How to Clean an Air Fryer: Everything You Need to Know

how to clean an air fryer

Last Updated on May 4, 2021

Air fryers are an increasingly popular appliance found in homes around the world. People are turning to air fryers to make crispy foods in a short amount of time, and air fryers are a huge success in this realm. One perk to air fryers, which you may not have thought of yet, is that they are significantly easier to clean than a traditional deep-frying device. This is because there is not a pan of hot oil and grease in the bottom used to cook your food.

So if you are wondering how hard it is to clean an air fryer and how often you need to clean an air fryer, your search is over. This article answers these questions as well as explores how to clean an air fryer in step-by-step directions and offers some useful tips so you can keep your air fryer clean and functioning at its fullest potential for a long time to come.

What Is an Air Fryer?

First thing’s first, what is an air fryer, and how does it work? An air fryer is a small appliance that works almost identically to a convection oven. It has a heating element paired with a fan to circulate hot air around the basket, pan, and food inside. The heating element and fan combined result in a faster cooking process and a crispier finished food product.

Many people opt to use an air fryer instead of a deep fryer these days because it is seen as a healthier option. With an air fryer, you do not need to use hot oil. In fact, you don’t need to use any oil at all, but with some foods and recipes, like vegetables and fish, a very small amount is recommended to prevent the food from drying out too much.

Things You Will Need to Clean Your Air Fryer

In order to prepare yourself for the cleaning process described below, it is best to gather all of the supplies you will need. It will make the task go by quicker and easier.

Here are the supplies you will need:

  • Microfiber or soft cloth
  • Non-abrasive sponge
  • Dish soap
  • Scrub brush (for stuck-on foods, optional)
  • Baking soda (for baked-on messes, optional)
  • Dishwasher (depending on your specific air fryer, optional)

Get Acquainted With Your Air Fryer

Before you start cooking or cleaning your air fryer for the first time, we strongly recommend reading through the user manual for your specific air fryer appliance. The manual will not only get you acquainted with your machine but will also alert you as to whether or not the basket and pull-out pan components are dishwasher safe.

When it comes to cleaning your air fryer, the ability to stick the basket and pan in the dishwasher can save you a considerable amount of physical effort and time. Although they usually are not that hard to clean by hand anyway, it is good to know whether or not you have the option to put the basket and pan in your dishwasher.

Steps in Cleaning an Air Fryer

Step 1: Unplug Your Air Fryer and Let It Cool

The first step to cleaning your air fryer is waiting for it to cool. If you have just finished cooking with your air fryer, unplug it from the mains power and let it cool down. While you cook, the basket and pan become extremely hot, so you must give it some time to cool down before handling the cooking components.

Of course, just like with a regular pan or pot, you do not want to give them so much time that the food particles and grease start to harden or be harder to clean.

Step 2: Cleaning the Basket and Drawer

After you let the air fryer cool, remove the basket and pan from the air fryer’s main unit.

If your air fryer has dishwasher safe parts, you can simply rinse them out and stick them in the dishwasher. If this scenario pertains to you, you can now skip ahead to step 4.

If your air fryer doesn’t have a dishwasher safe basket and pan or you want to wash them in that manner, you can easily hand wash them. Bring the basket and pan to your sink, wash them using warm or hot water, a bit of dish soap, and a non-abrasive sponge or brush.

If you experience any resistance from residue or food stuck in the holes of the basket, using a skewer or possibly a toothpick to poke through the holes and loosen the material.

Step 3: Cleaning Stuck-on Food and Grease

If a basic soap and water combination doesn’t seem to be doing the trick, you may want to try and soak the pan and basket in hot water for a few minutes. It will help to loosen the baked-on food and grease. After you let them soak, try the dish soap and sponge method again.

If this still is not working as well as you would like, you can make a cleaning solution comprised of baking soda and hot water. Mix a small amount of water with baking soda to form a paste, apply the paste to the desired area, rub it around with a soft brush, and wipe it off.

