How to Clean an Air Fryer in 5 Easy Steps

An air fryer cooks food quickly, uses minimal ingredients during preparation, and is easy enough for pretty much anyone to use — from kitchen novices to cooking pros. Famous for making French fries, chicken tenders, and other crunchy snacks without a ton of oil, air fryers can help you save on calories too.

Just like your microwave, toaster oven, or any other kitchen gadget, you should regularly clean and maintain your air fryer. If you don’t clean your air fryer, it won’t perform optimally, as it can accumulate smells and flavors that can transfer straight into your freshly made food. Dirty air fryers can also build up grease, and that grease can cause your fryer to smoke and reduce the quality of your recipes.

Here’s how to clean your air fryer and keep it running at its best.

Step 1: Unplug the device

Before attempting to clean your air fryer, unplug it from the wall socket and allow it to cool completely. This is to prevent electrocution, injury, or damage to your unit. Now, this may sound obvious, but sometimes when people are in a hurry, they really do forget to unplug their gadgets before cleaning.

Step 2: Clean the basket and pans

Clean the removable baskets and pans (frying basket, baking tray, etc.) with hot, soapy water. If your basket has stuck or burnt-on food (like batter or potato), you can soak it in hot water and dish soap for about 10 minutes, and then wipe off the food particles with a sponge or disinfecting wipes.

Some air fryers have dishwasher-safe accessories. If your frying basket is dishwasher-safe, you can just pop it in the dishwasher. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions to find out about dishwasher safety.

Make sure your air frying basket, pan, and other removable accessories are all completely dry before you attempt to reassemble your air fryer and use it again.

Step 3: Clean the interior

Gourmia GT2500 air fryer
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

Using a soft cloth or non-abrasive sponge and hot water, clean the heating element. If there’s any grease present on the heating element, add a small amount of dish soap to the cloth or sponge to help remove the grease. Then, wipe away the soap with clean, hot water. You may want to turn the air fryer upside down to make cleaning the heating element easier. You can also use a soft-bristle food brush to remove any stuck-on dirt or particles.

Wipe the interior completely with a non-abrasive sponge or cloth and hot water. You can use a very small amount of dish soap if needed to remove grease. Again, you can use a soft-bristle cleaning brush to remove stuck-on foods. Though there are multiple ways to clean kitchen grease.

Allow the air fryer’s interior to dry completely.

Step 4: Clean the exterior

Wipe the exterior with a moist cloth or sponge and a mild detergent. Don’t use bleach, glass cleaners, or other chemicals. Never submerge your air fryer in water to clean it.

If your fryer happens to feature a stainless steel exterior, we recommend using stainless steel wipes like these. Stainless steel wipes are a valuable household commodity that will come in handy to clean numerous household appliances. For example, these wipes work wonders in removing smudges, stains, and fingerprints from your stainless steel fridge and dishwasher.

Step 5: Maintain your air fryer

If you want your air fryer to perform as well as the day you bought it, you’re going to want to wash it well each time you finish using it. This prevents food particles and grease buildup from damaging the appliance. After you clean your air fryer, allow it to dry completely, and then store it in its original box or a clean and dry place (i.e. don’t keep it next to your stovetop or right near your dishwasher). 

Follow the instructions to ensure you’re using the frying basket and pan in the right ways to keep food from touching the heating element. The paramount rule for using the air fryer is to never overload it with food. When you put too much food in the basket, it doesn’t cook properly, it has to cook for longer, and more grease and food particles can get onto the heating element.

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