Air fryers are one of the trendiest kitchen gadgets. This convenient, easy-to-use 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, there is still a greasy residue left behind that needs cleaning. The good news is, cleaning an air fryer is much easier than cleaning a conventional deep fryer.
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 appliance maintenance before you dive in and clean your air fryer.
- Submerge the appliance in water since the unit is electrical.
- Use metal cleaning tools like spatulas, scrapers, or steel wool, which will ruin the non-stick coating.
- Use metal utensils to get food out. It can damage the non-stick 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 a non-abrasive sponge to clean.
When To Clean an air fryer? And How Often?
Each time you use your air fryer doesn't mean you have to deep clean after use. Here's a short guide on what to wash, how often, and how to clean an air fryer.
After each use:
Since the basket, tray, and pan are the most used, they require washing after each use. Hand-washing with gentle soap is the most gentle, but you can also place them in the dishwasher (make sure your model is dishwasher safe). The fryer basket catches all the grease and gunk, and it may need soaking with warm water for 10 to 30 minutes in warm, soapy water before wiping clean. Be sure to check the manufacturer recommendations for your specific model to be sure to wash parts safely.
*Tip: Use a toothbrush or dish brush to clean the slats in the crumb basket.
Once a week:
Because air frying only uses a tiny bit of oil or any, and the outside doesn't get greasy, the exterior doesn't need cleaning as often. After unplugging the appliance, allow it to cool and use a damp cloth to wipe clean.
*Tip: Don't forget to check the coil. To clean any residue, allow it to cool and wipe the coil with a damp cloth or non-abrasive sponge.
Once a month:
It depends on what you are cooking and how often you use the appliance, 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 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
- Soft bristle scrub brush
- 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 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 grease, let it soak for at least 10 minutes before scrubbing.
- Wipe the inside of the appliance with a damp cloth or sponge.
- Clean the 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 non-stick 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: To make clean-up even more manageable, add the vinegar solution to a reusable spray bottle.
- Baking soda: Baking soda not only removes tough odors but can be made into a paste to scrub off tough-to-clean messes safely. To use, add just enough water to make a paste, then spread on spots you need to clean. Allow to soak, then wipe clean.
- All-purpose spray: All-purpose cleaning sprays are also safe to use on both 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.
Air Fryer Maintenance
Besides daily and occasional cleaning, your air fryer will require maintenance to keep it in good working condition.
- Check the cords before use, and do not use the appliance if cords are frayed or show signs of wear, as a damaged cord can cause harm if plugged in.
- Double-check to make sure all parts are in working order before use.
- Make sure the appliance is clean before use. Also, be sure to clean any accumulated dust if you haven't used it for a while.
- Always keep the appliance upright while cooking.
- When cooking, ensure it is at least four inches away from a wall or other appliances. Also, leave at least four inches above to allow steam to vent.
- Store properly after allowing the unit to cool after cooking. Do not leave the appliance plugged-in while storing.
Having an air fryer is a great way to add healthier meals with faster cooking times and little to no mess. All it takes is a little care and maintenance, and you should enjoy your air fryer for years to come.
Want to learn more about air fryers? Here is everything you need to know about an air fryer.