become.
Another issue uses ask about is that the plastic of the paddle will discolour over time.
PLEASE – how do I clean the discoloured paddle??”
“Cannot think of anything. Because it is so fragile, if you put extra pressure. IT WILL BREAK. SORRY.”
“Robert, I think the short answer is that you can’t get the discolouration off the paddle – it goes discoloured and stays that way I am afraid. I know it does not look nice, but as long as it is clean it will be OK. As [noted], don’t put too much pressure on it. Sorry. ”6
Cleaning the inside of a paddle
While I am leery of using a knife to scrape the outside of a paddle, the tip of a knife is sometimes useful for digging out food (such as rice) that has got trapped in the hollow spaces inside the paddle. The inside of the family-sized Actifry can be particularly challenging to clean, because they made it like the inside of a nautilus shell, with lovely small compartments for food to get trapped in. I’m not sure what the purpose of this design is; it sure isn’t to make clean-up any easier.
By comparison, the inside of the regular-size Actifry is a breeze to clean, with fewer compartments inside.
My Advice about Cleaning an Actifry Paddle
My advice is to approach thinking about an Actifry paddle, the way you would think about a cast iron frying pan, a bread pan, or a wooden spoon.
If you want a paddle for display as a showpiece, then mount it unused on the wall and order a second paddle for actual use. Otherwise, know that in daily use, it is going to start to look seasoned and battleworn. It is, after all, a very hard-working tool.
Wooden spoons acquire a patina with use; so too does an Actifry paddle.
Cast iron frying pans acquire a certain amount of built-up, baked-on food on their surfaces over time. So too does your Actifry paddle. That being said, I’m not sure that the baked-on food layer necessarily helps to make the paddle non-stick, the way it does a cast iron frying pan….
I will clean an Actifry paddle with a plastic scrub brush or plastic scouring pad after soaking, but never with a metal Brillo / SOS pad. (Tip: If you use an Actifry for several sessions in a row without cleaning the paddle in between, it will be harder to clean and require a longer soak at the end.) And, I will use the tip of a knife to ensure all gunge is out of the interior of the paddle.
I would never bang a paddle or immerse a hot paddle into water. T-fal maintains that paddles normally only break if weakened outside of normal usage: “Jack Williams (Customer Relations Department Team Leader at Tefal), who stated that the paddles usually only break after impact damage or thermal shock.”7
I also don’t worry about tossing the paddle in the dishwasher, if the dishwasher will be running before I need the paddle again. I’d say my paddles get cleaned in the dishwasher about 25% of the time.
But I’ve long since ceased to worry about returning a paddle to it’s brand-new pristine state and colouring. In fact, I’d be worried that too much heavy hacking away at a paddle would weaken it and shorten its life span. (I’ve never had one break on me yet, in 4 years, touch wood.)
And, personally, I would suspect that a pristine-looking paddle probably comes from a neglected and underused Actifry! Here’s a shot of one of my 4-year-old paddles!
* Actifry™ is a registered trademark of SEB, France.