If you’re searching for “how to clean an air fryer,” we’re guessing you already know the difference between an air fryer and a deep fryer (hint: one uses a lot less oil and is a lot healthier than the other). We’re also guessing you already have an air fryer. If not, get to know the best air fryers and why they’re excellent to have in your kitchen.See the Best Air Fryers
In addition to the health benefits of an air fryer, one of the reasons we prefer air fryers to deep fryers is because they’re so much easier to clean. With less oil, there’s inherently less grease and less mess which makes clean up a breeze.
Here’s everything you need to know about how to clean an air fryer.
What You’ll Need
Before we get into the “how to” of cleaning your air fryer, let’s take a step back and look at necessary tools.
Most air fryers have dishwasher-safe parts like the basket and tray, but other models don’t. Regardless of whether or not yours is dishwasher safe, you’ll still need to clean the hardware. There are a few essential cleaning items we recommend.
We recommend you invest in the following:
- Baking soda
- Dish soap such as Joy or Palmolive
- Microfiber or cotton clothes
- Non-abrasive sponge
- Paper towels
- Soft bristle toothbrush
Now that you know what to buy to clean your air fryer, let’s look at the steps you’ll need to take to keep it looking and acting like new.
How to Clean Your Air Fryer
Once you’ve purchased everything you need to make your air fryer look brand new, here are the steps you’ll take to clean it. We recommend washing it thoroughly after every use.
1.) Unplug Your Air Fryer
This step should seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people forget to unplug their appliances before they begin cleaning them and how many injuries can arise.
Once you’ve finished air frying what we imagine is a delicious dinner (or lunch or snack), turn your air fryer off, unplug it, and walk away to let it cool. Most air fryers cool within 30 minutes or so.
Once it’s cool, remove the basket and pan from the central unit.
2.) Clean the Basket and Pan
Most air fryers come with a removable basket and pan that are dishwasher safe. We do, however, recommend giving them a quick wash before throwing them in the dishwasher.
Start by using a paper towel to wipe off any grease or oil. Next, use your sponge, dish soap, and some hot water to give it a quick wash before putting it in the dishwasher. This step prevents excess grease or crumbs from getting in your dishwasher.
Feel like going the extra step? Just hand wash it and then leave it out to air dry while you finish cleaning the rest of your air fryer.
If you happen to have caked-on food residue that doesn’t want to come out, soak the basket and pan in warm, soapy water. You can fill the pot with this hot water concoction, put the basket inside, and then soak for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, use a non-abrasive sponge to clean it. If after 10 minutes the residue still doesn’t want to come off, soak again in warm, soapy water.
3.) Clean the Outside and Inside
With the fry basket and pan out of the way (either in the dishwasher or drying on the counter), turn your attention back to the main body of the air fryer.
We recommend giving the body a quick cleaning both inside and outside. Take your cotton or microfiber cloth and dampen it with warm water. Wipe it down to remove any grease or marks. Remove any food particles or crumbs that may have fallen out of the fryer. Next, take your non-abrasive sponge, soak in hot water, and wipe off the inside of your air fryer.
Helpful hint: If you managed to make a mess while air frying and have particles of hard, caked-on food residue, get your baking soda. Start with a tablespoon of baking soda and add a bit of water until you’ve made a paste. Apply the paste to any tricky food residue spots, let it sit for 30 seconds, and then scrub it with a sponge. Once the food is gone, wipe once more with a damp cotton cloth.
4.) Clean the Heating Element
Once you’ve removed all crumbs and food debris, turn your attention to your air fryer’s heating element.
Your first step is to flip the air fryer upside down, further eliminating any debris your initial passthrough may have missed. Next, take your sponge, run it under hot water, and thoroughly wipe down the heating element.
Please note that if you have hard-to-remove food residue on the heating element, you can use your baking soda paste to scrub it away.
5.) Dry Everything Thoroughly
One of the worst things you can do to your air fryer (besides not cleaning it) is to put it away wet. Doing this can cause mildew and mold to grow, which is gross and can make you sick. It can also ruin your air fryer.
Once you have cleaned all parts, either place in a drying rack for a few hours or take a clean, dry cotton cloth and wipe down all parts until they are dry. Once dry, reassemble and put away.
Additional Tips to Keep Your Air Fryer Clean
The best way to avoid a long clean up? Try to prevent it.
Here are a few tips you can use to air fry your food as cleanly as possible and avoid a stinky fryer afterward:
- Use tin foil: If you want to prevent food from sticking to your air fryer, consider using tin foil. You can place a piece of foil or parchment on the bottom of the basket to help food from caking to the bottom. Don’t cover the entire basket or you’ll prevent air from circulating and hinder your food from getting crispy and delicious.
- Use some oil or cooking spray: While not necessary, consider greasing the bottom of your air fryer with olive oil, canola oil, or even cooking spray before you begin frying your food. The oil will prevent food from sticking to the bottom.
- Use lemon: Is your air fryer getting a bit of a funky smell despite regular cleaning? This is normal. If this happens to you, use lemon. Cut a lemon in half and put it inside the basket. Add some extra lemon juice to the pan and let sit for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, dump the lemon and lemon juice, clean with a sponge and warm, soapy water, and then rinse and dry.
Are you trying to find an air fryer that is easy to clean? We wrote a review of the best air fryers on the market today.
What NOT to Do to Keep Your Air Fryer Clean
Now that we’ve taught you everything you should do you keep your air fryer functioning as seamlessly as possible, let’s look at what you should not do:
- Do not use metal: Whatever you do, do not use metal utensils, scrubby sponges, or steel wool brushes in your air fryer. Most air fryers are nonstick. If you use metal or other abrasive materials, you risk scratching the coating and ruining the air fryer.
- Do not submerge the fryer in water: We told you above you can submerge the fry pan and basket in water. That holds true. However, whatever you do, do not submerge the entire air fryer. It is an electrical appliance, and submerging will render it useless (and also put you at risk of injury).
- Do NOT forget to clean the fryer immediately: The longer you let grease and debris fester, the harder it is to clean. Make sure you clean your air fryer after each use, and as quickly as possible. Yes, you’ll want to let your air fryer cool for approximately 30 minutes before cleaning, and yes, you may want to enjoy your food before it gets cold. Just make sure you don’t wait hours before cleaning your air fryer, or it will take you longer than anticipated!
We hope this article helped answer your question regarding the best way to clean an air fryer.
Want more air fryer tips? Check out these common air fryer mistakes to avoid.