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can you use plastic wrap in a food dehydrator


Dehydrating food has become an increasingly popular method of preserving fresh produce. Whether you want to make your own beef jerky, fruit leather, or even dried herbs, a food dehydrator is an essential tool for achieving optimal results. However, when it comes to using a food dehydrator, many people are unsure about which materials can be used. One common question that arises is whether it is safe to use plastic wrap in a food dehydrator. In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of using plastic wrap in a food dehydrator and provide you with alternative options to consider.

Understanding the Role of Plastic Wrap in Food Dehydration

Plastic wrap, also known as cling film, is a thin, transparent sheet of plastic that is commonly used for wrapping food to keep it fresh. It is made from a type of plastic called polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which is known for its stretchability and ability to cling to various surfaces. Due to its convenient properties, many people wonder whether plastic wrap can be utilized in a food dehydrator. Let's delve into this topic further.

The Pros and Cons of Using Plastic Wrap in a Food Dehydrator

1. Convenience and Protection:

One of the advantages of using plastic wrap in a food dehydrator is its convenience. Plastic wrap helps to keep the food tightly sealed, preventing moisture loss and ensuring even dehydration. It can be easily placed over the trays, providing a protective barrier against the air and heat generated during the dehydration process.

2. Uneven Heat Distribution:

However, using plastic wrap in a food dehydrator can also have its downsides. One major concern is the potential for uneven heat distribution. Plastic wrap can hinder the airflow within the dehydrator, preventing hot air from circulating evenly. This uneven heat distribution can lead to inconsistent drying, resulting in some parts of the food being overdone while others are still moist.

3. Risk of Melting and Chemical Contamination:

Another drawback of using plastic wrap is the risk of melting. Most food dehydrators operate at temperatures ranging from 95°F to 165°F (35°C to 74°C). While plastic wrap is typically heat resistant, prolonged exposure to high temperatures can cause it to melt or release harmful chemicals into the food. This can pose a significant health risk, especially when dealing with perishable items.

Alternatives to Plastic Wrap in a Food Dehydrator

1. Silicone Mats or Sheets:

For individuals concerned about the potential risks associated with plastic wrap, silicone mats or sheets can serve as a safe alternative. These mats are designed to withstand high temperatures and provide a non-stick surface for even air circulation. Simply place the food directly onto the silicone mat and insert it into the dehydrator. The food will dehydrate evenly without any potential chemical contamination.

2. Parchment Paper:

Parchment paper, also known as baking paper, is another viable alternative to plastic wrap. It is made from unbleached paper treated with a thin layer of silicone, making it non-stick and heat resistant. By using parchment paper, you can ensure even heat distribution while avoiding any harmful chemicals. Cut the parchment paper to fit the size of the dehydrator trays and place it underneath your food items. This will prevent sticking and make cleanup a breeze.

3. Fine Mesh Dehydrator Sheets:

Fine mesh dehydrator sheets are another option worth considering. These sheets are usually made from food-grade materials like Teflon or silicone and are designed to promote airflow and prevent foods from falling through the tray's gaps. They are particularly useful when drying smaller or more delicate foods such as herbs or berries. Simply lay the food directly on the mesh sheet and let the dehydrator do its magic.

4. Natural Alternatives:

If you prefer to avoid using any artificial materials altogether, there are natural alternatives available as well. For instance, you can use bamboo or stainless steel dehydrator trays. These trays are durable, easy to clean, and allow for optimal airflow, ensuring uniform drying. While they may be a bit more expensive, they are a great investment for those looking for a long-term solution.


While plastic wrap may offer convenience and protection, it is not recommended to use it in a food dehydrator due to the potential risks of uneven heat distribution, melting, and chemical contamination. Thankfully, there are several safe and effective alternatives available, including silicone mats or sheets, parchment paper, fine mesh dehydrator sheets, and natural options like bamboo or stainless steel trays. By choosing the right materials, you can ensure that your dehydrated foods are not only delicious but also safe for consumption. Happy dehydrating!


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