The baking soda paste can also be used on the main unit, both inside and outside, to clean food particles and grease smears.

Step 4: Cleaning the Interior of the Appliance

Once the basket and pan are clean, you can move on and start cleaning the air fryer device itself. To clean the inside of the air fryer unit, use a damp cloth or sponge and wipe down the interior while the basket tray and pan are still removed. Carefully wipe down the walls and the heating element inside.

While there should not be much of a mess inside, there may be some minimal splatter caused by the food you cook and possibly any oil you chose to add to your recipe.

Step 5: Cleaning the Exterior of the Appliance

Next, use your damp sponge or cloth to wipe down the outside of your air fryer. Often grease and food particles can easily get smeared across the face of your air fryer or on the control panel, and it is best to clean it off straight away. Most likely, you will not need to clean the outside of your air fryer as frequently as the inside, basket, and pan, but the more you do, the easier it will be.

Step 6: Dry and Reassemble Your Air Fryer

Now all that is left is to wait for all of the air fryer components to dry. Then you can reassemble it and stash it in a cabinet or leave it on your countertop, depending on the amount of space you have in your kitchen and how often you plan on cooking with your air fryer.

air frying cauliflower

Air Fryer Cleaning Tips

The following tips should be kept in mind while cleaning your air fryer. They will help you accomplish the task more efficiently and will also help to prevent any accidental damage that could be caused by cleaning your air fryer incorrectly.

Use the Right Tool

Never use steel wool or any kind of metal utensil to wash your air fryer. While it may be tempting for baked or stuck-on food, any metal or steel wool can damage the non-stick coating. If the non-stick coating on the basket or pan starts to flake, chip, or wear off of the components, they could become unsafe and effectively unusable.

Be Careful When Using Water

Do not soak or completely submerge the entire air fryer unit in water. After all, air fryers are electrical appliances, and water can seriously damage or even break the motor. Only the basket and pan can be completely soaked in hot water.

Deal With Odours

If your air fryer basket develops an odour from grease and baked-on food particles that are not removed by simply washing it with soap and water or even baking soda and water, we recommend using a strong citrus scent to cut the smell. Try using rubbing half of a lemon on the basket and pan and then allowing it to soak for several minutes with the lemon in the water. After washing the parts again, the odour should be eliminated.

Frequency Is key

And now for the most essential air fryer cleaning tip. The more regularly you clean your air fryer, the less time it will take and the easier the cleaning task will be.

How Often Should You Clean Your Air Fryer?

With our previous cleaning tip in mind, how often should you clean your air fryer? To get the best results, we strongly recommend cleaning your air fryer each time you use it for cooking.

As we mentioned above, the exterior may not need to be completely cleaned with every use, but if you clean the basket and pan each time, it should only take a couple of minutes. Whereas if you put off cleaning your air fryer, it could take you as long as 30 minutes to complete the task.

Cleaning your air fryer with every use may also entirely eliminate the need to execute step 3, where you scrub and tackle stuck-on food and grease using baking soda from the cleaning procedure. It is because a buildup of grease and other food crumbs in the corners, holes in the basket, and other crevices simply will not have time to develop.

It is also important to clean your air fryer with every use because delaying the cleaning process is a good way for the parts to develop an odour, which we alerted you to above. Additionally, when the grease and food buildup, it could lead to smoke as the crumbs begin to burn.

Cleaning Made Easy: The Time Is Now

If you started reading this article wondering how to clean an air fryer, by now, you should have all the information you need and more to clean your air fryer like a seasoned, veteran user of the appliance. Even if you are new to using this type of appliance, cleaning your air fryer should be an easy and quick task, especially if you take the time to do it after each and every time it is used to prepare food. Just remember that many air fryers have parts that are dishwasher safe making them even easier to clean. And never use metal or abrasive sponges, and you should do great.

How often do you clean your appliance? Do you have any additional tips you can share? Let us know what you think and write it in the comments below.

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