Knowing how to clean an air fryer the right way should keep it in tip-top shape for a long time. The best part is you won’t have to deal with all that oily mess as you would with a deep fryer. Follow these quick steps and tips, so your unit’s ready for the next recipe every time!

Steps on How to Clean an Air Fryer

These cleaning steps apply to most standard air fryer models. But if your unit has specialised parts or accessories, it’s best to check with your appliance manual first. Make sure to know which ones are dishwasher-safe and what type of cleaners to use.

1. Unplug the air fryer

Let the kitchen appliance cool down completely before washing. It should take about 30 minutes, or remove the basket and pan from the unit to make it cool down faster. You can use the waiting time to enjoy your air-fried meal. Then prepare your soft cloth or sponge, dish soap and other tools for cleaning when ready.

2. Soak the basket and pan

Fill the drawer or pan with warm soapy water, then put the air fryer basket inside to start soaking for about 10 minutes. It should lessen scrubbing time for stubborn food residues and splatters. Alternatively, you can skip this step and put both parts in the dishwasher, following your instruction manual.

3. Wipe down the unit

While soaking, start wiping the interior of your air fryer with some hot water and a soft sponge. If it feels greasy, clean it with a bit of dish soap added to your warm water, then use a clean cloth to wipe the inside dry. For the exterior, a damp cloth should clean it up. Use a soft-bristled brush to remove stuck-on foods.

4. Check the heating element

Turn the air fryer upside-down to see if there’s oil or food particle on the heating coil. Use a moist cloth or soft sponge to wipe it down. Make sure the unit has cooled down completely before doing this step. When done, set the electric appliance aside to start cleaning up the air fryer basket and pan.

5. Wash the food basket and pan

If you choose to wash these removable components by hand, all you need is warm, soapy water. Use a microfibre cloth or non-abrasive sponge for scrubbing. If there are still stuck-on bits on the basket’s holes, you can use a skewer or soft brush to poke them out. Rinse both parts thoroughly then wipe dry.

6. Reassemble and store

Make sure all parts are thoroughly dry before reassembling. Keep it unplugged and in an upright position when not in use. If there’s built-in cord storage, use it for an orderly benchtop. Some air fryer brands also have protective covers to keep them dust-free.

Air Fryer Cleaning Tips

Here are a few extras to do or keep in mind when you clean an air fryer:

  • Clean it after every use. Making this a habit speeds up cleaning time. Also, don’t you love the idea of having the air fryer ready any time you need it?
  • Avoid steel wool, steel wire brushes and metal utensils for cleaning. These can cause irreversible damage to your unit. Abrasive cleaners can easily scratch its non-stick coating, making both cooking and clean-up difficult later on.
  • Use baking soda paste to remove residue from the unit. Here’s a trick you can do since you cannot soak the kitchen appliance. Combine baking soda with enough water to make a paste. Dip your damp cloth into the paste then scrub away baked-on grease on the air fryer.
  • Use lemon to remove unpleasant cooking odour. Place a halved lemon or some lemon juice into the air fryer pan. Let it sit there for about 30 minutes before cleaning. Alternatively, you can use the baking soda paste and an old toothbrush to clean the air fryer interior. Scrubbing away trapped residue should remove the stink or prevent smoke.
  • Use a vinegar solution as an all-purpose cleaner. Adding 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water lets you clean the air fryer interior and remove smells in one go. You can use it for cleaning your stovetop, too. Transfer the solution to a spray bottle and spritz away.
  • Grease the pan or line it with foil or parchment for faster clean-up. Greasing the pan prevents food particles from sticking and lets you do away with soaking. But avoid cooking sprays as some contain additives that damage air frying baskets.

Air Fryer Maintenance

Aside from knowing how to clean an air fryer, make sure you also:

  • check the inside and free it from any dust or debris before cooking
  • clean and wipe it down first if you haven’t used it for a long time
  • inspect the cord for damage or frays before plugging it in
  • keep the unit upright and on a flat surface while air frying
  • position the appliance away from corners or walls to let air circulate
  • contact your manufacturer if needed for troubleshooting or part replacement

The best advice I can give is to choose an air fryer that is easy to clean. Before buying, look for its product manual online or watch instruction videos for a cleaning demo. You can start your search with these top air fryers and their reviews!