From grease to gleam: How to clean an air fryer effectively

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The revolutionary air fryer has transformed kitchen frying habits, allowing cooks everywhere to ditch the oil and embrace the power of hot air circulation. It is essential to know how to clean an air fryer to ensure it runs smoothly and continues to deliver irresistibly crispy recipes.

A woman is standing next to an air fryer.
Photo credit: YayImages.

This guide will go through the ins and outs of how to clean an air fryer. Learn what the best cleaning practices are to make this appliance shine — both inside and out. This will ensure that every fry is as fabulous as the first.

Before starting a cleaning

First, always unplug the air fryer before cleaning to avoid electrical issues or accidents. It’s also important to wait for the appliance to cool down completely, as it will be much safer to handle and clean at room temperature.

Next, gather the necessary tools and materials for cleaning. A soft-bristled brush is handy for gently scrubbing food debris and grease, particularly in hard-to-reach areas and delicate air fryer parts. Other valuable kitchen tools for cleaning include:

  • A damp cloth or sponge for wiping surfaces.
  • Mild dish soap for cleaning the removable components.
  • Warm water to rinse parts and dissolve grease.

Lastly, it’s essential to consult the air fryer’s user manual for any specific cleaning instructions or guidance. Following the manufacturer’s recommendations ensures a thorough and safe cleaning.

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How to clean an air fryer after every use

Clean the basket, tray and other easily removable air fryer parts after each use. Wipe any crumbs or food debris with a paper towel, rinse it with soapy water and dry it. This keeps food from getting stuck to the basket and baked on.

If the basket is dishwasher-safe, use the dishwasher for a more thorough cleaning. This is especially useful after cooking greasy food such as bacon or sausages. Check your air fryer manual before putting any part of the air fryer in the dishwasher.

It is a good habit to check the inside of the air fryer after each use and wipe it down with a damp cloth. This will help catch stray food particles or grease before they build up.

“If my air fryer has stuck-on food in the basket, like cheese, I like to remove the basket and fill it with warm soap water in the sink. After a few hours, the stuck-on food will rinse right off. Otherwise, I simply run it through the dishwasher.”

— Gen La Rocca, Two Cloves Kitchen

How to clean an air fryer more thoroughly

How often an air fryer needs a deep cleaning depends on its use and what is cooked in it. If the air fryer is used to reheat mozzarella sticks once a week, it won’t need a deeper cleaning very often.

On the other hand, roasting a whole chicken in the air fryer splatters grease everywhere. That’s the cue for giving the air fryer some extra attention.

This prevents greasy buildup and ensures the air fryer continues to perform efficiently. Plan to do a deeper cleaning once a week for an air fryer used regularly or every three to four uses for one rarely used.

A person is washing a yellow sponge in a sink.
Photo credit: YayImages.

Deep clean the basket

Fill a sink with warm, soapy water and let the basket soak. Use a soft sponge or brush with dish soap to gently scrub all basket surfaces, removing any stuck-on food particles. Rinse the basket thoroughly and let it air dry before returning it to the air fryer.

Cleaning the interior and heating coil

With the basket removed, it’s time to clean the interior of the air fryer and the heating element. First, double-check to ensure the air fryer is unplugged and cooled down.

Then, use a damp cloth or sponge to wipe down the interior walls and tray, removing any residue or food particles. Be careful not to damage the heating coil while wiping down the interior. If there is any debris on the heating coil, use a soft brush to gently remove it.

“As far as the heating element goes, sometimes food does get on it, so I will wait until it is cool to the touch and wipe it with a wet cloth. Occasionally, other parts need to be wiped down, as well, but you don’t want the food to burn onto your heating element if you can prevent it!”

— Gena, Ginger Casa

How to clean baked-on grease

Baked-on grease can be challenging to remove. To loosen the grease, mix equal parts of baking soda and water to form a paste. Apply this paste to the baked-on grease and let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes.

Afterward, gently scrub the greasy areas using a soft cloth, sponge or soft-bristled brush. Rinse it thoroughly with warm, soapy water and let it dry completely before using it again.

A dirty air fryer oven in a kitchen.
Photo credit: YayImages.

How to clean an air fryer on the outside

Finally, wipe down the exterior of the air fryer to keep it looking its best. Use a damp cloth with warm, soapy water to clean the exterior surface, taking care not to let any water get into the electronic parts of the unit. Once you’ve finished cleaning, dry the exterior with a clean cloth.

What not to do when cleaning your air fryer

It is possible to damage the air fryer by cleaning it incorrectly. To protect the air fryer, avoid these common cleaning mistakes.

  • Do not use metal utensils or abrasive cleaners, as they can damage the nonstick coating.
  • Do not immerse the air fryer base or electric components in water.
  • Do not use a wire brush or steel wool, as these can damage the air fryer.

Summing up

From removing and washing its various parts to wiping down the interior and exterior surfaces, learning how to clean an air fryer will guarantee that your cooking experience remains enjoyable and hassle-free. By following these simple cleaning steps, you’ll enjoy the benefits of an air fryer, preparing delicious and healthier meals with less oil and fat for you and your loved ones.

Anne Jolly is the creator of the food blog Upstate Ramblings. She loves to cook with gadgets like an air fryer, sous vide or pressure cooker. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, reading, knitting and spending time with her three kids.

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