How to Clean Your Air Fryer

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Air fryers have made it possible to cook fried foods without using a lot of oil and making a huge mess, like you would with a deep fryer. With proper use and care, your air fryer will enable you to make tasty, yet healthy food in a flash. 

As with any cooking appliance, it is essential to clean your air fryer properly after each use, to keep it functional and to ensure proper hygiene in the kitchen. Now that you know how to use your air fryer, it’s time to learn exactly how to clean your air fryer: both on a use-by-use basis and for a deep clean.

how to clean your air fryer basket

After just a few uses, you will notice that the oil and greases that come off your food while cooking starts to gunk up the basket and the interior of the cooking tray. Since this is baked-on grease, it will quickly become sticky and burned on. And that translates into “hard to clean”.

Don’t let the issue keep you from cleaning your air fryer after every use. Your food touches the surface of the air fryer, and if it’s dirty when you use it bacteria will leach into your food and can make you sick. 

You should clean the air fryer every time you prepare food in it, just as you would wash the dish that you baked something in in the oven. If you learn a few tips, it will be super easy to clean.

Regular Cleaning of an Air Fryer

air fryer needs cleaning

Regular cleaning of your air fryer is what keeps it in tip top shape, without any smoke or bad smells. If you clean it quickly after using it each time, it won’t need a deep clean more often than every 4-5 months (depending on how often you use it).

Most air fryers come with a cooking tray that slides in an out of the machine. Inside that tray is the basket where you place your food. These are typically two separate pieces and can be detached and cleaned separately. That makes it very easy for cleaning.

  1. After using, once the basket cools down, add warm water and liquid soap to the cooking tray. Put the basket inside the tray and allow it to soak in the water for about 10 minutes.
  2. Next, use a non-abrasive scrubbing sponge to remove any particles from the basket and tray. Never use an abrasive sponge or scour pad, as they will remove the non-stick layer on the tray and basket that keep food from sticking.
  3. Rinse the basket and tray with warm water and allow it to dry.
air fryer basket with soapy water

As long as you wash the basket immediately after using, this should be all you have to do to keep the air fryer tray and basket clean.

As long as you wash the basket immediately after using, this should be all you have to do to keep the air fryer tray and basket clean.

Do keep in mind that the basket will form a tough dark layer of grease on the inside that can’t really be removed. It’s normal for this to happen, so you don’t need to stress about it. The grease that needs to be removed will be sticky and slimy.

See our guides to which air fryer to buy and the major benefits of owning an air fryer.

Why Use an Air Fryer

With an air fryer, you place the food in a fryer-style basket and hot air rapidly circulates all around the food, making the food crisp—much like deep-frying, but without the oil. Compared to deep-frying, using an air fryer can reduce the amount of fat, calories, and potentially harmful compounds in your food.

Cleaning the Outside of the Air Fryer

The outside of the air fryer also needs to be cleaned. After regular use, you just need to wipe it off with a wet cloth. Since the outside doesn’t get very greasy, just a quick wipe is usually enough.

Cleaning the Inner Parts

dirty coil and frame of air fryer

The heating element of a deep fryer must be cleaned periodically as well to keep gunk and grease from piling up. Depending on your model, it might be easy or difficult to reach the heating element and casing.

The coil should be cleaned about four times a year, unless you notice smoke coming out of the air fryer vent, which usually indicates that it’s time for a cleaning.

Depending on how often you clean it, there might be a substantial build up of grease splatters in the casing. It can be cleaned with a soft scrub sponge with warm soapy water.

Never ever use an iron brush or hard bristles to clean any part of the air fryer. Instead, use a soft scrubber, like a Scotch-Brite non-scratch scrubber.

Steps to Clean the Coil & Inner Parts

  1. Allow the fryer to cool after using (about 20-30 minutes).
  2. Unplug it and move it away from the source of power.
  3. Invert it to an upside down position.
  4. Clean the coil using a sponge with warm water.
  5. Then use the sponge to clean it around the coil where grease is present.
  6. Dry it with a towel.

Note: It will be easier to scrub off caked-on grease if you clean it 20-30 minutes after using it, so the particles are warm.

Tips for Cleaning Your Air Fryer

  • The basket of the air fryer is made with non-stick coating that can be ruined by using abrasive materials to clean it.
  • A non-abrasive scrubber is safe to use. You can also use a soft or medium bristle brush, if necessary. Do not use a scouring pad or brillo pad.
  • Baking soda mixed with water can be used instead of dishwasher liquid.

How to Deep Clean an Air Fryer

deep cleaning the air fryer

Ideally, you want to keep regular care of your air fryer so it never gets to the point of needing a deep clean.

If your air fryer has become excessively dirty, a normal cleaning won’t do much good. Once you’ve allowed a lot of grease to build up, it will be very difficult to get it off. So, you’ll need to use a solution of baking powder to get it clean. 

  • ½ cup of baking soda
  • A few tablespoons of water to make a paste

To clean your air fryer using this solution:

  • Mix the solution well, then brush it onto the tray and basket with a sponge or toothbrush.
  • Allow the solution to work its magic on the grease. Leave it for about 20 minutes if the grease is really stuck on.
  • Remove the solution with a warm sponge. You can use the scrubber side of a non-abrasive sponge to remove tough grease.

Conclusion

As you can see, it’s much easier to keep your air fryer clean if you do it regularly, plus that makes it much more hygienic to use. It can be a job for some elbow grease if you leave it too long without a thorough cleaning.

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clean an air fryer

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