Air fryers are one of the trendiest kitchen gadgets. This convenient, easy-to-use kitchen appliance allows us to cook our favorite fried foods with fewer calories and fat. Despite these new air fryers using hot air to "fry" food, a greasy residue remains left behind that needs cleaning. The good news is, cleaning an air fryer is much easier than cleaning a conventional deep fryer.
Whether you are new to air fryers or a seasoned chef, you may wonder how to clean an air fryer. How often should you clean an air fryer? Below, we will share with you everything you need to know about air fryer cleanup and some cleaning tips to keep your air fryer looking like a new one.
Air Fryer Cleaning & Maintenance Do's and Don'ts
Whether you have an upright or toaster-oven air fryer, it is crucial to know the do's and don'ts of maintenance before diving in and cleaning your air fryer.
Submerge the air fryer in water since the unit is electrical.
Use metal cleaning tools like spatulas, scrapers, or steel wool, which will ruin the nonstick coating of the air fryer basket or pan.
Use metal utensils to get food out. It can damage the nonstick coating.
Forget to dry all parts completely before placing them back in place.
Read the cleaning and maintenance manual guide that comes with the appliance.
Let the appliance cool completely before cleaning.
Clean the appliance after using it each time to keep it running smoothly. The residue left over can burn and ruin the taste of your food the next time you cook.
Use paper towels to remove as much greasy as possible before soaking in warm soapy water so you won't need much elbow grease.
Use a non-abrasive sponge or soft-bristled brush to clean.
When To Clean An Air Fryer?
Not every use of your air fryer requires a thorough deep cleaning afterward. Here's a short guide on what to wash, how often, and how to clean an air fryer.
After Each Use:
Since the air fryer basket, tray, and pan are the most used, they require washing after each use. Hand-washing with gentle soap is the most gentle way, but you may be able to place them in the dishwasher. Most air fryers have dishwasher-safe components, but always make sure your model is dishwasher-safe before sticking it in the dishwasher.
The air fryer's basket catches all the grease and gunk, and it may need soaking with hot water for 10 to 30 minutes with soapy water before scrubbing clean. If there is a lot of grease in it, use a paper towel to wipe it down first before soaking it. Be sure to check the manufacturer recommendations for your specific model to be sure to wash parts safely.
*Tip: Use a toothbrush or scrub brush to clean the slats in the crumb basket.
Once A Week:
Because air frying only uses a tiny bit of oil or, if any, and the outside doesn't get greasy, the exterior doesn't need cleaning as often. After unplugging the air fryer, allow it to cool and use a damp cloth to wipe clean.
*Tip: Don't forget to check the heating element and coil. To clean any residue, allow it to cool and wipe the heating coil with a damp cloth or non-abrasive sponge.
Once A Month:
If you use an air fryer frequently and cook pungent foods, you will notice a smell or odor in your air fryer. When this occurs, it's time for deep cleaning.
Trapped food particles usually cause a bad smell. To deep clean, make a paste with baking soda and water (instructions below) and use it to scrub the interior with a toothbrush. To rinse, dip the toothbrush in clean water and use it to remove the residual paste, then wipe clean.
*Tip: Before deep-cleaning, place a lemon in your air fryer for 30 minutes before cleaning to help absorb odors.
How To Deep Clean Your Air Fryer: Step by Step
Now that you have an overview of how and when to clean your new favorite kitchen gadget, let's take a look at step-by-step instructions on how to clean your air fryer. Note that this is a general guide, and every air fryer model will be slightly different.
Here's what you will need:
A damp cloth or a non-abrasive sponge
Dish soap or cleaning solution
A clean, dry cloth
Unplug the appliance to let it cool down (this is very important).
Wipe the outside with a soft, damp cloth if needed.
Remove and wash the air fryer pan, tray, and basket either by hand or in the dishwasher (see above for washing tips). If you are cleaning it by hand, wash it with warm soapy water. If there is too much baked-on grease or sticky residue, let it soak in warm water for at least 10 minutes before scrubbing.
Wipe the inside of the appliance with a soft cloth or soft sponge.
Clean the heating element and heating coil, if necessary.
Make sure all parts are dry before you put them back in place.
Tip: After washing, always wipe dry with a clean, soft towel. Minerals in hard water can leave behind an unsightly residue.
Air Fryer Cleaning Solutions
There are different methods of cleaning your air fryer. The most important thing to remember is never to use abrasive cleansers or scrubbers like steel wool, as they will scratch the nonstick surfaces. Below are some ideas to help you clean your air fryer safely and naturally.
Vinegar and water: Vinegar is one of the most effective yet gentle cleaning agents for your appliance. Mix up three parts water to one part vinegar. Vinegar is an excellent solution for stuck-on messes and hard water deposits.
Tip: Add the vinegar solution to a reusable spray bottle to make cleanup even more manageable.
Baking soda: Baking soda removes tough odors and can be made into a paste to scrub off tough-to-clean messes safely. Add just enough water to make a paste, then spread it on spots you need to clean. Allow to soak, then wipe clean.
All-purpose spray: All-purpose cleaning sprays are also safe for the air fryer's exterior and interior. Spray on areas you need to clean and wipe dry with a soft towel.
Tip: You can make your own natural all-purpose cleaner with a mix of vinegar, water, and essential oils. Check online for great recipes!
Dish soap: Dish soap is, of course, the tried-and-true standby. It helps cut through grease and soaking in dish soap helps with stuck-on food.
Tip: Natural brands of dish soap work just as well as traditional formulas and are safe and gentle for your air fryer.
How to get rid of lingering odors in an air fryer
There are a few ways you can get rid of lingering odors:
Baking soda paste: To eliminate stubborn odors in your air fryer, create a mixture by combining baking soda with water. Spread the resulting paste over the interior of the air fryer, paying particular attention to areas with persistent odors. Allow the paste to sit for approximately 30 minutes, and then carefully wipe it away using a damp cloth.
Lemon or vinegar steam: Fill the air fryer basket with water and introduce a few slices of lemon or a tablespoon of vinegar into it. Set the air fryer to a low temperature and let it run for about 10 minutes. The steam produced by the lemon or vinegar can help eliminate odors.
Orange peels: Similar to lemon juice, you can use orange peels to deodorize the air fryer. Place a few orange peels in the basket and run the air fryer on a low temperature for about 10 minutes. The citrusy aroma can help eliminate unwanted odors.
Activated charcoal: Place a small bowl filled with activated charcoal in the air fryer basket and let it sit for a few days. The charcoal will absorb odors, leaving your air fryer smelling fresh.