A Step-By-Step Guide On How To Clean An Air Fryer  

 Last Update February 21, 2024

By Jenny Zhang

Air fryers are one of the trendiest kitchen gadgets. This convenient, easy-to-use kitchen appliance lets us air fry 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 that cleaning an air fryer is much easier than cleaning a conventional deep fryer.

Whether you are new to air frying or a seasoned chef, you may wonder how to clean an air fryer. How to keep an air fryer clean? Below, we will share everything you need to know to get your air fryer shining again.

How To Clean an Air Fryer

Tools And Supplies

A damp cloth or a non-abrasive sponge

Dish soap or cleaning solution

Soft bristle scrub brush

A clean, dry cloth

Instructions

  1. First, ensure the air fryer is unplugged and completely cooled down before you start cleaning. This prevents any potential for burns or electrical hazards.

  2. Remove and wash the air fryer pan, tray, and basket from the air fryer and wash either by hand or place them in the dishwasher. If you are cleaning it by hand, wash it with warm soapy water. If there is too much baked-on grease, food particles, or sticky residue, especially when you don't clean your air fryer regularly, let it soak in warm water for at least 10-15 minutes before scrubbing. For tougher stains, a baking soda and water paste can be applied and gently scrubbed.

  3. Wash the basket and pan with dish soap using a non-abrasive sponge or soft cloth. You can make a paste with baking soda and water for tough stains and gently scrub the affected area. If there are hard-to-reach areas, use a soft bristle brush or toothbrush to clean them.

  4. After washing, rinse the basket and pan thoroughly with warm water to remove any soap residue.

  5. Dry the basket and pan with a microfiber towel, or let them air dry completely before reinserting them into the air fryer. Ensuring they are completely dry prevents the development of rust or mold.

  6. Using a damp cloth or soft sponge, wipe down the interior of the air fryer. If any food particles are stuck to the heating element, gently brush them off with a soft bristle brush. Be careful not to damage the element.

  7. Wipe the exterior of the air fryer with a damp cloth or sponge and a little dish soap if necessary. Then, use a dry cloth to wipe it down and avoid water infiltration into the electrical components.

  8. Once every part is clean and dry, reassemble the air fryer for its next use. Letting all parts dry is essential to prevent rust and water stain marks.

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 your appliance's most effective yet gentle cleaning agents. 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 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

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.

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.

Don't:

  • 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.

Do:

  • 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.

FAQs

How Often Should You Clean An Air Fryer

To ensure your air fryer remains in optimal working condition and your food continues to taste great, it's crucial to adhere to a regular cleaning schedule. Ideally, the basket and pan should be cleaned after every use to remove food particles and grease, which can become more difficult to clean over time and may lead to unwanted odors or smoke during cooking. Additionally, wiping down the interior with a damp cloth after each use will help maintain the cleanliness and efficiency of the appliance.

For those who use their air fryer frequently, a more thorough cleaning of the entire appliance, including the exterior and any vents, should be undertaken weekly or bi-weekly to prevent grease or dust buildup. Inspecting the heating element periodically for any accumulated grease or food particles and cleaning as necessary to ensure optimal performance is also important.

Certain situations, such as cooking foods with sticky or baked-on residues, may require soaking the basket and pan for an extended period or using a baking soda paste for effective cleaning. To combat persistent odors, running the air fryer with a mixture of water and vinegar can help neutralize and eliminate them. Regular cleaning not only prolongs the lifespan of your air fryer but also guarantees that it operates efficiently, preventing grease and food buildup that can alter cooking times and temperatures and potentially lead to the development of harmful bacteria.

Can the air fryer basket and pan go in the dishwasher?

Most air fryers have dishwasher-safe baskets and pans, making cleanup easier. However, it's important to consult your air fryer's manual since materials and coatings can vary. Dishwasher cleaning can help remove grease and food residue, but be mindful of the non-stick coating's longevity if frequently washed in a dishwasher.


Jenny passionately advocates a holistic and natural approach to health and well-being. She has a Bachelor of Science degree and years of working in food sciences, specializing in organic & natural products. She is committed to helping others embrace a balanced, natural lifestyle that fosters well-being. Jenny believes that a harmonious balance between nutrition, fitness, and mindfulness is the key to unlocking the full potential of one’s well-being.